Comfort Zone Jesus.

I really like Jesus. He was great, wasn’t he? All radical and visionary and sticking-it-to-the-man type action (Have you seen the actor that’s playing Jesus? I particularly like that version).

He’s not particularly comfortable though. Just as CS Lewis described Aslan as ‘… not a tame lion’, Jesus also was not tame. And if you had been around at the same time as he was, not a particularly relaxing person to ‘have a personal relationship’ with, I suspect.

Jesus has become so sanitised. I was going to say ‘lately’ but then I remembered the picture that my Nan has in her kitchen of Jesus, all conditioned beard and pastel robes and halo and lambs and it shows me that this isn’t a new thing.

But actually, he annoyed a lot of people. He pissed off the religious leaders and the powers that be in general and if you thought that life was going along quite nicely thank you, he probably had some pointed questions for you to answer. Most people wouldn’t vote for someone with a vision like Jesus if they stood for election today because he demanded too much, challenged too fiercely and asked the hard questions about just how we want our society to be.

And of course the irony connected to the fact that many christians are also political conservatives would be something that I would find hilarious if it wasn’t so painfully real.

It’s all in Matthew. I don’t need to quote swathes of it; you’re probably familiar with the message even if you haven’t actually read it (It’s good though. You should. I love a biblical action plan rather than crazy Revelations rhetoric). Help the poor. Be merciful (Define that as you wish but I don’t think that war and unlawful imprisonment fall in to most definitions). Social Justice as a major building block for a just society, one that impacts not just the most needy but also the environment and consumerism and discrimination…

Well, just everything, really.

On an unrelated but still related note, a country that needs to spend as much time trying to learn how to declutter as we do has got screwed up priorities. Google ‘decluttering in Australia. 1,430,000 results.

Authentically following Jesus is counter cultural and uncomfortable.

Mind you, I don’t do it, even though I think its an amazing idea. I’ve spent my entire life making decisions that keep me within my comfort zone. In fact, on reflection, if I look at the major decisions that I’ve made in my life, I can now (a little late) easily identify that they were made essentially because they put few demands on me and kept me within the parameters of what I can do without actually pushing myself or evolving. I’ve also become very good at persuading people to let me carry on in that manner which probably isn’t a great thing but let’s not make this about all about me.

Following Jesus can absolutely start with ‘being nice to the people that you see on a day to day basis’ but I think that it probably needs to progress to more than that. Especially because the people that we meet on a day to day basis are very likely people ‘Just Like Us’ – that don’t require us to do hard things or reconsider our values or exercise patience and love on a really monumental level.

Jesus didn’t just live in his own head. He didn’t just have good ideas about the way that things should be and discuss them with his friends and then go fishing. He wasn’t about making people feel secure, and I suspect that if the idea of Jesus makes you all warm and fuzzy then he may have failed in his mission a little. And if you want to share your faith with people, share that you believe that Jesus is Lord and all that entails, then I hope that you really, really understand exactly what you are saying. Because you’re calling for a radical re-evaluation of how most of us live our lives and that is some serious, comfort zone stretching stuff right there.

21 thoughts on “Comfort Zone Jesus.

  1. My father used to get me and mother to “clean the house as though Jesus was coming to have his dinner with us” that made me uncomfortable, but in later life I reckoned that he would be a lot less fussy than my father was.

  2. I absolutely love this post and have often thought this about Jesus and how shocked he would be at what his followers have made him out to be.
    I’m alllll about this new version of Jesus, today.

    • I found out some Irriverent Italians are used to joke about Vatican cars plaque acronim SCV.
      It stands for “Stato Citta’ del Vaticano” [Vatican City State].
      But those funny chaps read it: “Se Cristo Vedesse..”! [If Christ could see..!] referring to the latest religious scandals.
      It sound a little profane*.. but nonetheless people giggles.

      (*being Omniscient, of course He sees/knows)

  3. Hi Eva, I too think this is a brilliant post – good challenging thoughts and very well expressed.

    Having been a follower of Jesus for 50 years, these thoughts are a big challenge to me. I live a reasonably non-materialistic life by Aussie standards, but I’m aware that Aussie standards aren’t Jesus’ standards. I still have a long way to go to care for the poor, love my “enemies” and live what I believe is true. Thanks.

    • Thank you.

      I think that there’s a really tricky balance between doing far less than we could do, and justifying it by saying that it’s more than other people and getting overwhelmed and choosing to ignore problems because they are just too much. I don’t know the solution. I certainly know that I do far less than I should to make the world better.

      • Most people would be happy to be compared to Jesus, but I wonder if Gough would be??? 🙂

        He was a great visionary, but wasn’t able to achieve as much as he might have if circumstances had been different (e.g. if his party and administration had been better to allow him to win a third – effectively a second – term).

        • But he did have the vision- and the heart. But he probably wouldn’t have been down with the Jesus analogy. And Keating went on to be God…

  4. Hi Eva – I found Jesus to deal with some hard things. The hard things didn’t change, but my views on them did. What makes me the happiest about Jesus, and what is also the most ironic as you pointed out, is that he did not do hypocrisy well. Yes, let’s bury people on the Sabbath. The whole hanging out with women? Big deal! He really WAS radical. And what do they do with radical people? Crucify them! It’s easy to say we are Christians when we sit in our pews and wear our crosses. But what happens when we allow ourselves to BE Jesus. Carry our crosses. Can we rise again from our less than perfect circumstances? Can we transform? Yes. Yes we can. And THAT is what makes Jesus so bad ass. That’s a God I can get behind.

  5. It’s heartening to read these posts which are full sincerity. You understand Jesus more than most. Keep up the great work.

Comments are closed.