Friday, December 23, 2005

Jesus in the paper

This is one of the best newspaper articles on Jesus I've read in a long time. It's a couple of pages long, but well worth the break in the Christmas craziness. When I can afford a print cartridge I'll definitely print it out and store it somewhere-cos I'll no doubt lose it in the back blocks of my computer if I try store it there!

I also like it because it starts out with the lyrics to that sweet as 'Jesus was way cool' song!

THE problem is not all church leaders agree with others' interpretations of who Jesus is. Several men of the cloth are concerned that Jesus has become acceptable because He is viewed as a soft touch, who will not judge and who seeks only to love.
Cardinal George Pell is increasingly worried that Jesus is portrayed as undemanding. "Sometimes people talk about Christ and you wonder if they have ever read the Gospels. [They talk] as though Christ were totally inclusive, so it doesn't matter if you are a terrorist, a robber or rapist, you are quite welcome, with no call to repentance."

So true, we all love to focus on the loving accepting Jesus, but forget he did actually call us to stop, turn our lives around and repent. So much harder to preach than the lovey-dovey bits!

Jensen believes the boomer generation, which so vehemently rejected religion, is passing, leaving the next generation free to rediscover the story of Jesus. "Younger people might not be attracted to the church, but I think they could be attracted to Jesus if they knew Him."
At the same time, the danger of ignorance is that "the word Jesus will become a good word that we can pour all the words we want to into". This usually leads, says Jensen, to a tree-hugging-hippy kind of Jesus, who represents humanistic values such as tolerance and compassion. But this view of Jesus dilutes the power of His message. "We can't look at Him detached from the kingdom He proclaimed … repent and believe in the gospel - that was the message of Jesus."

Australians, he says, "have always appreciated Jesus' subversive streak - the way He overturned human traditions, criticised the religious and financial elite and mixed with the sinners and outcasts. There is a Mambo T-shirt that has Jesus at the cricket, turning water into beer. That says it all."
One key to His appeal in this country, he says, is "Australia's long love affair with the figure of the institutional rebel, and Jesus was certainly that.

I think this, amongst other reasons, is why I find the Jesus kicking over tables as my favourite Gospel story, and the one I most often preach on when talking outside church circles.

thinks that instead of going to church, Jesus might go to the beach or a mosque, and "try to engage people's imagination through storytelling about sand, surf and seagulls".
Peter Jensen's first reaction is to say Jesus would "join in the local festivities because He likes parties".

A great read, check it out.

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