Polarizing

Written by cycleguy on January 24th, 2013

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Is there any figure in history more polarizing than Jesus?

Muhammed Ali? Nope.

Adolph Hitler? Nope.

Tim Tebow?  Nope.

Mr. Obama? Nope.

Mention the above names (and others) and you might get a shrug, a shudder, or a comment (vocally or silently).  But mention the name Jesus and you might get a shrug, a shudder, or a comment.

Or you might just get the tongue-lashing of your life.

Or see someone do spasms right in front of you.

Or you might lose your head or some other part of your body.

Or you might lose your freedom.

Or, depending on where you live, you just might lose your life.

We pretty much know what to do with people who have “their moments of fame.”  We figure time will wear that out.  But what do you do with Jesus?  I mean, He has been affecting lives and history for over 2000 years.  No matter how you look at Him the same question He asked His disciples in Matthew 16 is still the same one to ask today: “Who do men say that I am?”  A-a-n-n-d just as there were divergent view of who He was back then (John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets), there will be divergent views today.   “My Homeboy.”  The Man Upstairs. One of God’s many children and step-brother to Lucifer.  Michael the Archangel. A reincarnation of Mister Rogers.  A state of consciousness. An implant forced on a Thetan. An enlightened man.  A good man.  A prophet.  The buffalo calf of God.  The list goes on and on.

OR…

He is the Savior.  God’s Only Son.  The Christ. Our Lord.

Yeah…you can see the choice.  You can also see why He is so polarizing.  To say He is the latter puts one at odds with the majority of people world-wide.   And to boot…you get called all kinds of names: Bigoted.  Narrow-minded.  Exclusive.  Judgmental.  Out-of-touch. Intolerant.   Strangely enough, Jesus knew this would happen.  He said, “You are either for me or against me.”   “They hated me,” He said, “so they will hate you.”  Time has proven His words were right.

Well…guess who I am preaching about Sunday?  :)  I would certainly appreciate your prayers.  Thanks.  And by the way: I will happily choose to land on the side that calls Him the latter names.  And you?

 

 

29 Comments so far ↓

  1. He is polarizing, for sure. You can talk about church all day long. Start talking about Him and people become very uncomfortable.

  2. Daniel says:

    The buffalo calf of God? I have not heard this one before. It lead to some silly images dancing across my mind. This is likely aided by the fact that my mind and body are fried from a long day. I will be praying for you for Sunday. Blessings.

  3. Steve Martin says:

    Where else can we go?

    “He has the words of eternal life.”

  4. Jeff says:

    When I think of men who have influenced social thought for centuries I think about Confucius, Budda, Socrates, Plato Aristotle and yes Jesus. They were all great philosophers and teachers of ethics, morality, social structure, Justice, logic and politics. They are all worth reading and studying. I don’t think anyone considers them to be bigots, intolerant, narrow minded etc.
    As the world begins to understand that homosexuals are no different, no less worthy, no less moral, and no less entitled to the same rights as everyone else the last bastion of bigotry, exclusion, intolerance, and hate will melt away.
    As religion has done for women, blacks, Indians and others the translations will be revisited and the interpretation of old religious scripts will change.
    Then the rightly earned negative lables attached to such beliefs will also fade away. And we will all be better for it.

    • Susan says:

      Maybe, Jeff. Maybe. I kind of think that mankind in general has a need for a scape goat. If it isn’t the homosexuals, it will be something or someone else.

      • cycleguy says:

        I don’t think anyone considers them bigots either, except for maybe Jesus. His words are sometimes hard to hear. His call for total surrender is unequivocal and unequalled. He wanted total allegiance not half-hearted followers. Many followers of Christ today are called bigots, etc. Preach that Jesus is the only way to heaven and watch those who preach/teach/blab on about tolerance become intolerant. While I agree with Susan that mankind needs a scapegoat (and will find one somewhere), I don’t think we will be better for drifting away or casting aside biblical norms.

        • jeff says:

          Curious that you and Susan use the word scapegoat. Which, as you probably know, was the Hebrews way of getting rid of their sins. Pile them on a goat, drive him into the desert to die, and voila! all the sins are gone. Jesus replaced the goat as the way to be rid of sins in a similar vicarious fashion.
          It must be other religions that care about a Christians belief that only they will go to heaven. I think everyone is entitled to beleive what they want. It doesn’t bother me at all. I just think it is kind of silly but totally harmless.
          Many interpretations of Biblical norms have been discarded, revised, modernized, etc as culture evolves. And so will the interpretation of the Biblical norms concerning homosexuals. Not without a lot of blowback by the religious community but it will happen. And the promise that all men are created equal and have equal protection will be closer to being realized.

          • cycleguy says:

            What the law of the land offers and what God says about some practices is not always in sync. While the law of the land may condone and okay some behavior, that does mean the bible does. I may be called a redneck or out of touch, but I choose to stand with the Bible. As for the scapegoat, I know the backstory of the OT and the goat. I do believe Jesus became the one to take our sins. But I see no connection between mine and Susan’s use of it and the biblical story.

            • jeff says:

              My thought was that scapegoat was just not the right word for how homosexuals are viewed. I think the current view is more about discrimination than scapegoating. I don’t think we are blaming this group for our troubles. Some just prefer to label them in negative terms and exclude them from certain benefits of marriage. I offer the following on how the translations and interpretations will likely evolve as the church struggles with remaining relevant to the younger generation on this subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY
              I would never call you a redneck or out of touch and rather enjoy different opinions. I am just thankful our laws, unlike some middle east countries, are based on reason rather than religious scripts.

              • Tom says:

                Thanks Jeff. That video is informative. Its somewhat one-sided though. For balance, those who watch it are best to also review some of the refutations of it. Google lists dozens of those.

  5. Dan Erickson says:

    I like the latter names in your post, too. I also like to think of Jesus as an internal force: Christ in Us.

  6. Desert Jim says:

    That is a very narrow-minded post today! Intolerant and hateful!

    I will stand beside you in your narrow-mindedness.

    I am praying for you this weekend.

  7. Betty Draper says:

    I know it use to make me uncomfortable when the few people who dared to talk about Him did. I say “few” because most of them talked about church, what they did at church but few actually ask me, what will you do with Jesus. Just the mention of His name would bring conviction on me. Which is why we need boldness for the mulitudes are talking about their church, their pastor, the programs, etc. We are called to spread the gospel not temporal things. Great post…makes me want to go door knocking and ask someone, what will you do with Jesus. Oh I pray God puts someone in my path today who is seeking answers. I have it, I have it.
    Blessings

    • cycleguy says:

      Jesus was never meant to make people comfortable- His followers or the non-believer. He warned us of tough times to come because of His Name. Present Jesus not the church. Well said Betty.

  8. Susan says:

    “Jesus is the sweetest name I know, and He’s just the same as His lovely name….”

    Jesus, God in flesh. Who can begin to take it in? Jesus, because anyone who is in Him IS a new creation. A new identification, a new reality. Jesus.

  9. He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. That scripture is on my mind when I think about the polarizing effect of Christ.

  10. floyd says:

    How can we call ourselves anything except who we are? We must stand and speak truth regardless of what the world says… I don’t want to fit in or be associated with a group that denounces my Lord and Savior.

    Praying for you and yours.

    Great post, Bill. Well put. You have a knack for that!

  11. Jason says:

    It’s just as bad if you stand for the Bible. I had someone this week tell me they weren’t going to speak to me again because I said gay marriage is a sin and that if you’re following the Bible you can’t support it.

  12. Debbie says:

    I’m with you, Pastor Bill, on calling Him Jesus, God’s only Son. :) And praying for you as you bring your congregation the message He asks you to. God bless you!