March 21, 2006

Pimping Jesus

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Pimping Jesus: consumerism and the red-light gospel

I especially like the comments from posters who missed the point.

There is an old joke about a man who offers a woman $10,000 to sleep with him. She agrees, and then he offers her $10 to sleep with him. In her disgust, she says, "What kind of woman do you think I am?" To which he responds, "We have already established what kind of woman you are. Now, we are haggling about the price."

The Gospel is not cheap. And, not wanting to sound cliche-ish, Jesus paid with His own life. Jesus also challenged His disciples to go deeper. But, when He met them on the beach by their fishing boat, He did not say, "Come die upside-down on a cross, Peter."

He simply said, "Come, follow me."

I agree that we have created a caricature of Jesus and pimped him out as a simple, quick-fix to complex problems. Are you homosexual? Accept Jesus and everything will be all right. Are you a drug addict? Accept Jesus and everything will be all right.

One commentor, thinking he had read the article correctly, chides the writer by referring to Hosea and saying that Israel was the whore and not God. The writer of this article is saying the same thing. The Church, or more precisely most of pop-Christianity, has created a false image of Jesus and prostituted themselves to that image.

God's grace, love, healing, and forgiveness as found in Jesus is much more profound than the Sinner's prayer. The prayer has only to be the starting point of a more profound experience of life with Jesus. God expects to transform our lives, but that will not all happen overnight.

In the past, I have taken issue with people who shine a light on a problem, but then do little to bring guidance or offer a solution. What I have discovered, though, is that sometimes starting the discussion is the beginning of the answer. As we talk about the issue, dialogue, take in other positions, think and pray for weeks even months, then answers begin to form.

I have come to the conclusion that we should offer a simple Gospel, but not a simplistic one. Jesus said, "Come, follow me." That is our beginning point. His calls us to live in self-sacrificial love and committment to His mission to transform the world. He starts with our lives, and then uses us as agents in the transformation of others.

In my final sermon at my church on Sunday, I said, "We are called to glorify and honor God and live obedient lives to His commands and will. We do that by following the example of Jesus the Son. The life we are to live is found by apprenticing ourselves to Jesus. We are able to do that through the power, guidance, leading, and conviction of God the Holy Spirit."

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