There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity. Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle.
“I cannot worship a guy I can beat up”, declares Mark Driscoll.
In my book, the guy who is worth worshipping is the one who can beat the hell out of you but chooses not to because he loves you. But maybe that smacks too much of a Bromance with our Lord. How Driscoll gets through that “do you love me” routine Jesus does with Peter without squirming, I don’t know.
I guess the Jesus we all want to avoid is the one who looks into our souls and our desires and says something akin to “sell all you have and give it to the poor if you want to enter the age to come, the age that is beginning now”. You don’t really need a big sword to do that. You just have to know people and their hearts’ desires.
In the Old Testament, Israel had a chance to be in a place they could call home. And from that place they fell prey to the temptation to be empire builders. After all you are nobody if you aren’t an empire. They forgot that the point of a static place was so that the world would be drawn to the light they gave off and come and learn peace and prosperity on God’s holy mountain.
And we know that didn’t work so well because the people burned so dimly that they had to be jumped started by life in a truly alien and frightening land: Babylon. At the heart of this empire was a creation myth founded on blood and murder which empowered the monarchy to rule by violence and fear. Only the king’s life had meaning and power. Everyone else was disposable.
In the Babylonian captivity they must have clung to the creation account of the first chapters of Genesis because they were appalled at just how a deity you could not beat up did business. He rolled with lots of blood and expected his creation to do the same.
Interestingly enough, when the Jews were exiled they had no evangelism plan about taking Babylon for Yahweh, for influencing the culture or steering things into their comfort zone. They just wanted to go home and they knew home would be a long time coming.
So they had to get on living where they were, keeping the stories alive. Maybe they invited some interested Babylonians into this new way of living and thinking. Maybe they realised that Yahweh wasn’t waiting in Jerusalem for them to come home but rather he was right there with them.
Fast forward to first century Palestine. People with that kind of exile in their DNA knew that under the Romans they were still in exile.. The bible tells the story that God, in Jesus, was in exile with them. He left his throne and riches and sat in the dust with them promising that home was coming and home was here, but if they were to recognise it, they needed a better field guide to the world they were living in.
One thing the story doesn’t tell us is that God dwelt with us as a big bad Jesus. It’s kind of hard crucify that kind of Jesus much less cram him into a tomb. Maybe that is why God didn’t send one.