Jesus. It’s Complicated

Jesus is love. But he sometimes seems like such a jerk.
Jesus is kind. But calls out his disciples.
Jesus is compassionate. But gets all cranked up about stuff.

It’s complicated.

A woman pleads for the healing of her daughter and Jesus talks about how scrapes shouldn’t be thrown to dogs. A dad ask for his son to be healed and Jesus rages against the unfaithful generation.

It’s complicated.

Jesus speaks in parables so that people won’t understand. He teaches his disciple who seem set on misunderstanding.   He heals, but tells people not to talk about it. He preaches and sends the crowd away.

He’s traditional, but not conservative.
He’s non-traditional but not progressive.

Where does he fit in?

It’s complicated.

Jesus. It’s complicated.

It’s almost like…like Jesus is a real person.

He’s like someone you really need to get to know. Someone with a personality.

He’s like someone trying to make the best out of a bad situation, like all of us.  Someone who is navigating an impossible situation with people coming at him from a bunch of different angels and agendas.

When you read him one way in one situation he then moves off in a different direction in a different situation.

It’s so confusing.

Or, at least, it should be!

It Should Be Complicated

But too often we box in Jesus around a couple of ideas, a couple of stories, a couple of teachings that fit our agenda, our strategy, our hopes for the salvation—be it of our church, for heaven, or the country.

And when we box in Jesus two things happen.

  1. We stop listening to Jesus. We tune out what doesn’t fit the theological or political angle we are promoting. We cut out statements of judgment because we want the “Jesus of love.” Or we cut out the radical hospitality because we want the “Jesus who is just.” Or whatever.
  2. And Jesus becomes a tool. We stop treating Jesus as a real person who longs to know and be known, who longs to help us know and be known. Instead we treat him as a tool to accomplish something in the world—be it “God’s glorification in all things” or “The expression of God’s love to all people” or some other theological or political project.

But can we just admit that Jesus is complicated? And that our relationship to him is complicated. Can we be OK relating to Jesus as a real person.

For some it is a copout, pushing the “It’s Complicated” button.

But really—Jesus…He’s Complicated.



(This post it is part of my “
20 for 20” post where I write for twenty minutes a day for twenty days.  So these are quick thoughts as I push out my ideas and practice writing.  See my explanation here.)

One Reply to “Jesus. It’s Complicated”

  1. Thanks Geoffrey! this is a helpful column / post. Not only is it helpful to me personally, but I think I’m going to use it in Sunday School.

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