I don’t really like going to church. There are some ministers who love the mystery and majesty of it all no matter what. Not me. I am so tired of the modern presentation of Jesus that I have mentally and spiritually dropped out. Week after week, church leaders use their pulpits to demand more money and more people. One would think that the Gospel of Jesus was, “Go ye unto all the world and be as cheesy as possible while collecting as much money as possible…and lo, I am with you as long as you work to become a megachurch.” There is no theological depth to a modern Jesus that is peddled about like a used car. Unfortunately, the modern Jesus won’t even get you halfway to your house without leaving you broke down and begging for help on the side of the road. Regardless of the consequences, spiritually lazy and ignorant churches are addicted to the meaninglessness of the modern Jesus. How can we expect to save a diseased and dying church with blind devotion to the modern Jesus? I have an idea.
“Crucify him! Crucify him!” Though these words were chanted at an awful time, I would suggest that this language can be interpreted metaphorically to help us kill the modern Jesus that is destroying our churches. When you hear that following the modern Jesus is about constant church growth, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When churches tell you that the modern Jesus is not political or concerned about social justice, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When you are told that following the modern Jesus is about giving more and more money to the church, you should be chanting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” In order to save the church, real Christians should be leading the charge to kill the modern Jesus. Thankfully, followers of the real Jesus are not a people who believe in death without resurrection.
I can just hear the mourning. What happened to the modern Jesus who let me be racist, sexist, classist and homophobic with no problem? What happened to the modern Jesus who let me be rich and not care about my neighbor? What happened to the modern Jesus who never challenged me? For those who wanted a modern Jesus that was just a selfish and hateful as they are, the time for mourning will be long. For those whose hearts longed for a resurrection of love in the person of the real Jesus, it will finally be time to go to church and meet him.
This Holy Week, followers of the real Jesus must be a people who work for both death and resurrection.
The Rev. Dr. JEFF HOOD is a Baptist pastor, theologian and activist living and working in Texas. A graduate of Auburn University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, University of Alabama and Creighton University, Dr. Hood recently concluded a Doctorate of Ministry in Queer Theology at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. Dr. Hood was ordained at a church within the Southern Baptist Convention. Presently, Dr. Hood serves as Minister of Social Justice for Hope for Peace and Justice, the social justice ministry of a collection of churches.
The author of five books, Dr. Hood also serves in the governing leadership of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Fellowship of Reconciliation USA, Pastors for Texas Children and Hope for Peace and Justice. In 2013, Dr. Hood was awarded PFLAG Fort Worth’s Equality Award for Activism. In addition to being a husband and father of five children, Dr. Hood also maintains a close friendship with Texas Death Row prisoner Will Speer. With deep soul, Dr. Hood is a radical mystic and prophetic voice to a closed society. You may follow Jeff on his blog, revjeffhood.com