I have been blessed in my short 38 years to have lived in a wondrous variety of places… places like East Africa, North Texas, Central Alabama and Western Maryland. In all these many places I have known an amazing array of Christians from all kinds of backgrounds and with many diverse ideas and viewpoints. I’m continually grateful for this range of experience and what I’ve been allowed to glimpse in their lives as they all struggled to be representatives of Christ in their own times and places.
I’ve seen that sometimes Jesus does drive an SUV.
Sometimes he drives a hybrid or even rides the bus.
He’s also been known to ride her bike to work.
Sometimes Jesus has her hands so full just trying to pay bills and raise a couple of strong-willed kids that she really doesn’t have time to think too much about the big, global questions out there.
And I’ve seen Jesus agonizing over the epidemics of AIDS and poverty that at times can seem to cripple whole continents.
I’ve seen Jesus foster “unwanted” babies in her own home.
Jesus has mortgages, unpaid bills, school loans, and is half-way to an ulcer.
Jesus also keeps giving at church and handing bills to folks on the street and wrestling with what response an American suburbanite has to the horrors of Sudan and suicide bombers.
Jesus loves peace, but sometimes she wears a uniform.
Jesus loves peace, but sometimes he marches with signs by the White House.
Jesus has been known to vote pretty liberal, choosing a candidate who promises answers from the government for the woes of poverty.
And I’ve seen Jesus vote for the fiscal conservative because she really does believe that lower taxes and helping businesses will create jobs that will help people build lives of dignity and hope.
Of course I’ve also seen Jesus scratching his head as he’s trying to figure out what a candidate just said.
I’ve seen Jesus with tattoos and even a piercing or two, or five.
I’ve seen Jesus in a Sunday-go-to-meeting suit and tie like clockwork each weekend.
Maybe Jesus isn’t a brand.
All those glimpses of Jesus, even in most diverse extremes, don’t cause me too much angst or confusion. But, I have seen and heard some things that bother me.
I don’t like it when Jesus makes fun of Jesus.
Sometimes Jesus doesn’t like Jesus’ accent, or his hair style, or her politics, and thinks that stinging, humiliating jibes might somehow be an appropriate response.
Something is wrong when Jesus hates Jesus.
I worry about it when Jesus hates Jesus, even to point to questioning if she really is Jesus, or maybe just a faker.
In fact, something’s wrong when Jesus hates anybody.
It just doesn’t feel right when Jesus subverts faith and love in favor of candidates and issues.
I’ve heard people who were standing around watching Jesus hate Jesus just chuckle and say things like, “I knew there wasn’t anything to all that Jesus junk.”
And so many folks who need to hear the words of hope and peace that Jesus hallmarked in his First Century ministry today just get a belly full of my-way-or-the-highway pride and cultural labeling in our 21st Century scramble for market share and cultural dominance.
I love Jesus.
I enjoy talking to Jesus.
Every time I get a chance to sit and have coffee with him, I’m there.
I love listening to Jesus tell stories of answered prayers and when she got to see God moving in exciting ways on a mission trip or in a relationship.
I pray Jesus keeps doing that “Jesus Thing” all across our globe, and that Jesus is always there to kick me back in line, loving the Jesus trying to live and breath and touch this world through me.
I love Jesus, which means I love you.
And it means that I really hope you love me.
It’s our love, and never our hate, that can change the world.
It’s our love, and not our votes, that can save the dying.
It’s our love, our hands, our feet, our faith, our peace, our joy, our Jesus that can never be lost or won in any election.
Thanks be to God.