shake and bake.

“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I'm here to party.”

“I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater. He wears like a white outfit, and He does interpretive ice dances of my life's journey.”

Will Ferrell. Talladega Nights. Kills me.

I thought about that scene a lot when I was writing my Werewolf Jesus chapter (somewhere back in the earlier archives) and thinking about how I like to picture Jesus.

“I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger.”

I like to think that He’s my best friend, someone to talk to and share with.  I like to think that He answers prayer in the same way I send it out there: absentminded and sporadic. I like to think that He is tame, meek and fits in the palm of my understanding.

Is this any more absurd than liking to think He would wear a tuxedo T-shirt?

Throughout the months of writing this book, my picture of Him continues to change.  Like a rippled image viewed through invisible heat waves, He’s there, but pretty distorted.  Just when I think I have a real glimpse of Him, something changes.

Because, here’s the tricky thing: once you actually start reading the Bible for what it is, not just a storybook or a spiritual energy shot – but a true account of life-changing historical fact, your assumptions start to look real dumb.  And you realize that God, like all truth is really mind-blowingly complicated.

Lately, I don’t know what to think or what I would even like to think.

I’ve been reading the Bible in big chunks, just trying to get a better grasp on the person of Jesus.

I read the Old Testament, where Jesus is still weirdly apart but the same as God up in Heaven and they are so, SO kickass. God takes out armies and flattens cities. He kills people when they screw up and He has all of these bizarre rules that no one can really keep up with. Not so BFF. 

I read the Gospels and imagine Jesus just doing His thing, walking down the road and being like “hey you! Boom, follow me. And you – give away all of your money. Done. You! Go get me a donkey to ride on. And you, shut up and let those kids talk to me” Not very meek. Not very tame.

Then I go to lunch with these people who pray for God to send someone to pay for our meal and He does. HE DOES. He feeds all 70 of us. Totally reliable. Totally willing to answer prayers and bless His children.  

I read the book of Luke and Jesus is telling all of these parables and basically explaining to the Jews “Hello- I’m the Son of God, the one you have been waiting for.” And they are still so confused. Even his disciples, the people he hangs out with every day, who have seen him perform countless miracles and live in a way that no ordinary man does – they still think He is some weird political liberator or an abnormally insightful prophet. They don’t really get it till He’s dead.

“I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I'm sayin grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus, or whatever you want.”

What makes me think I know Him at all?