Posted by: smstrouse | April 11, 2015

Is Jesus Relevant in the 21st Century?

Blonde-JesusSo you say you’re a follower of Jesus. OK, but which Jesus?
Blonde Jesus? Jewish Jesus? Black Jesus? White Jesus? Zen Jesus? Jedi Jesus?





Christianity_Jesus_meditating_golden_lightJedi JesusAmerican-actor-Ted-Neeley-takes-part-in-a-rehearsal-of-the-show-Jesus-Christ-Superstar-AFP-800x430                                                                         Superstar Jesus?

Maybe you’re a fan of Bruce Chilton’s “Rabbi Jesus” or John Dominic Crossan’s “Mediterranean Jewish Peasant,” Sarah Bessey’s “Jesus Feminist” or Reza Aslan’s “Zealot.”

Any way you look at it, Jesus is a popular figure – as a figure of belief and/or devoUnknowntion as well as a target for poking fun. Check out the Jesus action figure with glow-in-the-dark hands I got for my birthday last year.

What is it about this guy that holds our interest? And does he really have any relevance to us in our 21st century lives? Many would say no way. Others, who have dropped out of the church, might claim to be “followers of Jesus” but not want to be identified as a Christian (too much historical baggage with that). However, people of other religious traditions do have high regard for Jesus. My Jewish friends love when I refer to Rabbi Jesus. And Jesus was quoted many times at the Sufism Symposium two weeks ago.

In my opinion, the more we continue to distinguish the historical Jesus from the cosmic Christ, the more we can reclaim the radical, subversive message of compassion, liberation and justice that Jesus taught. And the more we can embody that message and act like we believe in that vision, the better others will be able to see the real Jesus – no matter how we end up painting his picture.

The 21st century needs compassion, liberation and justice just as much (or more) as the 1st century. You don’t have to be a Christian or a follower of Jesus to believe and live that. But for those of us who do identify as such, there’s no reason to hide it. I am a Christian. I am a follower of the ethics of the realm of God that Jesus proclaimed. That realm is as relevant as ever. And I want to be part of it.

Who’s with me?!



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