I had a startling realization regarding my faith last week while attending a conference. It wasn’t even a Christian conference. It was a conference for business executives, designed to help us streamline our systems and increase productivity and profit.
Still, part of the assignments we were given had us analyzing our private lives, and a big chunk of my private life involves my relationship with Jesus.
And yet, sitting on the edge of a golf course, thinking about my faith, I came to a startling realization: Jesus bores me.
It was a hard thing to admit. Every bit of me felt guilty, but it was true. I’d love to follow Him, but if all He’s doing is building the Republican party (I’m a Republican, by the way) and franchising church worship music, I’m quite frankly bored.
But then I realized something. I’d been following (or watching from a distance) some ridiculous construction of a Jesus created by strong cultural influences, both media driven, politically motivated and shaped by the increasing influence of franchised churches, all sharing best practices (and most effective brand strategies for this multi-billion dollar Taylor-Swift like personality called Jesus)
And I began to wonder…who is the real Jesus? I had no answer. I truly didn’t know. Stripped of all the trappings, He’s some foreign figure dead and buried and resurrected thousands of years ago, gone to Heaven, promising to come back, creator of the universe, poetic, fearful and courageous, obedient to His father and entirely lost in terms of culture and tradition. I realized that pastors and scholars can tell us very little about Him because so much has been lost or has changed or has been misinterpreted by tribal absurdities.
And for once, I became excited. I thought to myself, “What If I began my prayers this way: Jesus, whoever you are, whatever mystery you are, whatever fearful power you yield, whatever wild heart you embody, can you hear me?”
Wouldn’t that change everything?
What if we know Jesus, but hardly know Him at all? What if most of your pre-conceived ideas about Him are wrong? What if He is dangerous, gentle, unpredictable, non-American, eternal, death-defying and non-human? What would that do to your faith? What if you couldn’t control Him at all but could talk to Him all the same? Would you follow?
This Jesus excites me, not because I know all about Him, but because I don’t.