Conform to Whose Christ?

Jesus the teacher of timeless moral truths.

Jesus the wild eyed apocalyptic prophet.

Jesus the political revolutionary.

Jesus the supporter of imperialism.

Jesus the supplier of my needs.

Jesus the Jew.

Jesus the blonde-haired blue-eyed Christian.

Jesus the anti-religious.

I ended my last post boldly by stating “I will be conformed to Christ.” But whose Christ to conform to? The above is simply a smattering of pictures of Jesus that one may stumble across today. I know that I must be conformed to Christ, but how do I choose the Jesus to conform to?

Now, go back to that question that we so easily would be led to ask and see what’s wrong with it. I’m not going to spell it out for you yet. Just ask, what does it assume? What cultural ideology does it unwittingly betray? I’m starting to lead you there a bit, but I won’t come out and spill it just yet.

Wait for it…

For starters, I found myself asking the same question before I started to question the question. And then I realized that it betrays a consumer mentality to Jesus. I will pick the Jesus most like what I’d like Him to be if I go down this path. Any time Jesus has a “hard saying” that doesn’t fit inside my grid of who I’ve already made Him out to be, I’ll try to make him say something else. I won’t conform myself to Christ then. I’ll instead conform Him to me. And that’s just scary.

So, how to proceed? I know this for certain: Jesus is not like me. He likes me, but He’s definitely not like me. If His words cause me discomfort, I’m on the right track. I must sense that His life was and is much different than my life. And it is my life that must change, not His.

I also think that I need to keep reading the 4 Gospels to keep His words and deeds in my mind. I just finished reading Binding the Strong Man, and it portrays Jesus in a very “political revolutionary” light. I’ve definitely been wrestling with that image of Him. It seems “other” enough, that’s for sure. The Jesus who confronts the oppressive political powers and calls me follow and do likewise is certainly uncomfortable. So that’s probably good. But is it really faithful to Him as the 4 Gospels portray Him? Well, I’m reading through Mark now (which the book was essentially a commentary on) and seeing if what Ched Myers had to say holds water.

I’m sorry if this is more confusing than helpful to anyone out there. This is certainly a newish phase of my discipleship journey and I’m not sure how best to proceed. I know that community has something to do with it too. They won’t let me make Jesus just like me. And on that note, does anyone have anything else to add to this?

My prayer for us:

Jesus, we repent of making You in our image.
Jesus, would we see You as You are.
Jesus, cut away the many lies about You.
Jesus, give us strength to follow You.

10 responses to “Conform to Whose Christ?”

  1. Maybe I just know you too well, but I was all over the “I choose” portion of the question. It reminds me of the theologian’s disdain for the Delerious’ song “I found Jesus” (which I agree with, unless Martin Smith only meant to say, in effect, eff it’s good to be in the light…much love) in that Jesus found us. In the same way, any time we’re in the position of which do I choose, we’ve been severed from the Christian vision – that of a loving God who calls us to Himself…on His terms, not ours.

    Yeah man, Christian consumerism. Yikes!

  2. I don’t know if severed is the right word (above). Maybe it should say “lost the Christian vision” instead……

  3. nice hat. looks familiar ;)

    hey ryan, we’re already in posession of geez mag. pretty interesting stuff. cheers for the heads up though!

  4. mattu
    so good to hear your questioning, searching…really really good timing too. true to God’s way of doing things…sure is good to still have friends with similar hearts and that value honesty and Truth. love you…
    and love to your pretty lady.

  5. Which Jesus to become…

    Some healthy time consuming exegesis would surely help. But, instead:

    Reveal Jesus to us Father.


    The Scriptures offer many portraits of Jesus. But with some fear I acknowledge that they remain portraits. The real man exists, with a real body.

    And of course:

    We move from ‘what would Jesus do’, to ‘what did Jesus do’, to ‘what is Jesus doing’. Very “emergent church” of me, I know. But knowing Jesus as a real person has got to involve partnering with him today.

    You jump in the Kingdom with your stuff and meet Jesus where he’s calling you. I jump in and meet his heart for different things. Then, as a community we have a fuller picture?

  6. cam, you’ve got some good thoughts there. thanks for adding to the conversation!

    Jesus must not be merely known for who He was, but also who he is today, here, now. Perhaps it only is as we say “what are you doing Jesus?” and “how can I help with what You’re doing?” that we truly come to know which Christ to conform to. It is the Christ that we are reckless followers of…

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