We talked to Smith about stereotypes about Jesus, good and evil and how a healthy view of Jesus can transform our lives. What stereotypes of Jesus did you want to upturn?
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A: Jesus has, I think, for a long time been portrayed as very serious. To a fault.
Jesus was the full and complete embodiment of all that God is, and so, no doubt, He would have enjoyed a good time. I mean, look at the guys he chose, the 12 blue-collar, average, ordinary dudes. Some of them royal screw-ups. Jesus chose them and no doubt they were cracking jokes and laughing and having a good time.
It seems like we usually think of them as very serious and somber. A: We have the luxury of reading the end of the book, so we look at these 12 guys with colored glasses. We know all of these guys do great things later in life. So we minimize how rough, ragged and ridiculous they were when Jesus chose them to be His earthly crew. When He chose them … they were an absolute joke in terms of their lifestyle and probably their vocabulary and how they functioned socially.
A: Exactly! Christians are afraid to befriend people who are rough, befriend people who are lost, people who are notorious.
"Figuring You Out" Book - Jordan Grace Owens | DIY | Art zine, Pop up art, Figured you out
We feel like we should only befriend people who are upstanding, good, right, godly. And you look at who Jesus chose, you also look at who He hung out with—Zacchaeus is a horrible guy. He cheats little old ladies out of their pension.
Q: Jesus was always pushing the boundaries and reaching out to people who were outcasts. Why do you think that in our version of Christianity today we keep coming back to this idea of a clean-cut Jesus and a clean-cut Gospel? A: I think the greatest illusion in all of human history is control. But the message of grace assumes a horrible mess. Have you struggled to figure out what your true role is in this life?
Well, this summer you can take a massive step toward figuring that out.
Figuring It Out With Grace
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