I should have read and written a book review a while ago for “Jesus is ____” (ISBN 9781400204755) by Judah Smith.
First off, I lacked interest in reading, in general (perhaps what could be categorized as chronic depression). Besides even if I had wanted, I had no glasses, I couldn’t. I finally have my glasses (new prescription, frames and all) and now I’m trying to feel interested enough to read this book written by a Seattle pastor about a small social experiment where people could finish the sentence “Jesus is ____.” Most of the answers were nice while others were short of offensive.
“That last bit often makes people feel awkward. They try not to swear around me, which mostly makes me laugh. They think I can’t relate to them. A pastor, of course, doesn’t swear, have impure thoughts, yell at his kids, watch porn, get drunk, do drugs, or cheat on his wife or taxes. He also judges everyone he sees, doesn’t have any fun, tries not to smile, and only has sex because it’s a necessary evil in order to perpetuate the species.”
In his half-joking manner, the author describes the textbook Christian.
“Let’s be honest. Mostly good people like to look down on mostly bad people. We enjoy the feelings of condescending pity or self-righteous outrage. We gleefully hold up notorious evildoers as marvels of depravity, examples of just how bad people can get. Then we finish off our lattes, load our 2.2 children into our almost-paid-off SUVs, and head off to contribute to society.”
He also points out that we’re either sinners who acknowledge our trespasses and those who are “holier-than-thou” who put down other sinners.
“In Jesus’s conversation with Matthew, he lumps all of humanity into two groups: people who think they are righteous and people who know they are sinners.”
These are the same Christians who feel the need to judge — forgetting that only GOD has that right.
“Stage 1. I am a good person, and I am justified in criticizing bad people.
Stage 2. I am a good person, but I should show compassion to bad people.
Stage 3. I am a sinner who needs just as much help as the next guy.
Stage 4. I am loved by Jesus, just as I am, and so is everyone else.”
The author’s biggest (to my criteria) is that pastors don’t know their flock and most importantly those unwanted outsiders who should be part of the flock. They fail to identify the drug pusher, the sexual trafficker, the victims (consumers, providers, slaves, etc) and/or other not-so-holy members of society in order to welcome them to the body of Christ, help them, clean them and eventually lead them to straight-and-narrow.
On a different topic, I’ve got disc 2 of Sandinista by The Clash on heavy rotation, especially the song Lose My Skin with a fiddle and bag pipes as the song refers says, “I got to lose this skin I’m imprisoned in” (The Clash, Sandinista! 1980).