Our Jesus

Christians like church but not Jesus.  So says Brant in what is possibly the most vulnerable post of his I’ve ever read.  But I disagree.

Brant and I both have two audiences.  One audience knows us primarily because of what we do in the Christian music biz. (Brant hosts the most subversively entertaining morning show on Christian radio for WAY-FM and I’m a Christian soft rock star of sorts.) Our second audience knows the stuff we write on-line and other places. Or they live next door or married us. We’re not treated the same by both audiences.

The first audience sometimes gets upset when Brant plays an eighties rock song on his accordion, or when I show up in jeans to their church service.  We’re sometimes not Christian enough for that first bunch of Christians. Or Brant’s just a truly awful accordion player and my hot bod in jeans causes these weaker brothers of ours to stumble – we can’t know for sure.

The second audience thinks it’s funny that I just said I have a hot bod.  You get the idea.

Now, it’s this first audience that has Brant thinking there are lot of Christians who like church but don’t like Jesus.  When Brant says Jesus-y stuff on the radio it’s this first audience that says he’s wrong.  They don’t realize it – I don’t think – but they actually don’t agree with Jesus.  (This is stunning to experience firsthand, by the way, and is one of the more, um, enlightening things about conversing with and serving that first audience on a regular basis. Bless their heart.)

But, like I said, I disagree with Brant on this one. Sort of.

It’s not that these folks in audience one dislike Jesus.  They dislike Brant’s Jesus.  They love their Jesus.  And “they” don’t all have the same Jesus either.  Which means that two folks sitting side-by-side in my concert or in neighboring cubicles listening to Brant this morning also might not like one another’s Jesuses either. There’s not one Jesus.

I’ll take it one step further.  The same thing is true of audience two.  They don’t all have the same Jesus either.  But they like enough about Brant’s Jesus and my Jesus to like us.

And here’s the kicker.  I don’t like Brant’s Jesus and he doesn’t like mine.  Not totally. For example…

My Jesus says what’s most important is loving God and loving people. My Jesus says to love even the bad guys, to actively do good to them and not harm.  My Jesus says this won’t be easy for me to understand and pull off. (Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 5:38-42, Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 10:21-22, Matthew 10:34-39, Matthew 26:47-54, Luke 22:47-51)

Brant’s Jesus says what’s most important is loving God and loving people.  Brant does this better than I do I suspect. But Brant’s Jesus also says that sometimes, to love people, you have to hurt bad guys.  Brant doesn’t like everything about my Jesus and I don’t like everything about his.

But I like Brant.  I like Brant in spite of his Jesus.  And he seems to like me in spit of mine too. Because, I don’t know how, but I think that’s something our Jesus just makes us do.