Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Want to Worship a God Become Man

"Idealized heroes are unsatisfying because in the process of idealizing them, we take away everything that makes them real and makes us able to relate to them."

One of my pet peeves within Christianity is what has been done to Jesus, the man, in order to emphasize Jesus, the Christ. In most modern Christian constructs, the mortal has been completely lost in the God. My wife laughs at my reaction to "little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes" (Away in a Manger"), but it epitomizes this neutering of the man that I sense in most depictions of him.

I read the Gospels and see a very complicated person. A God made man who had to grow from grace to grace - who (according to our modern understanding of accountability) could have been a rambunctious, difficult, headstrong toddler and/or young child without ever sinning but gets painted as a docile angel - who has had all humanity air-brushed away to create what some see as an ideal.

I want to worship a God become man, not a God become earthbound angel.


Jack Mormon said...

Interesting point. Actually, Luke 2:49 shows that, as a teenager, Jesus could be a bit brusque with His parents at times. When His parents found him at the temple after three days of searching, and remonstrated with Him, Jesus responded, "...wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?"

ji said...

We know almost nothing about Jesus childhood or youth, and really very little about his adulthood. But before he was a man, he was our God and the creator of the universe. Before he was a man, we worshipped him. But behold the condescension of God: he left his throne above and came to this earth to live as a man among men, to save us all from sin. As a man, he set aside his Godhood -- he didn't require bowing or kneeling -- he called himself the Son of God -- he served and he taught.
There was a video by the Genesis Project (with some support, I think, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) of the book of Luke that does portray some of Jesus's humanity. He smiles and even laughs.

I suppose that when Jesus was a man, he wrapped his hair in a cloth like all other men. I suppose his clothes and his teeth became dirty between cleanings. His voice was like any other man's, with no special effects or softening.
Sometimes, I think our own church videos portray the earthly Jesus more as an angel visiting from heaven than as a man. I appreciate the need for respect -- really, I do -- but am image of an ultra-clean with flowing hair and no dust Jesus teaching the beatitudes in an artificial voice sometimes leaves me feeling perhaps like you sometimes do. God became man, a real man, and lived among men -- that is a Gospel truth.