Well, this is what we have come to. Dan tweeted this cartoon in the last 7 days, and I RT’d it:
And in fact one of our friends at Triablogue linked to it because let’s face it: it is both funny and theologically-astute. When Jesus told (for example) Peter to follow him, straight up: he didn’t mean “watch” him, or “keep tabs” on him. Jesus meant “get off your fishing boat, Simon son of Jonah, and go where I am going.”
The point is, of course, that Jesus wants more, not just the minimum. Being a disciple is not the same as being a fan.
But the line drawing here elicited what I would call the classic tempest in a tea pot when one particular tea pot with more than one crack (the infamous Coram Deo) began accusing all involved of blasphemy because – now get this – it’s a cartoon of Jesus.
You see: this cartoon is a violation of the second commandment. The same sin which Israel committed when it raised up the Ashtoreth’s and Baals? That’s this cartoon – because it seems that all pictures are in some way graven images, and a picture of Jesus specifically is a graven image because, well, it’s Jesus. Apparently when you draw Jesus, you are doing the same thing as saying that the bread and the wine are actually God, and therefore you must worship them.
And of course we can’t have that. I mean that seriously: we can’t be worshipping things which are not God – everyone should agree to this as a premise for this discussion, and not merely in theory but also in fact. We shouldn’t pray to statues. We shouldn’t make a bull and offer gifts to it which we might otherwise give to God. We shouldn’t murder our children for any reason, but certainly not to somehow offer their lives to something which is allegedly going to give us health and wealth and (ironically) fertility.
We can’t be making graven images for the sake of worship, now can we? That’s flat out.
But can we in some way make a sermon? I mean this: given that no one as far as I know has started worshipping the cartoon of Jesus slamming twitter-sized “faith”, and no one has offered prayers to it or has otherwise genuflected or splashed one’s self with water to do whatever the water is supposed to do because of this cartoon, what if this is a 30-second sermon?
Do you see what I’m saying here? DJP and Josh Harris and Patrick Chan and myself all used Twitter to send a message in a Twitter-sides data stream that Jesus doesn’t want you personally to be a tweet-sized follower of Jesus. You should put down the proverbial net – or in this case, the actual mouse and KB, or your laptop, or your phone or iPhone – and follow Jesus.
That is: the real Jesus and not the cartoon Jesus, right? The one who actually was a person for reals and who died on a cross so that we can have forgiveness of sin and actual joy.
Not so that we can be just like the Muslims and start intellectual riots over cartoons – especially cartoons which frankly are more edifying than whole segments of the blogosphere which have never made one affirmative statement about faith or how it is lived in the real world.
You personally: I’m not talking about Twitter. I literally want you yourself to follow Jesus.