Rereading JB Phillips's Your God Is Too Small, I was struck by certain passages in the chapter under Unreal Gods. IV: Meek-and-Mild. I think I will post on the book as a whole soon, with quotes from that chapter. It's 50-60 years old but still apropos. In the meantime...
There is a type of sentimental Jesus, always cuddling lambkins, patting children on the head, smiling and waving at the donkeys from his manger, getting crucified without a lot of blood. Lord knows there are plenty of actual Christians who photoshop this guy into unlikely scenes or paint pictures of him faintly radiating onto the hushed crowd around him. Certainly, he is very popular with ex-Christians, cultural Christians, church-raised, etc. He's sort of annoying, but he is at least based on a true story. Or so I thought, thinking him relatively harmless, just sort of unfocused.
Today I am not so sure. He may be one of the most dangerous Jesus's out there. It has dawned on me that unbelievers insist that this is the Jesus we Christians should believe in. Any attempt to move to the more alarming Jesus is treated as an evasion. He said "Let the children come unto me." Therefore, we should not send 14-year-old illegals back to Oaxaca. Jesus says so. He said "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Therefore, everyone should have health insurance. Jesus says so. He said "Judge not, lest you be judged," therefore gay marriage is acceptable. Jesus says so.
Every age has its own illnesses and healths, strengths and weaknesses. Leaning too far out one side of the boat, in screaming accusation that someone else has once fallen out the other side, also results in drowning.
Please do not answer impulsively. This is a smart, thoughtful group who can grasp the easy explanations immediately. Why this Jesus? Why is this Jesus so popular now?