Your Own Personal Jesus
The Wall Street Journal recently carried the story “Our Many Jesuses” by journalist Francis X. Rocca. The piece discusses the diverse projections of Jesus in culture, almost implying an inability to get back to the real Jesus as recorded by the gospels. The article reminded me of the late eighties song by Depeche Mode — Your Own Personal Jesus — in which the singer offers himself as a type of Jesus.
The article seems to overlook the historic creeds which present a unified confession of the Jesus of the Bible. One person is quoted as implying the four gospels offer us different Jesuses. While the culture might suggest a personal Jesus of our own making, this has never been the orthodox position of the Christian Church. I appreciate one professor’s response:
For Christian Smith, a professor of sociology at Notre Dame, the proliferation of rival ideas of what Jesus stands for undermines the cultural authority of them all, by feeding into the “pluralistic, subjectivistic, relativistic” understanding of religion that prevails in contemporary America. “The fact that there’s just so many voices says, ‘How can you possibly know or choose?'” he says. ‘You just pick whatever appeals or doesn’t appeal to you.”
Reality doesn’t rearrange itself to conform to our preferences. And Jesus doesn’t bow to anyone’s opinion. But he does reach out to all who are weary and hungry for truth. If that’s the kind of personal Jesus you’re looking for, the one of history, the one of the gospels, then you’re in luck. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).