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
- Elton Trueblood’s The Humor of Christ
- Earl Palmer’s The Humor Of Jesus and Laughter in Heaven
- Robert H. Stein’s The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings
- Henri Cormier’s The Humor of Jesus
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]
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Thanks for playing along Rich. I almost fell out of my chair when I came home from dinner and saw that you had completed this already.
There must be some really big project you are avoiding.
Very nice list, with well thought out answers. Very cool of you also to link to your ‘meme forefathers’ (and foremother). :)
I loved this post! Thanks :-)
Thank you for participating in this. I thoroughly enjoyed your response.
Very interesting to see the genealogy of this meme. I tried keeping track, but found it difficult after about 100 sites. I have a feeling there is probably at least twice that.
It’s encouraging for me to see so many people choose to blog about Jesus.
I was taged along with you. I was totally ignorant about what this was all about, and you explained it brilliantly—thank you.
I know my post won’t be as extensive as yours, but I can at least say what “I dig about Jesus”!
Nice research. Kinda puts it all in context, thanks.
Your list was great too. I never realized Jesus was such a pun guy!
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Thanks Rich, i didn’t even know what a ‘meme’ was tell I read your post. lol
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You tagged me, here is my post:
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Hi everybody! I’ve been busy with other stuff since I wrote this post, so I haven’t had a chance to respond.
So far, only the newest of the stable of Pneumabloggers, Jason Clark, has taken me up on the challenge to talk about Jesus. (See his post here.)
Cynthia Ware has issued me no less than three apologies and mea culpas for not digging Jesus yet. Phil Gerbyshak has promised to get to it in about a half a century or the end of the month, whichever fits into his schedule. On the plus side, though, he promises to Make It Great! (TM). John Laukkanen doesn’t return my calls. (Not that I’ve called him, but if I did, I wonder what would happen?) And it seems that Christoph Fischer has taken a blogging leave of absence. Let’s hope it’s not permanent.
Thanks, everybody, for playing along, and mega-props to John Smulo for making it happen. If you want to see the massive table of names of folks who’ve been talking about Jesus, check out his latest post on the meme.
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You woke me up! Now you have to live with the consequences …
God bless you,
my response is here:
This is a meme, as a Christian, I would NOT participate in. Why do you guys think it’s so cool to “DIG” your Lord and Saviour? I am so tired of the “church” denigrating things spiritual and relegating them to the common, like the “Veggie Tales.” It’s abominable! My Lord is not “diggable.” I’m sorry yours is. He’s not my buddy – he’s my LORD! It’s no wonder the world sits back and laughs at us. How can we expect them to respect Christ when we don’t?
@amazing; In principle. I agree w/much of what you had to say. Disagreement is one thing, offence yet another; but the scalding tone of your remarks- was that necessary? I played the 5 things about Jesus meme. As I recall, when I reposted it, I changed dig to love. I thought I had done it inadvertantly, but it must have been some subconscious thought similar to what you are saying. None the less, much comraderie has come out of the meme. And certainly Jesus gets the glory if your are talking about why you love, serve, worship, obey, or even ‘dig’ Him.
You’re very correct. I was way out of line in the manner in which I responded. I am very sorry to have caused offense. That is definitely a sin.
Thanks for the contribution! Like I noted on your blog, I especially like the “openly scandalous lifestyle” comment. Groovy, man!
By the way, it looks like your meme post got hit by some spam-comment ‘bots.
Thanks for most excellent contribution! I especially liked your comment:
This is something I struggle with often because my sense of who I am is so often bound up with the lies of my past, and even the true sins of my past, that I find it hard to truly accept his grace and embrace the adoption he’s provided me. In my reading today I thought I would cover more of 1 Timothy 1 than I did, but I got stopped on verse two, where Paul addresses Timothy as his son in the faith.
I just couldn’t get past that and had to spend some time thinking about my own sense of son-ship to my Heavenly Father.
Needs some more thinking on, I believe.
All I can say is that I don’t believe it denigrates Christ in the least for us to talk about how we enjoy and appreciate him. That is, ultimately, what this sense of the word “dig” means. And if you read the things people wrote I honestly think you’ll see that there’s a lot more being said that is good, beuatiful, edifying, noteworthy, and praiseworthy.
I think if you read them, you’ll dig what we’re all saying!
But you can also be happy that nobody tagged you! I can dig that.
And thanks for your apology, by the way. It takes a strong heart to write what you did. I’m impressed.
Thanks for your kind and irenic post, I appreciate it.
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