Talladega Nights with Will Ferrill as Nascar racer Ricky Bobby. WARNING:Not recommending it! Watched it until the scene I’m about to tell you about. When the kids start cussing I’m out.
The part I saw does illustrate something we can be guilty of.
Ricky Bobby and his family are around the dinner table and Ricky Bobby prays (quotes are approximate and not complete):
RB: “Dear Lord Baby Jesus thank you for my father-in-law Chip, and we hope that you can use your baby Jesus powers to heal his leg. And Dear Tiny Infant Jesus…”
Wife: “Honey, you do know Jesus did grow up! You don’t always have to call Him baby. It’s a little odd and off-putting to pray to a baby.”
RB: “I like the Christmas Jesus the best and I’m saying grace. When you say grace you can say it to grown up Jesus or teenage Jesus or bearded Jesus or whoever you want. ”
Grandfather: “He was a man! He had a beard!”
Wife: “You know what I want? I want you to say this grace good so God will let us win tomorrow.”
Then everyone pitches in:
Friend: “I like to picture Jesus with a tuxedo t-shirt that says I’m formal, but I like to party.”
Kid: “I like to picture Jesus as a ninja fighting off evil samurai.”
Friend again: “I like to picture Jesus with giant eagles wings and singing lead vocals for Lynard Skynard.” (Lynard Skynard reference did make me laugh)
And of course it’s just insane and crazy and I know some IndyCar fans who would say represents the backwoods craziness of Nascar folks.
But here’s the thing. People do misrepresent Jesus all the time.
A book came out five years ago called The Shack. Wildly popular. Churches used it for small group studies. I lost count at about six heretical or false beliefs about God, but I’ll give you one significant one.
In the book, Jesus is presented as a blue jean wearing, ponytailed, dippy hippy from the ’60s (rhyme intended) with a stereotypical large Jewish nose. And this Jesus, referring to Buddhists, Mormons and Muslims declares, “I have no desire to make them Christian” – wrong, and paints Christians as religious fanatics and part of a sinful world system. That may be a lot of things, but that’s not the Jesus of the Bible.
And I had folks who really know the Bible dismiss the bad stuff because “it makes people hungry for God!”
My answer was, “Really? Which god? The God of the Bible or the god of the shack? They aren’t the same god!”
And if hunger for a deity known as “God” is what makes a book a good “Jesus” book, how about a book where Jesus is presented as Ariana Grande? I’m sure all the 12 – 30 testosterone fueled male crowd would have an increased hunger for “God.”
If a hunger for something called “god” is all that’s needed to make it all good, make my god a brisket. I’ll be hungry for god all the time!
Worship Jesus as He Is
We are to worship Jesus as He is, not as we make Him up to be. And Jesus reveals Himself in Revelation as no longer the suffering servant. He’s not on the cross anymore so get rid of the crucifix. He’s not a baby in a manger – no – He’s the victorious KING with all power and His appearance reflects that. His appearance is so overpowering, so awesome, and so terrifying that John falls to the ground as if dead.
This is important – in a day when ISIS is on the march and terrorists are in our midst – I don’t need Jesus with soft hands dressed in pastels and flowers in his hair – who’s impotent to handle the universe and evil that Satan does on the earth. Under persecution at the close of the first century and the opening of the 21st century the persecuted Christians needed to worship King Jesus –strong and majestic and KING – with enough power to be THE dominating reality in their/our lives.
That’s a Jesus who redirects my self-worship, who redirects my focus off of me, myself and I onto the awesome God that HE is. And THEN – THEN –in that position I get perspective to realize that all of my problems, all of my concerns – HE can take care of those because HE is the dominating reality of my life.
Worship Jesus. Not the baby, not the soft guy, but King Jesus, the thundering warrior who will right all wrongs and set all records straight and punish all evil. And who is passionate about you and your place in His family.