I wrote this for a sem class last week... Can you relate?
Even though I have “orthodox” presuppositions about Jesus – that he was both fully human and divine; that he did die, rise again and ascend into heaven; that he did real miracles during his earthly ministry; and so on – I still view Jesus through my own distorted lenses.
Scot McKnight’s chapter was right on: We all want “a piece” of Jesus. We want him to support what we want him to support. We want him to back us up. People use his silence on issues or take his words out of context to support their causes, whether Feminist, Capitalist or Zionist. To the Pacifists, Jesus is a peace-loving hippy, and to the radical neo-Reformationists like Mark Driscoll, Jesus is a tough man’s man.
We always ask what Jesus means to us. I have done this on countless occasions. What does Jesus mean to me? Is he my big brother, my teacher, my father, my buddy, my boyfriend? (I am a worship leader, after all, and I get to sing all those “love songs to Jesus.”) Is he a taskmaster or a gentle therapist? Is he a fiery prophet or a friend to all sinners?
I am guilty of making Jesus whoever I need him to be. My theological orthodoxy keeps me from turning Jesus into a myth intellectually, but I mythologize him in my actions. I affirm the historical and biblical Jesus with my mind, but sometimes with my actions I prove that I am more interested in having an imaginary friend than finding out who Jesus truly was and is and submitting my life to his.