The Church Should Not Be Bored With Jesus
Lately I’ve been pouring over Paul’s letter to the Galatians. I’ve read it before, did talks based on the text of it before, I’ve even been graded on what I thought about it (or what I remembered from what I was told I should think about it). One of the questions that keeps popping up for me is this, “How do we get bored with Jesus?” Boredom wasn’t the critical issue for the Galatians but in applying the truth of Paul’s letter to my life it seems to be one of the issues that continue to beg for attention like my Golden Retriever.
As I look around at the state of Christianity in North America in these days we live in it seems to me that we’re so bored with Jesus that we’ll try every kind of “plug in” available to keep our interest up.
Ego: Speak for yourself nerd, I’m not bored with Jesus.
CV: I wish that were true E, but it seems like we all are.
E: What are you talking about? When have I ever said I was bored with Jesus?
CV: It’s how we live. Take the Bible for instance.
E: I’ve got one and I even read it.
CV: The truth is E, you’ve got a few Bibles, maybe even more than a few and you don’t really read all of them. But my point is, how many different kinds of Bible’s do we need? For over 2000 years people have been thrilled just to have a Bible in their own language, now that’s not enough. Today you have to have the Men’s Bible or the Women’s Bible or the Couple’s Devotional Bible. You can pick up the new Patriot’s Bible (turns out Jesus is on America’s side) or the Max Lucado Bible…
E: Max wrote his own Bible?
CV: No, but they’ve taken some of his books and tossed them into a blender with a Bible and came up with a Bible with his name on the cover.
E: How cool! I totally want a Bible with my name on the cover!
CV: I’m sure you do but my point is that we can’t get excited about the Bible anymore unless it’s been personalized to fit my specific demographic. I’m waiting for the “Middle-Aged, white guy who wears progressive lenses and can’t dance” version.
E: You’re such a loser…
CV: Thanks, but you get my point. Do we really need even one of these hybrids? We’re just bored with the “plain Bible”. And that scares the crap out of me.
E: Hey! Language!
CV: Sorry E, but it does worry me and I’m starting to feel angry about it. I’m not saying these are “bad” things, I’m wondering what it says about us? About me? And how am I so easily bored with Jesus that I need this extra stuff to keep interested?
E: So we’re a little bored with the Bible. I’ve read it a few times, seen the movies, aren’t we bound to get bored? What’s this got to do with Jesus?
CV: My point was that a story like the Bible really can’t get old, it’s the ultimate interactive story…
E: Are we talking about Song of Solomon again?
CV: No, not specifically, the whole thing really can jump off the page and grab you by the head and heart but we still manage to get bored with it, like we get bored with Jesus.
E: So you say, but what does that mean?
CV: Robert Capon argues that we need to re-discover the Good News! He writes, “The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wide-eyed radicals anymore. He changes them into ‘nice people’.”
E: Capon, capon, isn’t that a fish?
CV: Are you even listening? The story of Jesus, the story of following Jesus, was the story of taking the revolutionary road, the life threatening road, a way that introduces a style of living that smells sweet to some and like death to others. It wasn’t a morals message, the Jews were moral, Greek Stoics were moral, lots of cultures and religions practiced morality, the world didn’t need a new moral or even a better moral – they needed a heart transplant, a transformation into a new kind of thing.
E: Mmmm. Doesn’t sound boring to me!
CV: No, it’s not boring, it’s actually exhilarating and frightening all at the same time if you really get it. But that’s not what we do. And so we get bored with Jesus and we start adding things on.
E: On? Like what?
CV: I think it comes down to three additives: secret information, elite experience, outstanding morals. We chase after the latest teaching that we’ve never heard before about some level or realm of heaven or “God experience” that someone claims to have or claims to be able to tell us how to have. We claim a high view of Scripture and then ignore the fact that the speaker is twisting it or ripping it out of its’ context to say what he or she wants – it doesn’t matter to us as long as it’s new! We want to have some new experience that no one has had or no one has had since Bible times. Will we fake it? Ask the folks at the hypnotists stage show – we’ll fake it to fit in or be so invested we’ll fool ourselves into thinking we’re really seeing it – even the emperor’s new clothes. And where we complain or decry experience we exalt intellect and good behaviour. Jesus didn’t come to make us good folks. He came to turn us into something we can’t be without his Spirit transforming us from the inside out. We keep trying to convince ourselves that it’s about having better morals than everyone else which is absurd if you look at history. That’s never been the story Jesus told. Ever.
E: Ah, so you’ve got the secret info…?
CV: No E, it’s no secret, we’ve just gotten so bored that we’ve ignored it and lots of people know what I’m saying, it’s just not popular any more.
E: Do you think I could say it was secret info and work it into my own version of the Bible with my name on the cover?
CV: Well E, there’s certainly a lot of money to be made there. And after all, we all know Jesus wants you to be rich.