‘Teddy bear Jesus’ is half right
A Catholic woman wrote the following: “As always, Christ is both astonishing and everyday; both exactly what we want and exactly what we don’t want.” I find those words very profound and right on target.
The Jesus who is loving, kind, patient and affirming of people is indeed exactly what we want. The message is everywhere: people even the worst-behaved people are seeking to be loved and appreciated. That loving side of Jesus, which even a brief reading of the New Testament reveals, appeals to us, and people willingly embrace that side of Jesus and Christianity.
But the Jesus who makes demands of us, who speaks of suffering and carrying our cross, who teaches something different from what we want to hear that Jesus is exactly what we don’t want. However, we cannot have an authentic Jesus unless we accept both his passionate love for us and the reality of what it costs.
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