I have a confession. I love Netflix. A lot. We, along with many others, have shows that we watch through. So far my favorite show on Netflix is Parks & Rec – amazing. And because of our love of Parks & Rec, we gave The Office a try. And both loved it – it has, in my opinion, one of the best endings of a series.
My sister-in-law and her husband (thanks Molly & Vinnie!) recently reminded me of scene from an episode in the 7th season called “Christening” about Jim & Pam’s daughter getting christened (baptized) at church. And the manager of Dunder-Mifflin where they work, Michael Scott, required their co-workers to go. So lots of funny things happen – like Dwight trying to sell printers as a prayer request while offering a 4% discount (no Christians have ever used prayer quests for their own personal gain or as an opportunity to boast, right? J), or Michael and Andy hopping on a bus to Mexico then 45 minutes down the road they realize they have no idea what they’re doing, and call Erin to come pick them up. But Toby, human resources guy Toby, has a small but helpful role in this episode. It shows him throughout the episode trying to muster up the courage to go in the sanctuary, and after the service is over he finally goes in walks up to the statue of the crucified Jesus and says “Why do you have to be so mean to me?” Toby experienced mean-ness from everybody else, so his experiences of life led him to believe that the real Jesus is also just a big meany. Toby didn’t have any clue as to what the Bible says Jesus is really about.
There are many voices out there ready to tell who Jesus is – just a good guy, a interesting teacher, a myth, a prophet, a wish-granting god, and many other things. But maybe the most persuasive voice of Jesus’s identity is our own experiences. Like it was for Toby. Toby received mean-ness from everybody so his experience led him to believe Jesus was mean too. Our experiences – like the shame of not being good enough or not measuring up, or past rejection – often lead us to believe lies about Jesus, that he would treat us the same way.
This semester in RUF at our Wednesday night meetings, we’re going to look at the gospel of John to look for the answer to the question, who is the real Jesus? One Bible scholar said this about John’s gospel: “The first three gospels show Christ’s body, the gospel of John shows Christ’s soul.” This semester we will be looking at the heart & soul of Jesus to let what his word says about him shape what we believe about him.
RUF meets in the Arts Building Auditorium (room 2071) on Wednesday nights at 8:30. Whether you are an "on-fire" Christian, a struggling Christian, or curious about Christianity, we would love for you to join us and invite a friend to come with you.
love God. love others. love Southern.