Many claim they are true followers of Jesus while fighting over who is a real Christian and who is a pretender. Which Jesus is the best? The arguments devolve around who exactly they believe Jesus Christ is (or was). One blogger for a High Demand Religion recently tried hard to make the case that he alone knew what Jesus would and would not approve of. However, his Jesus sounds nothing like the Jesus I’ve heard others brag about. If you listen to the different Jesus camps long enough, you’d think they were talking about different guys.
A Flock of Jesuses
Thousands of years ago, a tiny baby was born in the Middle East. This kid grew up and started attracting the same type of super fans that the Grateful Dead would later enjoy. He toured to record crowds and gave amazing performances that people still talk about. When his last show ended and the curtain came down on his Live From Golgotha tour, the stunned crowds were silenced. His entire life’s work looked like a total failure. He kept his fans waiting three whole days before taking the stage again for his encore. This is when he became a legend. His lyrics were cribbed and copied by hand at first. When Gutenberg invented mass media, his teachings exploded onto the global market. As no bootleg of the Sermon on the Mount has survived, some creative license regarding what Jesus actually did do and say was probably taken. Today, Jesus Christ is a super star with over two billion fans. Pictures of him on Facebook get way more likes than Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Tiny Tim combined. All this fame and glory has a dark side. Just like Deadheads, Christians love to claim their version of Jesus is correct and they alone get to call themselves Christians. The resulting mass explosion finds more than 10,000 different Jesuses out there being worshiped. Here is a quick run down on some of the more popular ones.
Many fans claim Bible Jesus wasn’t a solo act. He was lead singer for a trio called The Holy Trinity where God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not separate yet co-equal and together the same in their uniqueness. For them, if you deny this convoluted truth, you can’t call yourself a real Christian. If you do, they still won’t call you one and they’ll bully you on the religious playground until you drop the claim. Bible Jesus is pretty hard core about his super divine nature. His groupies created lots of special extra days to prove it. Besides Easter, they rock out with Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday. This only leaves rainy days and Mondays for the rest of the lesser so-called Christians. You’ll find Bible Jesus hanging around most old-time churches looking sad and trying his best to guilt you into following him.
This Jesus is a lot like Bible Jesus except he has a gym membership. He often drapes US Flags around his rigid roid rage muscles. Murica Jesus knows how to field strip an AK-47 and sleeps with a .45 under his pillow. He thinks the Constitution should be pasted into the New Testament right after the Book of Revelations. Ironically, Murica Jesus doesn’t like other people from the Middle East and would love to keep them out of his country. He shows up for NASCAR and most Super Bowls. When your team wins, it is only because he was there pulling for them. If you need a designated driver, he will gladly take the wheel of your 4×4 and get you home safely. Murica Jesus is almost always found in social media memes that you must like. If you don’t, it’s hell time in the afterlife for you.
Super Model Jesus
Hot and young Super Model Jesus is the newest kid on the block. He looks like he could be in an underwear ad. His soft dreamy eyes and coy smile seductively sell Christianity Lite. All the salvation, none of the guilt. You just have to believe in Super Model Jesus and you are part of his posse. He obviously has had some work done because he’s about a foot taller than Bible Jesus and his skin is incredibly white. He looks like the lab creation of a German scientist hiding in Brazil. He usually shows up in big glossy framed photos around your house, sometimes with inspirational cat-poster phrases on them in flowing script. If there are more pictures of Super Model Jesus on your walls than of you, do not try to kick him out of your marriage. That’s a good way to find yourself single with Super Model Jesus becoming your kid’s new Step Daddy.
Jehovah’s Witness Jesus
This guy is not a Jesus you want at a party. He insists that everyone calls him by his long name, Jee-hoe-vah. Match the cadence of Samwise Gamgee saying Poh-Tate-Oh in Lord of the Rings and you’ll have found the perfect respectful speed. Jehovah’s Witness Jesus is easily saddened. If you want to celebrate his birthday, this makes him sad. If you want to celebrate your birthday, this makes him sad. If you send your kid to Chuck E. Cheese for another kid’s birthday, this makes him sad. You want to read Harry Potter or play with Wizard toys? You guessed it, unhappy Jehovah. If all the Jesuses were characters from Winnie the Pooh, Jehovah’s Witness Jesus would be Eeyore. He just kind of mopes around Christianity being a buzzkill. The only thing that makes Jehovah’s Witness Jesus happy is when his followers canvas your neighborhood trying to convince you to give up your pagan Christmas tree and all those presents. If you want to resign your membership in the Jehovah’s Witness Jesus fan club, be sure to say goodbye to your family first. You’ll probably never see them again. Not even on your birthday.
Hands down, Scientology Jesus is the coolest Jesus of all. He goes by the earthly name of Tom Cruise. Like you, he is an immortal spiritual being called a Thetan who was thrown into a volcano billions of years ago. Scientology Jesus is a lot shorter and merrier than Bible Jesus and grins constantly. He wants you to enjoy all the normal Christian holidays but has lots of extra holidays for you to celebrate. You’ll have fun on L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday in March or the Anniversary of the first publication of Dianetics in May. Sea Org Day rolls around in August and Auditor’s Day in September is quickly followed by the International Association of Scientologists Anniversary in October. Scientology Jesus does require you to sign a legal waiver before you commit to your first billion-year contract. You also get to overpay for some Radio Shack electronics hooked to old soda cans. Scientology Jesus really frowns on you not going to see one of his movies on opening weekend. Also, never, ever, ever mention Leah Remini to him.
Another name for this Jesus could be CEO Jesus. He’s a couple hundred years older than Super Model Jesus but a lot younger than most of the other Jesuses. This kid has got his own ideas on how to run things including pretty strict grooming standards for anyone attending his schools. Bible Jesus knew weddings could be awkward and uncomfortable so he lubricated the guests by turning water into wine. Mormon Jesus loves weddings to be awkward and uncomfortable and doesn’t even allow an open bar. He excludes anyone who isn’t worthy, where worthy really means obedient. Even Mother Teresa, a person who devoted her life to Christ-like service, is not worthy enough for Mormon Jesus. Like any good captain of industry, this Jesus knows how to cut costs. He fired all his janitors so his super fans could clean his toilets for free. He seems overly paranoid that treating gay people the way Bible Jesus said you should would somehow diminish the tight hold he has on the daily lives of his mostly straight followers. President Mormon Jesus is also super sensitive about not being considered a real Jesus by all the other Jesuses. They could point out it isn’t cool to murder millions of people in a new world just before showing up with a message of peace. Mormon Jesus would just change the topic quickly and claim he should be called a real Jesus because he feels, in his heart, like he is a real Jesus. When it comes to belief, feelings, not facts, matter the most to Mormon Jesus. When it comes to business, then its the bottom line that matters most. It isn’t clear if Mormon Jesus also gets the modest $500 daily stipend that he pays his top executives for telling people not to work on Sunday, while they work on Sunday.
He is a tough guy to find because he’s usually hanging out in coffee shops. He sports the RayBan Wayfarer glasses and has trimmed the locks back into a man bun to match his skinny jeans. He only walks on water when he absolutely needs to. He jokingly refers to himself in his slam poetry as Zombie Jesus. Hipster Jesus has a screenplay he’s trying to get produced and enjoys museums and cactus gardens. He is all about the couch surfing and loves to just chill and talk about Russian authors. He’s not bad at chess but really likes Mahjongg. He’s not into the whole “having followers” scene but doesn’t mind that other Jesuses are into that. He does have followers, they just won’t be found in a traditional brick and mortar worship space. Their church is the outdoors. They can be found on Sunday mornings hiking in the mountains, relaxing on the beach or antiquing up the coast. Hipster Jesus is a huge fan of The Big Lebowski and loves to point out things that really tie a room together. He has tons of Internet memes that are lot funnier than the ones Murica Jesus loves. Google them and see. If Hipster Jesus shows up on your Tindr, swipe right and you’re sure to have a lot of fun.
There is also Muslim Jesus, Hindu Jesus and Jewish Jesus but they all just seem to be different names for the most interesting Jesus of all. Atheist Jesus makes absolutely no claims to divine origin or authority. He’s just a guy from back in the day, wandering around an area that had more conflicts than the Kardashian dinner table. If he were still alive, he’d be mildly amused at all the super hero powers he was given in the New Testament. Walking on water, raising people from the dead, flying down from the sky, immortality, these are all things that Atheist Jesus never did. He had a theme that was unique to his time. All around him people were fighting each other, politicians were oppressing everyone, there were earthquakes, people had bad body odor and there was a general feeling that everything was horrible and it was all going to end soon. Not like the enlightened times we live in today. He just kind of went from town to town asking people to be nice to each other. People followed him because he preached love and acceptance. His Atheist fans today still agree with him on that. They see no problem in celebrating the birth of this great philosopher or mourning his death. They don’t even ask anyone to call them Christians yet are the most hated of all the Jesus fans.
Let Your Lights So Shine
Whatever Jesus campfire lights your world, you could actually do your Jesus a big favor. Stop Christ-shaming others. Maybe your Jesus could body slam my Jesus back to the Garden of Eden. So what? Acting high and mighty betrays the common theme that all the Jesuses share. You should not treat people as inferiors because they don’t Jesus the way you do. You don’t even reach the first rung of Christianity just because you like a Jesus or his name happens to be on your church. You become a Christian by acting like whatever Jesus you happen to believe in. If you demand that others call you Christian, then you should act like it and not ostracize, excommunicate and isolate those who used to share your faith. If you open your mind just a little more, you may realize there are a lot more Christians than you ever imagined. Your Christ may not be my Christ but we are still humans and can unite over loving each other, forgiving each other and trying our hardest to be nice. There are even many Deadheads that also follow Jesus. My Jesus would feel totally at home at a Grateful Dead concert. With his long hair and sandals, he could even be the opening act.
Can we agree that we can all try a little harder to make our homes and churches places where any Jesus, or any follower of any Jesus, would be truly welcome, accepted and loved? After all, that is exactly what our Jesuses would do.