bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Perfect" Jesus

One of the things that I believe is incongruent to a fundamental understanding of Jesus is this notion of perfection. There is no question in my mind that the idea that Jesus was perfect in every way shape and form psychologically hinders us from interacting with him in anything more than a ceremonial manner.

I live in Austin, TX. Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, and Lance Armstrong live in Austin, too. I am 100 % positive that if I spotted these three folks sitting together at a table in my favorite restaurant I would NOT pull up a chair and introduce myself. I would snap a picture to post on Facebook, but I wouldn’t get very close or be caught staring for fear of coming off like a creep. These guys aren’t perfect, but they’re celebrities. Most of us are sensitive to the fact that there is way too much “cool” happening at this table for us to handle. If we sit with these three we might think that we are trolls by comparison. What could we possibly add to their conversation that would justify our presence?

Same thing happens with “perfect” Jesus.

I’m not questioning the “sinless” Jesus. I’m saying that “sinless” may not denote perfection.

Here’s my personal mental image:

Jesus is a celebrity and his disciples begin to take on the role of a buffer between him and the crowds he draws. He’s speaking to a group of MOPS over here and, obviously, surrounded by a contingency of pre-school kiddos. It’s kind of hard to hear what Jesus is saying over the chatter and play of the kids.

As self-appointed buffers, the disciples begin to shoo the kids away so that Jesus can continue without interruption. But Jesus rebuffs them saying, “Dude, don’t mess with those kids. They are as important as the rest of us.” (Matt 19, Mark 10, Luke 18).

So he kneels down to speak with the kids and tousle their hair when he sees a turtle close by. He grabs the turtle by the shell and holds it up at eye level with the children just to show them how cool it is. While Jesus has this turtle in his hand, it abruptly sticks its head and legs out of the shell and flails around a bit in an attempt to escape. In doing so, the turtle scratches Jesus’s finger with its claw, thereby, causing Jesus to drop the turtle to the ground and jerk his hand back reflexively from the sudden surprise.

Here’s my question: Can you imagine Jesus jerking his hand back like that or dropping a turtle or being startled from sleep by a loud noise that made him sit straight up and look around wildly? Or was he way too cool for that?

And if Jesus ever was startled or surprised or flinched as a bee flew right past his ear does that mess with your “perfect” image of him?

When we think of Jesus as this beatific, haloed, or perfect being we stop thinking of Jesus as a person—a person just like you and me—a person that any of us would join at the table by walking up and introducing ourselves.

What a shame it would be if our “perfect” mental façade of Jesus prevented us from ever feeling comfortable enough to approach his table.
What a shame it would be if our “perfect” mental façade of Jesus kept us from allowing others to get to know him as well.
What a shame it would be if our “perfect” mental façade of Jesus caused us to act as his buffer instead of sitting at the table with him and waving other people over to join us.
What a shame that would be…

Sisyphus Revisited says, "There is a force at work that would exalt the church. There is a force at work that would humble it. It is necessary to discern this."

So, yeah - What if all the scripted defensiveness of congregational "church" were a deception? At some point, someone should respectfully ask the simple question: could it be that we are worshiping the organization and the belief system which exalts it in defiance of God's will?