Sunday, January 23, 2005

Jesus, with swords and stuff...maybe guns, too.

What we really need is an ass-kicking Jesus, with freakin' kung-fu grip.

At least, that's what Christians are saying to the news media ('Braveheart' Becomes Role Model for Christian Men - Reuters).

This shouldn't come as a shock to many who've experienced the evangelical Christian subculture, but the movie Braveheart is very popular among young Christian men. It's got it all. Frat-boy moonings, lots of swords/hacking of said swords, and (if only for a few seconds) boobies. What more could you want?

John Eldredge writes books for Christians. In Wild at Heart he sets forward an argument that Christian men should be more passionate and active about life. He argues that too many Christian men are nice guys, and that we need a little bit of that warrior spirit that one can find in movies like Braveheart, The Patriot, Gladiator, etc.

Which is all fine and dandy, if it didn't ignore one glaring fact -- Jesus wasn't much of a warrior. The guy had passion out the wazoo, but he never went to battle as a guerilla warrior against the Crown, nor did he fight a Roman Emperor to the death in the Coliseum. When backed into a corner, he didn't go crazy-wild with an ax on the people who killed his family. No, he just died like a thief.

Admittedly, the book of Revelation depicts Jesus returning on a steed with fire and brimstone in his wake. But until that time, I think it's a safe bet to say he wants us to emulate the first Advent of the Christ. Meek and humble, pointed and critical, filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, spurred by the passion of the cross, and living victoriously in the promise of the resurrection.

Jesus was no warrior, but the guy had passion written all over him. Maybe Mr. Eldredge should have taken a cue from the life of Christ when he was writing to Christian men about passion, directing them to the likes of Hudson Taylor, Dr. King or Dietrich Bonhoeffer -- not because they weren't particularly violent men, but because they were men who lived passionate lives captivated by the words of Jesus, and not in spite of them.

We don't need no stinking Braveheart. We've got all the goods we need without resorting to Hollywood renditions of reluctant gladiators/revolutionaries. We've got JC, kicking it old school in the Sermon on the Mount. Passion through the extra mile. Victory through death. The kingdom through mercy and mourning.

The Jesus we're still afraid to talk about. The Jesus who doesn't make a lick of sense. The Jesus we try to sweep under the rug.

Well guess what. He doesn't intend to stay there long.

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