This originally appeared at Brant’s website at branthansen.com.
On my radio show, I’d just talked about the latest church-celebrity “I’m-not-a-Christian-anymore” social media post when my insightful friend Sherri asked me a question:
“Hey, did he ever mention Jesus?”
“Did he mention Jesus in his ‘goodbye’ post? I noticed the last guy didn’t, the celebrity pastor. Did this one?”
I skimmed it again.
Why no, he didn’t. It’s strange that neither of these posts mentioned Jesus, and maybe even stranger that few of us seemed to notice.
Presumably, when they became believers, these men said something about Jesus. Many of us do when we become Christians. Something like, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and we keep saying and singing things like that, like “Jesus is Lord.”
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked his best friends. It was, and remains, the question for believers, and for those who would walk away.
Who is this man?
Because if he’s the Christ, the Messiah, the hope for the world, sent by a living God, well… the rest of my complaints about church folk in my Instagram post don’t really add up to a reason to abandon my faith in Him. And if He’s not all that stuff, well, no list of justifying complaints is hardly necessary to head for the door.
Jesus is still the issue. The question stands. So why don’t they even mention him? If they can’t who they’re converting from, what was it they converted to?
And if they’re not leaving Jesus, what exactly are they leaving? The Christian stage? The charade of stage religion? The cultural currency their “faith” once bought? I honestly wonder.
This is because I’m not without compassion for these guys. I understand disillusionment, especially if their faith has largely been played amid fake fog on evangelical mega-stages, in front of adoring crowds. This is a soul-killing way to live.
I tell friends this is why I visit CURE hospitals: I need to see Jesus at work, for real, using his people. Doctors praying over patients, and little broken bodies, stitched back together, by loving hands? Yes, please. Moms and dads, crying with joy? The truth of Jesus, told and lived? Healing happens? The church doing real church stuff? Jesus’ people, acting like Jesus…?
Yes. I need this.
I have to see it, because I struggle with doubt, too. Even John the Baptist doubted, and Jesus’ response was, effectively, “Well, go remind John about all the healing we’re doing out here.”
Oh yes, I get it.
If my “faith” is about church culture, or being a Christian celeb, or politics, or Worship Music (TM); or if it’s a means to attention and significance, well… I could certainly “de-convert” pretty easily. And when I leave, maybe I’ll post all about it on Instagram.
…but then there’s Jesus. I have to know what to do with Him. That’s always been the question, isn’t it? Do I think He’s the authority, or not? If I don’t, well, I’m out. I’m not in this for the Christian movies.
I’d likely just decide to quit bucking the tide, and accept myself as my personal lord and savior.
…but wow, Jesus is compelling. He challenges the very hypocrisies I complain about. He lifts up the truly humble. He sees through posers, and still loves us. He cuts through our moral preening, and calls us what we are: Soul-sick, in need of a real doctor. He turns the tables on the moneychangers! (We love that part!)
…and then he dies for those moneychangers hours later.
Jesus doesn’t just acknowledge human brokenness and the mess we are making of things, He actually does something about it.
What are we to do with Jesus?
Pontius Pilate was asked that question. He tried to dodge the issue.
History has judged him a coward.
“Who do you say that I am?”