Thursday, March 15, 2007

More Popular than Jesus

More Popular than Jesus.

Was John Lennon right?

Were, or are 40 years later, the Beatles more popular than Jesus?

I don’t think Jesus was offended.

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." John Lennon, 3/4/1966, London Evening Standard

John Lennon received a great amount of flack over these statements when he was later quoted out of context in a teen magazine in the United States. Not only did people burn Beatles’ albums, but Lennon received death threats. Similar to Jesus, when Lennon said something the “religious” folks didn’t like, they wanted to kill him, only this time in Lennon’s case it was some of the folks who claimed to be disciples who wanted to pull the trigger.

Looking at the state of Christianity in the UK today, Lennon wasn’t entirely off base. Considering some of the declining church numbers here in the US, Lennon wasn’t all that wrong. And by where I often place my priorities, he wasn’t all that far off.

How ‘bout you? What’s more popular than Jesus in your life?

The thing that penetrates my heart this morning is what is more popular than Jesus’ message in my life: Work? A relationship? Money? Possessions? Religion? Church growth? Power? Control? Sex? Drugs? Rock-n-roll?

Jesus pointed to God’s Kingdom; the Kingdom “within” and externally. He taught to seek “God’s kingdom” first; to turn toward the kingdom and believe the good news that God is near me, you, & us and to go into the world and serve... or better said, become a slave. Sorry, most days that's not very popular with me.

All too often, and sadly, there are many more things in my life that are much more popular than “Jesus”.

If I took Jesus’ message to heart, and truly wanted to be a learner or follower, I’d have to pick-up my electric chair and follow him. Sorry Jesus, that’s not all that popular, for I don’t really want to die to self (ego) or to empty my life to be God’s presence on earth. I’m often to concerned with saving myself.

“Loving my enemies”, is not all that popular. I like the idea of an “eye for an eye.”
“Lose myself”? I’m often too concerned with saving myself. Sorry Jesus, not popular.
“You will be done, on earth…”? What about what I want? What about my will?
“Serving the ‘least’ of these”? Mmmm… that’s not always popular. That’s cool as long as it doesn’t interfere with my life. Can I send a check? I’ll be happy to as long as I don’t have to dump my cable subscription or give-up sushi
"Go into my closet and pray…” Can I do it on my way to work? I'm alone; carpooling kind of sucks.

I don’t know what is more popular than Jesus in my life this morning (this post?) but I do believe the road that leads to real life with God is narrow and unpopular. More often than not I choose the wide-open road, the popular route that leads to destruction.

More often than not, there are many more things more popular than Jesus in my life, including the Beatles. This doesn’t make me bad, it just makes John Lennon right.

Imagine if there was nothing to kill or die for. Imagine all the people living life in peace. Imagine no greed or hunger. Imagine humanity sharing the world as one. Jesus was probably just a dreamer, but he was not the only one, it is God's dream too. It's just not always popular.