maybe Jesus wasn’t the guy sitting quietly in the pews next to us as kids, whispering solemn prayers under his breath and looking a little too serious. maybe Jesus is the kid next to you, poking you and whispering too loud and asking if maybe, just maybe you want to escape the boxed in hell-hole version of God we’ve all created out of a culture that wasn’t okay with a poor man getting a rich man’s wage. maybe he is the little boy next to you asking you if you’d rather go outside and run fast with him, and laugh a little louder than you’ve been told is allowed, and choose to see the gray of the world a little deeper without immediately calling “black” or “white” or “wrong” “right”. we wanted too many don’ts and Jesus fiercely whispers ‘do’ in a voice that rumbles with laughter and perhaps so much glee that it could be found disrespectful in the red-rimmed, tired eyes of the all too serious do-gooder adults that want to smack the light out of the childrens’ hands because they have forgotten what it is like to play.
Jesus is in the gay man’s joy and the little child’s belches and the running and running and the sun that seeps through the clouds while you lay on a picnic blanket letting its warmth touch your eyes in a way that screams more, more, more and we all know it but no one wants to say it. Jesus is not the reserved and refined man we thought he was, but he is the man that eats with drunkards and gamblers and all those the religious snidely deem ‘off limits.’ and he does not just sit in a corner and ‘associate’ with them…. like the church does with their token gay friend, secretly judging from behind protective religious cages…. but Jesus chooses them first. he engulfs himself in them, throwing himself into their experiences, feeling their joy, eating their food, perhaps laughing too much and filling with affection at every turn. he sees the shock on his friend’s faces when they understand that their long awaited messiah chose to define himself not as an unemotional, disconnected man who loved rules and black and whites and ‘that’s enough’ and ‘try harders’ and ‘stop doing this’, but defined himself instead by loving fiercely in the gray, by saying ‘it’s enough’ ‘you can have more joy. more good. more love. more than this,’ by stirring up trouble where he knew trouble was needed, by holding the hand of the dying in the dirt filled corner, holding their filth and weeping into their shoulder as he saw the affects of poverty, of prejudice, of suicide, of brokenness, of rule bent religion, the affects of the hatred that had seeped into a world that had forgotten how to love and protect one another.
and gosh darn it. i don’t want to follow the man in the corner of the church, so intent on wrongs and rights that he does not see the people beside him. i tried that man and his edges were not able to cover all of the pain that stretches just too far, his shallowness not able to reach the deepness of heartbreak that runs just too deep. i want to follow the man in the bar, roaring with laughter with his arm thrown around his brother, speaking radical grace, radiating love and light and joy and full of so much abundant life that covers our deep pain with his tenderness.
and do my thoughts go too far? a lot of people will probably think so. but i think Jesus went too far for us and i’m done believing in the culture-created Jesus that never goes far enough to actually cover the darkness and evil and filth and pulsing hatred and sadness and outright sobs of the world. I am learning that he does go far enough, and I will go farther with him too, far enough to cover this darkness with his glorious, unabashed, wound healing, hate destroying laughter of love.
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
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