Jesus is pretty popular in America. But unfortunately, His popularity has little to do with the picture of Jesus given in the Bible. Rather, Jesus has been co-opted as a kind of mascot for all sorts of causes and platforms (many of which are conflicting). Kevin DeYoung writes about some of the many ways Jesus is portrayed in America.
There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee (at least a couple of days per week), loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).
There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that "all you need is love."
There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding "the god within" while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.
There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on "the system."
There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing [prom songs to God].
There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
Have you adopted Jesus as a mascot for your own cultural or political ideals? Or have you examined the Scriptures to see who Jesus really is?
If you don't have a plan for doing this, you ought to consider joining in our New City Bible Reading Project in 2010.