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Killing Jesus and Saving the Church: A Holy Week Manifesto

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manifesto

I don’t really like going to church. There are some ministers who love the mystery and majesty of it all no matter what. Not me. I am so tired of the modern presentation of Jesus that I have mentally and spiritually dropped out. Week after week, church leaders use their pulpits to demand more money and more people. One would think that the Gospel of Jesus was, “Go ye unto all the world and be as cheesy as possible while collecting as much money as possible…and lo, I am with you as long as you work to become a megachurch.” There is no theological depth to a modern Jesus that is peddled about like a used car. Unfortunately, the modern Jesus won’t even get you halfway to your house without leaving you broke down and begging for help on the side of the road. Regardless of the consequences, spiritually lazy and ignorant churches are addicted to the meaninglessness of the modern Jesus. How can we expect to save a diseased and dying church with blind devotion to the modern Jesus? I have an idea.

 

“Crucify him! Crucify him!” Though these words were chanted at an awful time, I would suggest that this language can be interpreted metaphorically to help us kill the modern Jesus that is destroying our churches. When you hear that following the modern Jesus is about constant church growth, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When churches tell you that the modern Jesus is not political or concerned about social justice, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When you are told that following the modern Jesus is about giving more and more money to the church, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” In order to save the church, real Christians should be leading the charge to kill the modern Jesus. Thankfully, followers of the real Jesus are not a people who believe in death without resurrection.

 

I can just hear the mourning. What happened to the modern Jesus who let me be racist, sexist, classist and homophobic with no problem? What happened to the modern Jesus who let me be rich and not care about my neighbor? What happened to the modern Jesus who never challenged me? For those who wanted a modern Jesus that was just a selfish and hateful as they are, the time for mourning will be long. For those whose hearts longed for a resurrection of love in the person of the real Jesus, it will finally be time to go to church and meet him.

 

This Holy Week, followers of the real Jesus must be a people who work for both death and resurrection.

 

Amen.

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