This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The ‘My Grandma’s Jesus’ Zone. The place is here. The time is now. And the journey into the shadows we’re about to watch could be our journey.
Panel One, Upper Left: This is Chuck Abbott, American entrepreneur and coffee drinker. He enjoys musing about days gone by and comparing everything to a business deal. For him, Jesus left and never came back. Jesus had been a salesman, perhaps the greatest salesman ever, standing at the “Deliveries Only” door and knocking, always knocking. But Americans treated Him like a customer and wanted to sell Him something instead.
Panel Two, Upper Right: The scene fades to a nearby beach and two young lovers, Kent and his best girl. They are engrossed in each other, as we would expect. For them, Jesus is like Santa Claus. She may as well say, “Oh, Kent! What would Santa say? Surely he wouldn’t approve!” To which he would similarly reply, “Does Santa kiss you like this?” Funny, we only learn Kent’s name, but then again…
Panel Three, Lower Left: Kent’s best girl is suddenly swept up by the tentacled arm of an invading alien from outer space before we even learn her name. Where’s Kent? Has he been crushed into the sand like a stale cigarette? Who knows? My guess is that he’s gone off to find his second best girl because this one is doomed while she bemoans her fate and wonders why Jesus wasn’t around to protect her. For Kent, Jesus is a good luck charm to attract what he wants. For Kent’s best girl, Jesus is a security guard to keep away what she didn’t want. For the space aliens, Jesus was just another “puny earthling” they ate for breakfast.
Panel Four, Lower Right: In a darkened room, somewhere distant from the mayhem caused by the invading aliens, a mysterious operative discusses plans with an unidentified individual. For them, the circumstances are simply something to be exploited to better their financial situation. Disasters drive people to finally answer the knock of Jesus on the “Deliveries Only” door of their hearts. These two want to make their version of Jesus the one that people are buying.
(Insert commercial for Dazzling Delight Dish Detergent here.)
As I wrote in yesterday’s post, the dialogue used actually told me more about my perceptions of how the world views Jesus than I expected. So how would I answer the question “What do you believe your neighbor thinks about Jesus?” Accurate or not, I probably see most people as holding to some form of Deism where Jesus is real, but remote. He put all of this salvation stuff in place, but now He’s just sitting back and waiting to see how it all turns out. Even if there are invading space aliens, He’s not going to get involved with us, so why should we get involved with Him? This may best be summarized by “Believing isn’t worshipping.” (Hopefully this would go without saying, but just to make sure you understand…I’m not saying that’s how people are, just how I might perceive them to be, and I probably don’t see people as well as I should.)
For me, understanding all of this is important because it showed me some ideas which I may unknowingly carry into a conversation about Real Life Jesus. Those preconceived notions may make it difficult for me to truly listen.
Do you remember this “What if…?” What if I assumed everyone already had a relationship with Jesus? So maybe it’s a one-way relationship and Jesus is the only one actively involved, but it’s still a relationship. What if my goal should not be to start that relationship but instead to help that relationship along?
Well, here’s another “What if…?” to go with it. What if since everyone already has a relationship with Jesus (whether they realized it or not), I try first to learn what Jesus has already revealed of Himself to them before I try to share what Jesus has revealed of Himself to me? I’m betting I’ll learn something that will help build a connection.
(Scroll closing credits.)