Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jerks for Jesus

The following is long and sarcastic.  Continue at your own risk!
Matthew Hartsfield, our pastor at Van Dyke Church here in Tampa, is a wonderful preacher who always makes me think.  A couple of weeks ago he mentioned a group that he is seeing more and more of in our nation these days.  This group is called Jerks for Jesus.  I have done a bit of research and would like to share with you three ways that you can become a card-carrying member of this special club!  You don't have to do all three; any one of these will qualify you for membership.
  1. Remember that Christianity is all about YOU.  Your belief system, your spiritual practices, your interpretation of scripture and your value system are the only ones that count!  If someone disagrees with you on methods of baptism, simply acknowledge that they are wrong and move along.  If you are a warmonger and another "christian" is a pacifist, simply remind them that Jesus once cut off a guard's ear in the Garden.  They say that was Peter...and Jesus healed the guard's ear?  Not in your Bible!  Your faith demands that you never back down from the things you believe in, even if someone proves you wrong.  Otherwise you might as well be a (GASP) liberal...
  2. Even a perfect Christian like you needs to mingle on occasion with other believers like yourself (although there is no one quite like you!).  1 Corinthians 12 refers to this group as the "Body of Christ."  Different members of the body have different responsibilities.  As a Jerk for Jesus, you play a special part.  You are the Pointing Finger!  It is your job to point out the sins and failures of your fellow Christians. Let someone else be the hands and feet that serve others in Jesus' name.  Let others be the tongues who share the Good News with a devastated world.  It is up to you to remind society of it's moral decay- such as rap music, Reality TV and a willingness to vote for Democrats on occasion.  You are the one who points out who is to blame when things go wrong.  And remember, the Pointing Finger never points back at you, because only you understand what Jesus really wants this world to be like.   You are the keeper of truth- and you can use Twitter and Facebook to condemn those who disagree with you!
  3. Concentrate on God's law as found in the Old Testament.  Obey these and you are far less likely to need to understand concepts like Grace and Unconditional Love.  These are for the weak.  As a true Jerk for Jesus, you will know that Jesus didn't have to die for your sins, because you are doing just fine without Him.  Anyone who needs to be forgiven clearly is not a good American (and one of our Pointing Fingers will be more than happy to point out their shortcomings!).  If you need a good biblical role model, check out the Pharisees.  They followed the law, were important people, and didn't need Jesus to explain anything to them. Plus they had money and almost certainly voted a straight Republican ticket.   Indeed, the Pharisees are the patron saints of the Jerks for Jesus.
Some of you may wish to avoid being a Jerk for JesusLeonard Sweet, in his book SoulTsunami, points out the best way to steer clear of this group.  He calls it The Platinum Rule- an upgrade from The Golden Rule we all grew up with. The Golden Rule says "do to others as you would have them do to you."   Jesus knew The Golden Rule and quoted it in Matthew 7:12.  But He also said that "I come to give us a new covenant."  It would no longer be about treating others as we want to be treated.  It was now about Jesus saying "just as I have loved you, so should you love one another (John 13:35)."  Jesus loved us so much He died for us.  Talk about taking it to another level!  The Platinum Rule said it was no longer about what is good for me; it was now about being willing to sacrifice everything for those around you.  It was no longer about loving "your kind of people;" it was now all about loving everyone, even those you don't like.  It is about giving up things that are important to you for the good of the Kingdom of God.  It is about understanding that we all need grace and forgiveness, we all need love, and most importantly, we all need Jesus.  It is Jesus, crucified and resurrected, that we need to be sharing with our nation.  And we need to- no, we MUST- share Him in love, not with a condemning wag of our fingers.  As the song says, "They will know we are Christians by our love."  Everyone needs love- especially the jerks...

Because of Jesus,

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