Jesus was not only counterintuitive back in his day, even today there is still a gigantic contrast between his ways and the ways of the religion that goes by his name.
- We have sacred creeds, sacred places of worship, sacred objects, and sacred leaders or clergy. Jesus had none of it.
- We are part of a subculture that insulates us from real life. Jesus talked about a different way of living real life.
- We obsess over trying to be better Christians. Jesus redeemed and restored us so we could reach our unique, individual potential to represent him and do his work here and now.
- We have Christian books, Christian music, Christian schools, and Christian t-shirts. Jesus didn’t figure on using his name to create a brand.
- We focus on what happens when we die. Jesus taught us how to live.
- We have codified what it means to follow him and we have constructed a systematic theology to try to explain (and tame) God. Jesus just said, “Follow me.”
- We have a church hierarchy of professionals and programs to make us better Christians. Jesus lived with his followers.
- We like to package things. So, we have a Sunday morning show with a carefully crafted sermon. Jesus taught standing in a boat and sitting on a hillside.
- We like to tell church members how to vote and we become upset when things don’t go our way in politics. Jesus couldn’t have cared less about the government.
The Likely “Agenda”
Jesus probably would…
- Hang out with gay people.
- Reach out to those who have had an abortion.
- Take a liberal to lunch (a conservative, too). Maybe he would have lunch with both of them at the same time.
- Rip into some church leaders.
- Blow people’s minds with his teaching.
- Have a “colorful” group of followers.
- Love hurting and broken people.
- Be strangely silent about politics, government, “the culture wars”, and “family values.”
- Be the only person to bring Democrats and Republicans together.
If I were to attempt to make a complete list of the contrasts between Jesus and the church, it would never end. It is absolutely bizarre when you think about it. No wonder the church is messed up. No wonder its credibility is shot to hell. No wonder it has fallen on hard times.
From my book, An Irreligious Faith