« we're all idiots in the emerging church ... | Main | i'm the first on my block to have one ... »

Monday, July 26, 2004


Preacher Dave

If "deserving better" means missing out on people wrestling with their concept of God after I preach, then I'd rather have Michael in the audience any day, even if he isn't listening to me (Ha!). I take it as a sign that God was present for Michael in the way that blesses Michael, and If I had some part in welcoming God into the room, I'm happy.

As for Jesus, why does the idea of a Jesus who speaks truth seem so obnoxious? Or threatening? Why do we feel the need to take away some of his divinity (or wisdom) to soften his impact in social situations (as though he would be compelled to speak convicting truth to us because he knows or secret, dark thoughts = no social boundaries)? I think it is precisely Jesus' perfection that made him so graceful in the presence of people who deserved death. I mean, he really only railed against those who *thought* they were religiously superior, or who were teaching outright lies, or who were crushing the weak.

With those who had a glimmer of understanding of their failures or lack of qualification, Jesus seemed to leak love and affection. If he challenged them as individuals at all it was to pretty gentle, I think.

"a bruiesed reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not extinguish"

What if Jesus was "freed by his perfection" to speak his mind, but his mind was not all about judgement? It is about joy and peace to those who love him (even if they don't know his name yet), and sometimes he is about rebuking the arrogant.

So Jesus might be more like Michael's picture ... only not for lack of perfect understanding, but rather because of his perfect grace, which balances his perfect righteousness.

Michael Toy

yes, good point, but i failed to really say what i meant ... let me try again:

jesus was divine -- he never said the wrong thing and every rebuke was correct. fine.

it still seems like, as "little christs" that this is a hurtful image of jesus for us to carry around as we think about how we deal with other people. we should not be striving to reach the point where we can speak with equal freedom because it is not something we can ever attain, we all have logs in our own eye (unlike jesus). so it might be helpful, as "little christs" to think of jesus differently, and then we might be more "like jesus".

a less historically accurate image of jesus in our mind may produce more of the living character of christ in our lives.

at least that was the odd thought which led me to blog.

Jon Reid

(Sumo Penguin has to be the most frightening photo you have used yet!)

Michael Mills

Well I like it. But then I'm not committed to the idea that Jesus was perfect in the first place; and if he was God, I have trouble understanding what that means. (So in that case why do I hang out here? Because it is always worth reading ....)


I can see what you're saying but I'm not sure that re-making Christ in our own image is the answer to any of our problems. Perhaps what we need is more of an emphasis on the virtues of grace, discretion and tact. See James 3:13-18. The one who is wise and understanding shows it by being peaceful, gentle, reasonable and full of mercy. Maybe the point we have to reach is where we can be silent out of love rather than speaking out of freedom.

Michael Toy

Barry, thanks for the comment.

first of all, i contend that we all "make christ", by how we process and internalize the stories of jesus, so it is really not fair to imply that somehow one person has the correct image of christ which isn't "made" and someone else is just making christ in their own image. some images of christ are more orthodox than others yes, but, being human, all we can do is construct images of christ.

how does one reconcile the passage in james with the story of jesus in the temple chasing out the money changers?

i propose that telling ourselves that jesus, by virtue of his discernment, was able to know when not to be even the slightest bit peaceful or gentle, may actually may creating an image of christ which is really an image of anti-christ. while i don't deny there may be spiritual giants alive who have that kind of discernment, most of us are not that way and should never go there. in doing this, we are being christ-like.

but your comment on silence was good, made me think more about what i think i we should do. if we are to get practical with all of this, i think the real answer is that we storm in with all the boldness of jesus, but, because we are not jesus, we storm in with love and humility and not a whip. we won't get to "clean things out", but we do bring christ in with us, and then he will do the cleaning.

thanks again for the comment, it was helpful.


In my comment I was referring to what you said about "a less historically accurate image of Jesus". I should have made that clearer. I'm new at this. Sorry about that.
As to what you said about the cleansing of the temple-good point! I've wondered that myself. Too often we can be consumed with zeal for the house of the Lord and do exactly the wrong thing.
What you said about charging in with love and humility is a wonderfully incongruous statement that somehow brings to mind a picture of my mother taking a homemade pie to a church board meeting:)
Thanks for getting me thinking.


Some further thoughts that may or may not make sense to you.
I believe that the only time Christ referred to himself as an example was as an example of servanthood in washing the disciple's feet(John 13:15). I believe the only time the New Testament refers to Christ as an example is as an example in His suffering(1 Peter 2:21).
Maybe our focus is on the wrong areas?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad