Jesus as a philosopher is wonderful: there is no greater role-model in my mind than Jesus Christ. It’s just a shame that most of the people who follow Him and call themselves Christians act nothing like him.
Bill Maher :: O’Reilly Factor
It’s no secret that people think Christians are complete and total wackos. I think most Christians are wackos. We march around the city, and the country, and the world proclaiming our message of love by saying some of the most slanderous, hateful things, by imposing our values on others, and feeling that we can justify it all by messages direct from God that we pull out of our preferred version of “Life’s Little Instruction Manual”
See what I mean? Complete and utter lunatics.
There’s this misplaced nobility that causes us to behave as if we have something to protect, that we need to act as God’s cosmic body guards from Satan’s mujahideen. The problem is that God doesn’t need anyone to come to his defense. We can’t humanize God and think that His feelings get hurt when somebody badmouths Him. Or talks bad about His momma.
He doesn’t have a momma.
I have every confidence that God doesn’t need us to defend anything. That said, I don’t think He’s interested in us going on the offense either. That’s just as bad, if not worse.
We’re offensive enough as it is!
To steal a page from Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, this whole faith journey is more like a trampoline that you enjoy than a brick wall that you defend. You stand around and guard a brick wall because, even though it’s solid and secure, it can be topple over if too many of the bricks get damaged or warn. The whole thing can collapse. Bell talks about these bricks as representations of Christian beliefs (e.g. the trinity, the virgin birth, that homosexuality is a sin, that alcohol is evil, etc). If you neglect the wall, if anyone has a substantive argument against one of your bricks, and it gets removed, the entire wall (aka Christianity) comes crashing down.
At the same time, if these same beliefs are allowed to flex and bend as a trampoline spring flexes and bends, you enjoy the experience of jumping. We can go as far to say that the flex of a spring is essential to the process of jumping. When you live in a better way, choosing generosity over green, love over hate, tolerance over intolerance, compassion over criticism, when the springs can bend, you can enjoy jumping.
You can’t jump on rigid springs. You can’t invite your friends over to enjoy jumping on a trampoline with springs made of stone.
But when there is flex and movement, the experience comes alive. You jump and are free. It almost becomes a challenge to see how far you can stretch the springs to see how high you can jump.
Bell says, “You defend a wall, but you invite people to a trampoline.”
It’s true, but the church has allowed us to pollute our view about what the invitation is. The invitation is not to sign up as a member. The invitation is not to come to a ninety minute meeting to listen to a preacher drone on and on about the evils in our lives. It’s not an invitation to an uncomfortable prayer meeting and it’s certainly not an invitation to a rally designed to crush the spirits of another human being.
The invitation I would argue is not even one to pick up a cross.
The invitation is simply to jump.
You don’t jump on a trampoline and frown. You jump and you smile and you laugh and you flip and you lay on your back and look at the sky. You don’t have to love Jesus to be generous and either way it’s a more rewarding way to live. You don’t have to love Jesus to encourage someone, but it’s a better way to spend your time. You don’t have to love Jesus to be positive and it beats being negative either way.
You don’t have to love Jesus first.
You just need to jump.