Did you know there was a difference between “Christ” and “Jesus”? Basic stuff in biblical studies through college and seminary.
Took whole classes on: “Christology” (we studied many -ologies. . .of course the most important was THEOlogy). Sorry, no “Jesus-ology.” Creeds are written all about Christ.
“Christ” is a title (Greek for Messiah–the promised Hebrew Hero. Ask your Jewish friends how they feel about Christians stealing their Messiah)
“Jesus” is a common Palestinian man’s name (really Yeshua, a Hebrew/Aramaic name. He would never have turned his head if you yelled out “Hey, Jesus!”)
As we learn in Sunday School (or not), “Christ is not Jesus’ last name.”
So, why say Christ beats Jesus? What does that mean and why does it matter?
It matters. Actually it matters quite a bit. The whole history of Christianity and Religion turns on who wins the battle for belief. Image Matters. Names Matter.
I’ll make this brief (since I know you’re blogging busy). . .
This week I opened a slick magazine from a seminary. The first words I saw proclaimed:
“Moved by God’s love in Jesus Christ. . .we advance the Church’s hopeful, loving engagement with the world.”
Then, I opened a Church newsletter, with a pastoral message to “Brothers and Sisters in Christ.”
That church did an intense study of their congregation asking, “Where is God Taking Us?” Sounds like a pretty radical question! Are you ready for the Surprising Answer their hours of intense conversation produced?
“There appears to be a consensus that what God is calling us to do is what we are doing.”
Please read that again. . .(I’ll wait)
Now, I know this congregation is doing a lot of good work. They really are. There are many good folks there and I’m sure they have good hearts and good intentions.
Yet, my comment is that what they are saying and what the seminary is saying is exactly what is wrong with “followers of Christ.”
Jesus is left in the dust, outside, a loser in the contest for Most Glorious. See, Jesus the man was an agitator. Not a really friendly fellow, if we read the lines. . .and between the lines. He was in the good old ancient “Prophetic Tradition” and Prophets never made people feel comfortable. You would Never Say in earshot of a Prophet: Oh well, we’re doing just what God wants us to do. Whoops. Now he’s agitated!
The seminary and the church believe they are “Prophetic.” Well, until it’s not so much about the Super-Christ and more about the Agitating Prophet with Compassion Jesus Guy, the Church will always be speaking with itself, with little voice or influence in the world outside its stained glass walls. I said this when I left the Church and gave my Ordination back, and I’m saying it still: Jesus would not be welcomed in any church that calls itself by his (Christ) name.
Christ has beat out Jesus.
I guess he always will.
(but I kinda like Jesus. . .before he was “exalted” and “magnified” and “deified” and worshipped right off the earth)
Are you happy with the score?