I was driving through Nebraska last week along highway 80. I noticed that one of the farmers had built his own billboard and placed a giant sign in his field. The words read “Jesus, I trust in you.” Next to the words was a picture of a glowing Jesus with his arms lifted up in an angelic fashion and he appeared to be wearing a dress or a bathrobe or gown of some sort.
As I thought about the sign I think the farmer was trying to get those who read those words to actually contemplate them. It was his form of evangelism. It was his message to the world.
So I was divided.
Part of me was like; “Alright, that’s your message, good for you for at least trying to share it with the world.” But the other part of me could not get over a flying Jesus in a dress.
This got me thinking about Facebook posts. We all read posts that we just don’t relate to. Some political, some about sports we don’t play, others about culture of which we are not a part.
And then there are the posts about God stuff.
Some posts are blatant. Some are abstract. Some make sense while others make an effeminate flying Jesus with feathered hair look reasonable.
I realized that to some folks reading this, I’m the farmer. I’m that guy.
I can’t relate to bathrobe Jesus. In my posts, I try to illuminate spiritual realities that exist in the lives of all modern people in hopes that people are not put off by tribal language, cultural distinctions, or competitive religions. My work is focused on extracting people from their religious categories rather than recruit people deeper into them. This is because religion is the thing we see, but not the thing we are actually seeking. So I wonder just how many people relate to “nightgown flying Jesus?”
Then I thought to myself, I wonder if my posts are a sort of “nightgown flying Jesus” to some people?
Many modern people who read my content tell me that they really appreciate my approach, but I’m sure just as many feel like I’m trying to trojan horse some religion into their life. Still others are offended because I don’t use the tribal language to which they are accustomed to hearing. This makes me sound “new age” to them.
The truth is that we are all skeptical about God stuff, or at least of the God categories we don’t utilize. The term God means almost nothing in our culture because it means almost anything. Some people have been so burned and offended and disappointed by the cultural church or representation of God that any mention of it immediately causes them to be skeptical. Who can blame them? If I say “dog,” one person thinks poodle while another thinks german shepherd. The same thing happens when I say God. One person thinks Jesus, while another thinks the Universe, while another just rolls their eyes at how anyone could believe in God that science has disproven.
What message speaks to all of us?
Most people I know seem to fall into the “Do unto others” philosophy of life. They would never invalidate anyone’s message because they understand that we all get the message in many different ways. What is amazing to me is that this perspective is the heart of all mature religions, Jesus himself teaches this (Matthew 7:12). People who don’t subscribe to religion per say, seem to apprehend and apply its foundational principal. Paul speaks about this in Romans 2:14-15 when he says: “For when gentiles (non Jews), who do not have the law, do as the law requires, they are a law to themselves…they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.”
You see, we are all on a different radio frequency. Some are on the AM dial, some FM and some are on XM at one end of the spectrum while others are at another. It is not as though there is only one valid experience with truth. All experiences are equally valid and all experiences lack total truth, while some may be more tuned in than others. We all transmit and we all receive, yet everyone is only a “partial” believer of the truth. Yet all reflect some aspect of the truth that is really helpful, definitive, and meaningful to those it touches.
This is why I insist that I’ve never met anyone who was not a spiritual person. Everyone is a person of faith. Each has a religion that they trust and practice. It takes a wide angle lens of honesty to see our own biases and be open to how another experiences things. Even if it that experience comes in a night gown.
The bottom line is that it takes a conscious effort to find the frequency God is broadcasting to each of us. We can deny this altogether as some do, but then the world becomes irrational and unexplainable and life deflates into randomness which cannot offer hope or peace.
Like the farmer who broadcasts his flying Jesus message, I will continue to broadcast my message that God is so much closer than any of us have ever imagined and that if we simply follow after what we can and live accordingly, then we will grow our souls and ultimately find our truest selves who are transparently grounded in our Maker. If we get bogged down in religious distractions or ego satisfying falseness, we will never fully live. The true spiritual journey is an ever broadening experience with truth or God. Lesser truth is displaced by greater truth and consciousness grows.
Truth is the event horizon for the greatest thing in the Universe. And we touch it in every molecule and every moment. God (if you will accept that term) is closer than you ever imagined.