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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Sexy Jesus" Makes Me Cringe: Thoughts on Familiarity & Contempt

The familiarity by which our culture & at times, Church universal (all those who identify themselves as a follower of Jesus Christ), speaks of, regards, and portrays the Son of God leaves me at turns nauseous, profoundly sad, and more than a bit apprehensive. Why my apprehension? I can't shake the insightful observation of the Apostle Mark (Mark 6:1-6) who noted the contemptuous familiarity by which the citizens of Nazareth regarded their hometown son, Jesus. 

At first, they were impressed by His teaching. Perhaps they discussed his initial notoriety and felt a measured sense of community pride. It was all well and fine until He spoke with authority. Until He stepped out of His "place." Until He started teaching "teaching" with an authority that belied his station in life. After all, who did this upstart think he was? everyone knew he was just the son of a carpenter. And it went downhill from there; more accurately, it went to the edge of the cliff from there. (Luke 4:29-30)

Because of their disregard, disdain, and scorn/scoffing, Jesus limited His teaching with them. Because of their lack of belief ("The Son of God?! Phfft!"),  and anger and offense taken by His words, He was unable to do any miracles among them. They didn't take too kindly to any of this and when all was said and done attempted to throw him off that aforementioned cliff.

Now, that's some serious contempt.

I read this 2,000+ year historical eyewitness account and then turn my eyes and ears to the culture which surrounds me; the culture in which I am engaged; the culture which is, byte by byte, image by image, defining Jesus and I honestly quake within my spirit. It's a fear thing. A holy fear thing as I see our "here and now" version of contemptuous familiarity.

Look what we've done to Jesus.
Look what we've done with Jesus.

We've GQ'd him.
We text, tweet, and post casual--Lord, forgive us (me)--quips referencing Jesus the BFF; Jesus the Homeboy; Jesus the hottie. (Okay, I cringed just writing that.)
We banter about and invoke the name of the only Son of God with a casualness more befit a tweet regarding Pharrel's hat.

God forgive us. God forgive me.

(Please note: this is not a screed calling for the demise of Jesus films or the denigration of those who write/produce such genre of communication. 
This latest go-around of cultural news discussions regarding the casting type of such simply stirred within me once again a familiar conviction regarding the deeper and more troubling aspect of how I, and the culture around me, chooses to esteem the person of Jesus Christ.) 

(Note a note: I'm working out multiple ponderings via writing during this hiatus and will continue to post portions as they come. We can ponder together!) 

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