Thursday, February 2, 2012
Dear reader, your first reaction to the above image may be the result of a generational divide in Lutherdom. Some may first notice a Lutheran church promoting itself with the image of a 'Sacred Heart' of Jesus. Others may notice it's merely a figurine caricature. Others still may recognize the image as "Buddy Jesus" most often used as an internet meme to mock Jesus Christ and His Church.
The card itself (the obverse and reverse shown above) was conspicuously left in a business waiting area. When I first glanced at it from a distance, I recognized the posture of "Buddy" Jesus and assumed it was an atheist/anti-Christian screed. I picked it up intending only to throw it in the trash — just like I'd have done with Watchtower or LDS tracts —, to protect tender Christians who may be stumbled by whatever text would accompany the current favored meme to ridicule Jesus on the fallen world's internet.
The caricature originates in the movie "Dogma" starring George Carlin. Suffice to say, the movie is not an apologetic for sound Christian doctrine. In the movie, a church decides the usual picture of Christ — slain for our sins, dead on the Cross — is too off-putting to get people to come to church. So the priest decides to make up his own Jesus based on what he wants Jesus to be. The script-writers (thinking themselves clever) aren't mocking the Christian Church, but unwittingly, just the Church Growth Movement.
The Northern Wisconsin District convenes in June leaving four months for laity (half of the Voters assembling) to contemplate a few questions. Whether Mittelding (aka "Adiaphora") really means 1) purposefully grinding the Lutheran school bus along the guardrail overlooking the rocky precipice while enthusiastically shouting, "As long as we don't actually drive off the cliff, we're just fine!"; or 2) safely keeping the flock on the well-worn path toward the verdant pastures. Similarly, is it scripturally defensible to seek numerical and spiritual growth by fertilizing our doctrine with practices from Zondervan Publishing's Augean stable of heretics like Rick Warren or Craig Groeschel?
Despite a half-millennium of sound, encyclopedic Lutheran exposition, who in our Synod teaches that mocking Jesus, "as long as it draws a crowd", is an adiaphoron? I'd like a name.
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