You are reading me because Jamie is off doing what Jamie does. She is helping make life a little better for children who really need life to be a little better. Jamie asked me and others to write about something she loves. While others will no doubt write about baking, gadgets, baking gadgets, and naps, I will write about one of the things we have in common.
Jamie is a person of deep faith. She is a disciple of Jesus and all that comes with it. The work she does for children in need of “forever families” is not a career. It is a calling. She does this because she believes this is what Jesus would do.
Simply put? Yes.
But her faith dictates the steps of her life. She is an Emory educated woman who will work a long time in her current field to make what was spent on her education. Callings are funny that way and God has a sense of humor that will get your goat sometimes. Having said all that, you are reading her blog and hopefully you will be a better person for it.
I absolutely love how different people picture Jesus. Try this one day. Google "Jesus," then hit "images." You will see Korean Jesus, black Jesus, velvet Jesus (or is that Willie Nelson?), NRA Jesus, woman Jesus, and many others. I am waiting on Twilight Jesus as he “sparkles” coming out of the tomb and into the sunlight.
(Shameless plug: Go to my blog and look at my thoughts on the Twilight Saga)
But I have a favorite image. It is the White American Republican Jesus. There he is with his Roman nose, luxuriant straight brown hair, and light olive complexion. I don’t think the world is quite ready for the Scotch-Irish Jesus in a kilt, playing Amazing Grace on the bag-pipes. But this would be the Jesus were I to create Him in my own image.
Jesus is confounding to people who attempt to define him. When I read the Gospels, I see a man that did pretty radical things. Many have reduced him to an image closer to Mr. Rogers than what is the truth.
We have made him nice.
Last time I checked, nice guys don’t throw a city into an uproar with their presence and die hanging on a cross surrounded by thieves and enemies. Nice just doesn’t fit.
What really sticks out to me when I read the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is the way he walked in the world. He used common images and simple stories to tell cosmic truth. The people he chose to follow him were screwed up. He did not seem at all interested in what people thought about him. When the crowds that followed got too large he would turn and say the most ridiculous things. Things like, “If you want to follow me you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Or my personal favorite, “If you love me then you have to hate your mother, father, brothers, and sisters.” In his circle of 12 were tax-collectors (the ancient equivalent of ambulance chasing personal injury lawyers), revolutionaries, and foul mouthed fishermen.
He had infinite patience with sinners. He had no patience with self righteous religious leaders and hypocrites. "He laughed and shared stories with the thief and the whore.” (Thank you Bethany Dillon) He heaped burning coals (figurative of course) on the heads of those who would look down their noses at those “sinners.” He would answer honest questions with grace. He would answer dishonest questions with more questions. He was infuriating to those who sought to trap him and living water to those who sought him. He loved people whom no one else loved. He liked wedding parties. He loved his friends and said no greater love can be shown in this world than when you are willing to give your life for them.
This man was good news to a world that needed good news. He talked about God’s love for the world and then showed the world that love.
Vaya con Dios my friends.
Joseph writes regularly at Joseph's Blog-O-Log. It is one of Jamie's favorite things to read - second only to Entertainment Weekly.