Wednesday, July 18, 2012
What is it with Jesus?
Something is different about that man. It is hard to argue otherwise. He has made a mark that noone else in history and claim. The mere mention of his name inspires feelings in others that are hard to fathom. The power is evident. I'm currently sitting in Portland, Oregon. Well, a hotel in Portland. We are at Stint team leader training, which is basically a week conference discussing and chatting about how best we can lead our teams next year overseas. The past couple days we've spent our afternoons downtown both trying to get to know Portland and trying to have some spiritual conversations with people we ran into. I decided to talk to this one girl that was obviously homeless and holding a sign that said something to the effect of "kindness can make a difference." We talked for a while. My heart broke the more and more of her story I heard. She grew up in Fresno. Left home shortly after high school, and began the vagabond life. She moved to Chicago, and then gradually made her way West until she eventually made it to Portland. She has no plans, no goals, and and virtually no family. She had a boyfriend who was playing a rickety old broken guitar to try and get some money for them to eat, or more likely, the money was for their next drug fix. I just began to be really sad for this girl that lived under one of the bridges downtown. I asked about the spiritual lives of people in Portland. "So, what are people like spiritually in Portland?" She immediately tensed up and a quick change came upon her. "I don't want to talk about Jesus. Just leave me alone. You should go." I tried to gently probe. Then, and more than a couple times, I apologized on behalf on Jesus and Christianity. It was obvious she had been hurt by someone who was supposed to be representing Jesus. "I'm just really sorry, I said. It seems like you have not had very good conversations about this before and that just makes me really sad. It's definitely not what Jesus would have wanted. I'm so sorry you've had a bad experience with Christians." It was as though she didn't even here me. We apologized on behalf of Christians everywhere, not for talking about Jesus, but that it was obvious she had had a pretty bad experience with the church. But the whole encounter got me thinking. What is it about Jesus? Perhaps the story is a bad example. That woman's emotional reaction to Jesus probably has more to do with her interaction with people that are supposed to be representing Jesus than they do with the actual, historical Jesus. But I still think the question remains. Would anyone react in a similar way to Alexander the Great? Or Nero? Or Cyrus of Persia? Has anyone ever had dreams haunted by Julius Caesar or Polpot? Has the very dating system we use been changed by Napolean, or Hitler, or any other throughout history? I think I know the answer. What's yours?