Monday, March 10, 2014

The Jesus Juke

I learned something today. I try to learn something new every day, but some days I fail and other days I learn 20 new things at a time, granted I forget them easily. Maybe I should set things up to songs from the 80’s. I remember every single song lyric I’ve ever heard. It’s a strange thing to be able to bust out Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby when my kids sing the first lines but forgetting why I’m holding a towel in my hand or why I’m even in that room. I digress.
I have been a Christian since I was 6 years old. For those of you counting that’s (mumble mumble) some odd years ago.

 I’ve had my moments of back-sliding. I’ve had many, many of the soul-clutching ‘Come to Jesus’ meetings. I can catch a joke and respond 80 different ways before I even blink, but when God calls my name, some days I need a brick to the head, or a Hyundai Tiburon into an electric pole to wake me up. God turned an ugly situation into an awe-inspiring testimony to His grace and mercy in that case.

Today I learned about the ‘Jesus Juke’. Those of you way ahead of me, I’m sorry. I did not read about this until few hours ago, but I have had this happen to me a lot, online and in person. It feels bad to be on the other side of this. I’m sure I have perpetrated them, as well, I am after all a flawed sinner.
This is an excerpt from author Jon Acuff’s website.

       At another airport I went to, a humongous  bodybuilder spent his time in the terminal doing ferocious push ups right beside me. I tweeted about it and folks told me to prove it with a photo. Not likely. One of my rules for twitter is never snap photos of people who can snap you. And this guy could have broken me in half like a thin blogger branch.
But in all the responses from people asking me questions about the terminal B2 bodybuilder, one stuck out. It was different than the rest, but is something I am growing familiar with.
I call it the “Jesus Juke.”
Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.
In this particular case, when I tweeted a joke about the guy doing pushups, someone tweeted me back, “Imagine If we were that dedicated in our faith, family, and finances?”
I love to have a good time and joke around. A lot. My way of dealing with anything in my life is with a joke, a smile and making everything light-hearted. I’m serious when the need arises, but just because there are some folks that don’t appreciate that I love ‘Doctor Who’, or that I like hearing someone talk with an Irish accent, or that I am Bat-Crazy for Batman and call me out for it because I’m not as holy as they think I should be, it stings. 

Especially if these people are some I grew up with in the church or an acquaintance that turns everything into a judgment marathon. Acuff pointed out a few other things that almost always follow a pious statement into a light-hearted situation.

       1. It generates shame. Most definitely! I know I immediately feel like my dream of going to school in my underwear has happened to me, but this time in front of all my family and friends.

       2. It never leads to good conversation. It’s awkward to respond to something like that when you’re feeling like your soul is being questioned. It’s not something you can remedy and feel good by just chatting online about. This calls for personal contact. If you can’t physically go see them, use your cell phone for its original purpose. Reach out and touch someone.

       3. No one has ever been ‘Juked to Jesus’. On the contrary, this shows non-believers that we, as Christians, can’t accept each other for who we are and tear the other down publicly. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be excited about repenting of my sins knowing that after that, I get to be ridiculed every time I make a mistake.

This hits the Christian-on-Christian fighting that seems to go on far too frequently that I talked about a while ago. We can’t attack each other and expect those that aren’t saved to want to have the Jesus they see in us.

This leads into another issue that is an all-too familiar Jesus Juke. You go on Facebook to tell your family and friends you’re struggling with something and asking for prayer or just support and some well-meaning person tells you a scripture that will solve all your problems. Don’t take this the wrong way. I BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT WE FACE IN OUR LIVES CAN BE SOLVED BY APPLYING THE BIBLE TO OUR LIVES!! What I’m meaning is when someone tells us that this scripture worked wonders for them, or we’re not interpreting things correctly because we should feel (insert emotion here) if we did. Just like each person is a very separate and unique individual of the human race, God is a unique and individual God for each of us. He can use the same verse and make it relate to millions of people in their unique situations. I don’t believe that a scripture alone is the answer, we have to couple that with prayer and a strong dependence on God that only comes from knowing you are nothing without Him. When you make salvation/deliverance/healing/etc. about a particular verse and not the Holy Spirit, you're making the Bible into a magician's tool". Quotation reference here.  

Also be wary of the person that uses God’s word out of context and/or does not make things plainly understood. Even Satan can quote scripture to support his needs. The Bible was given to us intact. To strip verses from their origin and pervert them to support our own ends is not how it was given to us. Sometimes the people that jump into a religious conversation, online or physical, may not know anything more than you do, they may know bigger words for things and want to drop as many of those multi-syllable words as possible because they may appear smarter. I, for one, am guilty of this one, I love words, and I really love big words and look for any excuse to use them, that still doesn't make me any less guilty of this one.  Here's the rule: if you can't explain in your words why you're using God's words, then you're abusing God's words and they certainly aren't your words to own." As much as I'd like to lay claim to writing this rule, it's not mine, it is from the same article I referenced above. 

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