Postmodern Jesus: Dirty Feet and All

October 5th, 2009

It's interesting that so many Christians are going gaga over Mel Gibson'sThe Passion of the Christ. Let me get this straight: Jesus doesn't have the usual ironed robe and Miss America sash, and the perfectly washed and conditioned Marcia Brady hair? Instead he's beaten, bloodied, and shredded—all while we watch (what we can stomach of) this Arabic-language R-rated film? What about this image of Jesus is appealing to so many?

Who is this postmodern Jesus? Or rather, what part of the real Jesus is this current culture attracted to? What about Jesus is this generation (and the rest of us) hoping to communicate?

Is a postmodern Jesus more Rabbinical in nature—a Torah-observant Jew who gave respect to the traditions of the past while integrating a new paradigm and yoke that had been previously unrevealed? Might his hook be that he “got” the Old Testament in ways other people never would?

Is a postmodern Jesus more satirical in nature—the extreme plastic acrobat figurines on Conan O'Brien who play paint ball, go ice skating, and can enjoy going downhill on a 2×4 ski? Or is he perhaps the God of South Park, hoping that one day we'll get how ridiculous Christian marketing and industries have become?

Is a postmodern Jesus more cultural in nature? Is he the pixel king of cyberspace, found to communicate through Holy Spirit instant messaging (that he hopes we always leave on)? Does he enjoy hanging out at Starbucks, doing his disciple-recruiting in bagel shops, and hunting for the ultimate strawberry-banana-mango-pomegranate smoothie? And if he materialized today, would he look more like Neo or Nemo?

Is a postmodern Jesus more musical in nature? Does he have angels on standby with Kleenex for all the kids getting ready for one more round of “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever?” Would he play himself in Hero: The Rock Opera or be the janitor who swept up after it was all over? Might he be more into the acoustic drive of Chris Tomlin or the nasal-speedwood of Lost & Found? Would his face resemble the never-aging, joyful smile of Michael W. Smith or the porcupine goatee of David Crowder? Or perhaps his music is more like Pink, Dave Matthews, U2, and Marilyn Manson having a jam during a lunch break. Who'd get into his groove more—the kids who show up for praise team practice or the back-of-the-room kids who mock their participation?

Is a postmodern Jesus more congregational in nature? Has he lost interest in being purpose-driven and seeker-sensitive in favor of just hanging out at skate parks and chillin' over a Slurpee? Would he attend the traditional service, the contemporary celebration, or the alternative college thing? Might he get into the junior varsity Sunday evening doohickey (where the other people who can't sing on Sunday mornings get to sing)? Or would he grab a Pepsi and watch Alias instead, wondering if Agent Bristow is now in the year 2004 or 2006 after her two year amnesia (but then again, he'd know, wouldn't he)?

And…more importantly…what about the real Jesus do our (somewhat) postmodern kids need to know that they don't quite get yet? Or, is it less about us getting him more and more about letting him get us?

What do you think?


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.