Okay, so that title is a little flippant, but isn’t this whole deal? Staff writer, John Ewoldt, of the StarTribune (our local Minneapolis daily) brought this wonderful holiday gift idea to my attention in their 12/15 edition. The unbelievable notion comes from their assessment at the public’s interest in this 12-inch, $20 plastic Jesus doll that quotes Bible verses. I love the notion that these Jesus’ are “disappearing’ from shelves in Targets and Walmarts across the country. That sounds a little ‘Harry Potter-esque’ to me (do I hear an echo of ‘disapparating’?) but then what are we Americans great at except taking the best of various vaguely connected things and blending them together until we have a product with no integrity that we are all dying for? [pun intended] Even more fun is the observation that the consumer response to this version of Jesus is of ‘biblical proportions.’ Wow!
Will I be getting a Talking Jesus Doll? I won’t be buying one. (Although the truth is that I did buy a plastic action figure Jesus a few years ago. It’s on my desk. But it doesn’t talk…) Should one show up under the tree for me I’ll take it as a reminder that we followers of the one who inspired this toy need to be able to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously. It will also be a reminder to look at my own “model” of Jesus. Have I made him in the image of something that I can handle and market, or am I allowing myself to be made me in God’s image?
I figure God has a much higher tolerance for blasphemy than many people think God has, and an even greater ability to use what we believe is unusable and to do great things with/through/despite it. Just take me for example – but that’s an entirely different story.
Merry Christmas. Jesus is coming! In more and different ways than we would ever expect.
Leading up to Christmas at Jacob’s Well we are talking about being “Behind the Miracle,” a VH1 (or JW1) sort of thing. We figure that God wasn’t just trying to knock our socks off back then with amazing miracles, but was breaking into our world to always be with us, and that the greatest miracles are still with us everyday.
Anyway, yesterday we were talking about the signs. The shepherds had angels, the wisemen had a star… what about us? How does the whole ‘signs and wonders’ thing work? While there are many reasons to be skeptical of them, it’s hard to deny that they are life changing for a lot of people? Just go ask a few people if they have ever received a sign from God (or somewhere upstairs} that determined something very significant in their life. You’ll collect some pretty amazing stories and convictions about signs. If you want to know more about this you can hear my Message on the topic which will be posted before long on our website.
Okay, so as I came to the office this morning I realized that I have a sign from God. I mean, literally. When we launched our “what if…” campaign in September we rented a billboard on 48th & Chicago for 4 weeks to create some buzz. The picture on this page was taken today – 17 December! It has been up there for 3 1/2 months! I guess no one else has rented the billboard so we’ve still got it! What’s more, it shouldn’t have lasted! The billboard company produces two copies assuming that after about 2 weeks or so they will have to replace the sign because weather takes it’s toll on the sign. Well, it’s been 3 1/2 months and ours is still looking good.
In the meantime it is a sign from God for a lot of people! Four first time visitors have been part of Jacob’s Well in the last two weeks alone because of that billboard – that’s just people who have let us know. What if… it’s a sign from God (not us) to our neighbors. Hmmmm…
So… the question… do I think God is making our billboard stay up?
Let’s just say this; It’s still up, God is using it, and we’re thankful. May we be so blessed next time we put one up.
Anyone read Dan Kimball‘s recent book, They like Jesus, but Not the Church? I’m looking for recommendations and discussion. Here’s a link to a review by Christianity Today via Outreach.com
Looks good to me and certainly ties into a lot of how I see the “given up” viewing our faith. Jesus is good, he is a person, like them. The institution of the church, however, is seen much differently. Suspicion of institutions in general, and distrust of the organized church in particular abound in our culture and are spreading.
One of the interesting things I have noted is that when most institutions fail their “leader” either goes down with them, or that person’s personal failure is the cause of the institution’s demise. Not so with Christendom. While the institution of the church is on the rocks (and Christendom is dead, except in a few museums of our faith) the leader, Jesus, remains in high regard. My “given up” neighbors are most often not ready to say Jesus is the Son of God, but they give him a status above other leaders. They want to know more. And almost across the board they say, “If the church were more like Jesus, I’d be interested.” Which reminds me of Gandhi’s quote, “I love your Christ, it is your Christians that I have trouble with.” (not an exact quote…)
Which is why at Jacob’s Well we don’t talk about being Christian, but being a Christ follower. We don’t call ourselves “Jacob’s Well Church.” But in connecting ourselves to the church idea we do it by saying things like, “The kind of church you’re thirsty for” or “a church for people who don’t like church.” People get it.
Anyone read Kimball’s book? Recommendations or discussion?