Thursday, September 24, 2009

The "Harlequinized" Jesus....

I think there has always been a "Romancing Jesus Movement" going on in the history of the church, but I think it might be picking up steam. The early mystics (St. John of the Cross, Madame Guyon, St. Teresa of Avila, Boneaventure, even more modern folks like Meister Eckhart, George Fox, Gene Edwards etc...) built or build upon, a type of devotional "Bridal Theology" and its sacred fragrances and tinkling sonata's are in full bloom these days.

I think there is merit in some of the sacred romance side of spirituality but I think too much of it and one's spiritual compass point becomes dangerously "me centered" or "Jesus is my boyfriend" type of Christianity.

The worship movement has promoted a lot of this "Jesus is my lover" imagery. I think in a broken and isolated culture, where individualism has eroded a sense of community and the home front has suffered a relational hemorrhage....people turn to God in ways and on levels, that is understandable, but almost idolatrous. The prophet Ezekiel was outright lewd in his descriptions of this fully grown, type of idolatrous and self focused faith (Ez 16); so much so, if I typed it here...some of your internet filters would block this site!

But another more tragic but real issue, is the lack of godly men. Let's face it, most of us married men are spiritual blocks of wet wood.

What Christian woman wouldn't be tempted to start turning to Jesus more and more to meet her marital needs. Many women are left cold by their spiritually disinterested mates and alot of that hunger is projected onto the Heavenly Man called Jesus...who of course is every woman's perfect husband.

It all starts feeling really weird and plenty of men have caught their wives in what feels like some spiritual affair with an unseen Man...who is always there, never hurts them and practically never talks back, at least audibly. He's always "listening" and they usually get to tell you what He is saying to them, because no one else can hear Him. They generate songs to Him, write poetry about Him, chatter, tweet and blog about Him and live in an ever growing bridal anticipation of His coming to rescue them from the evil dragons; and sweep them off to His castle in the sky. Who wouldn't fall in love with Him?
It's from that sincere, but often "Harlequinized" version of Christianity, that the first picture above, can sometimes grow out of.

Now I know I run the risk of offending or even hurting some who would read this, by even hinting at some of this type of stuff. Understand, I'm trying to address the over-emotional, gushy stuff that is hanging like a cloud of bad K-Mart perfume over many churches and believers lives. I reconginze that there is a legitimate place for single people to "devote themselves" to the Lord:

"The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." -1 Corinthians 7:34-35

The key word that my thoughts revolve around is that word "appropriate" in the verse above. I think if husbands were honest and men in general spoke openly about it...many would either admit the inner sense of jealousy, guilt or competition or on the other hand would confess that they have abdicated the role willingly, because Jesus is just so much better at it than they are. Both situations fail to nurture that healthy married or single lives God desires us to be moving towards.

In the end...I think some women need to end their emotional affairs and do the hard work of loving the men they can see, instead of the One they cant. And a lot of men need to reengage their spiritual lives, strip off that lazy outer man garment and become the God lover their ladies crave.

Thank God, I found a women who has beautifully discovered the healthy balance of devotion to Christ and love of her husband. God increase her tribe...the men and women of this era need a godly splash of cold water.

Oh, and no disrespect to the artist who drew the first painting, Im sure it came from a sincere place, my thoughts are meant to cast like on the subject matter I dealt with.
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