For the second time in my short life as a blogger, I’ve been meme-tagged by an evil blogging compatriot hoping to provoke me into playing a silly blog-tagging game, generating more content, and generally surrendering to mass hysteria.
Okay. I’m in! But only because I’m a sucker for attention. And because, like the “One Book Meme,” this question interests me, and I like it.
By the way, I was tagged by Carl Thomas over at the Revival Blog who, believe it or not, actually got a touch snarky with me in his post. This is a bit like playing touch football, only instead of being touched, or tagged, or merely pushed, you get a wedgie:
Rich — If he completes it, (remember that “imminent” post on Ted Haggard back in November of last year?) it will be in several months and contain thousands of words. Some pro-gay group will surely comment on it and tell how Carlton Pearson is the greatest man since Moses.
:: grin ::
Uh, thanks, Carl. I’ll get on that Ted Haggard post — eventually. And when I do, you’ll be amazed and disappointed simultaneously. Only I can pull off such a feat … and that’s why you read me.
Okay, so here are the rules, according to John Smulo, the originator of the meme:
- Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
- Those tagged will tag 5 people.
- Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what’s being posted.
With all that out of the way, here goes.
Five Things I Dig About Jesus
- Jesus digs puns
While G.K. Chesterton has noted, in Orthodoxy, that we never see Jesus laughing in the Gospels, much has been written on Jesus’ humor.
Do you realize Jesus himself elevated the “low” art of the pun when he addressed the hypocrisy of Pharisees? In Matthew 23:24, Jesus imagined the Pharisees eating soup and criticized their foolishness, saying, “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
Not a pun, you say? It’s not apparent in the English translation. It’s not apparent even in the Greek text. But when you consider that Jesus likely spoke in Aramaic, you see the essential irony in the pun: the word for gnat is galma. The word for camel is gamla.
Or look at Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter: “[Y]ou are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” The pun is apparent in the Greek where petros is used for Peter and petra is used for Rock, but it’s also apparent when you consider the likely Aramaic term used: kepha is both the proper name and the term for “rock.” (For more, see: The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings by Robert H. Stein.)
Jesus is a merry punster. I like that.
- Jesus digs children
Honestly, I didn’t have even the first inkling about this aspect of Jesus until I became a Daddy. Before having children of my own, I thought I loved kids but, really, I just liked the idea of kids, and nice well-behaved ones at that.
Now that I’m a Dad I realize that nothing pushes your big, red hot-buttons faster than a little 3-foot tyke who defies a 6-foot, 300-pound daddy without an ounce of fear, and nothing melts a dad’s heart more completely than a little 3-foot tyke cuddling up close with a smile and a giggle. Fatherhood, I think, has taught me more about God than all my courses in Bible school and seminary combined. And now I read passages like Matthew 18:2-6, Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 10:15, and Luke 18:17 in a new light.
It’s not that children are sinless and devoid of sneakiness — as every parent can attest. And I probably don’t fully understand what it means to be like a child in faith. But I do know that my children trust me and love me utterly in a way that I am still struggling to trust and love God. I know I must frustrate him in my rebellion like my own children frustrate me, but I’m so glad that Jesus loves kids, because it’s a promise of my Father’s own love for me.
- Jesus digs stories
I love the fact that while Jesus does teach pedagogically, almost all of his teaching involves the use of similes, metaphors, and stories. I don’t know why we don’t sit at the feet of the master teacher more often, but somewhere, somehow, we got off-track and started emulating Paul and his indicative/imperative style of teaching and correction. Not that there’s anything wrong with Paul, but whatever happened to balance? The overwhelming majority of Scripture is narrative. It’s story, poetry and parables.
We should teach more like Jesus who not only told a lot of stories, but did a lot of his teaching one-on-one.
- Jesus digs naps
Hey, anyone who can sleep through a storm like a baby in a cradle on a flimsy boat on a roiling lake while waves break over the bow obviously is either seriously sleep-deprived (which I can identify with) or just takes seriously the afternoon imperative to siesta. (See Mark 4:37-39.) How can this not be cool? Every office worker, every pastor, every field-hand, and every truck driver needs to follow Jesus’ example here: Take a nap!
And there’s nothing wrong with a comfortable nap, at that. Notice, in this passage, that Jesus was sleeping on a cushion. I don’t imagine many fishing-boats in those days had a lot of cushions on-board.
Apparently, the Jesus I know and love came prepared to nap.
- Jesus digs freaks and geeks
In our antiseptically scrubbed and pathologically clean churches we still look down on folks who hang out with the “bad crowd.” In my own faith-sect, the Assemblies of God, many of our churches have membership bylaws forbidding members from attending places of “ill repute.” That, really, can mean any place another church member thinks is a bad place for you to be. Unfortunately, this can make our faith-walk more about reputation (image) not reality.
When I worked at the A/G headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, my wife and I once invited a couple who worked with us out for a “date.” We caught dinner. After, the night was still young and we enjoyed each others’ company, so Jennifer and I suggested we go shoot some pool.
While the husband was cool with it, his wife declined because she worked in the Human Resources department, and she had to be very careful to uphold the standards of the organization. She knew that the leadership would frown on her spending time in a place of “ill repute” where beer was quaffed, smoke inhaled, and unknown sin carried out in the dark corners of the billiards hall.
But the Jesus I read about had dinner with collections agents. He spoke compassionately with divorcees, prostitutes, and adulteresses. He drank wine. He was accused of gluttony. Jesus hung out with people of ill repute in places of ill repute, and didn’t apologize for it. The men he called to be his disciples were from the working class, and from the reviled class. He hung out with hot-heads and traitors. He loved the meek and the powerless in society.
If Jerusalem had been a high-school, Jesus probably would not have been at the popular kids’ table in the cafeteria. Unless, of course, he was criticizing their tendency to strain their soup for gnats while swallowing camels.
I’m in the eighth generation of this meme. Each of my ancestors tagged five other people. So, at minimum, there are 48 others blogging about Jesus right now, with potentially hundreds more. Explore the following sites above or go directly to Smulo’s first post to see what others have written.
- John Smulo (originator) blogging @ SmuloSpace
- Bryan Riley blogging @ Charis Shalom
- Alan Knox blogging @ The Assembling of the Church
- Joel Brueseke blogging @ Grace Roots
- Vanessa blogging @ NightWatch
- Mark Hadfield blogging @ MadeToPraiseHim
- Carl Thomas blogging @ Revival Blog
- …Me, blogging here.
And now I tag…
- Phil Gerbyshak – The “Make it Great!” Guy
As our resident Tony the Tiger, Phil’s an eternal optimist and sure to come up with something encouraging and … uh … grrreat!
- Cynthia Ware – The Digital Sanctuary
Cynthia’s forever blogging about the intersection of Church and technology. I think she should take a break and just tell us what she thinks about Jesus today. Have at it, Cynthia!
- Jason Clark – Jason Clark
Jason’s the newest member of the PneumaBlogs list of bloggers, and he seems to be a smart guy. Let’s see what his personal take on Jesus is.
- John Laukkanen – ahavafriend
Uncle John, as my son refers to him, isn’t really my uncle. But he is John, and unique. I am sure I will be enlightened by this maverick traveller’s perspective.
- Christoph Fischer – my cup of coffee
Christop is a smart and interesting blogger who seems to have fallen off the posting wagon lately. Perhaps this will prompt a little inspiration?
Your comments are welcome, and invited.
[tags]ahavafriend, alan-knox, blogrodent, bryan-riley, carl-thomas, christianity, children, children, christoph-fischer, cynthia-ware, dads, digital-sanctuary, evangelical, fatherhood, freaks, geeks, humor, humor, i-am-healed, ill-repute, jesus, jesus-christ, joel-brueseke, john-laukkanen, john-smulo, kathi-sharpe, love, make-it-great, mark-hadfield, meme, my-cup-of-coffee, nightwatch-blogger, phil-gerbyshak, puns, religion, vanessa[/tags]