The Wild and Rebellious Christ

rebel-with-a-cause-copy.jpg I’m kind of fond of that pop-religious expression, “What would Jesus do?” – WWJD. I can’t remember all the times when, confronted with a moral dilemma, I asked myself that very question. And I can’t ever remember getting a wrong answer. Simplistic? Naive? You betcha, that’s me. But in reality I am much too middle class, much too worried about respectability, to ever attempt what Jesus would really do.

Looking at those habits and customs that the modern American church holds dear; respectability, responsibility, orderliness, high moral character, a good work ethic, financial independence, respect for authority, tradition and family values – I wonder how all these traits became so important among those who claim to follow Christ?

I tend to think these qualities are important as well and, when it comes to dealing with my own children, have discovered that I am a clone of my father. Attempting to relate with with my 21 year old son, I wonder why he and his generation insist upon being so confoundedly rebellious. Why doesn’t he just get it? (Just as my friends and I didn’t ‘get it’ 30 years ago). Is it because he was raised outside of the church for the first 14 years of his life? (Then what was my excuse when I was his age?)

But if someone actually followed the way of Jesus, actually did what Jesus would do, would they fit into the mold of what a good Christian should look like? For example, when we look at just a few of the many incidents in the Gospels that describe Jesus’ behavior, we can see that;

He was disrespectful of parental authority. (Luke 2: 41-50)

He disregarded established religious tradition. (John 2: 1-11)

He ignored the advice of his family and was insensitive to their feelings. (Mark 3:20-21, 31-35)

He openly criticized nationally respected religious and political leaders. (Matthew 21:32)

He was a scofflaw. (Matt 12:1-12)

He mocked religious doctrines and traditions. (Matthew 3: 4-15, )

He hung out and partied with people of ill repute. (Luke 7:34)

He and his friends were intentionally homeless and subsisted off of handouts. (Luke 9:1-5, 58)

He joined a religious ‘cult’ and then broke away, forming his own cult-like group of followers. (Luke 3:1-19, Matthew 11: 1-15)

He spoke arrogantly about his favored relationship with God. (John 8: 39-58)

He taunted the powers that be in a reckless, even suicidal fashion. (Luke 4: 28-29, Mark 11: 15-19, Mark 12:14-17, Matthew 27: 11-14)

Jesus was never respectable, never cautious, and never thrifty. He did not dress well nor did he bathe every day. He spoke his mind openly and with little regard for how others felt about it. He cared nothing for appearances and was not concerned about being seen as ‘guilty by association’. He didn’t seem to worry much about his good reputation.

He was not married, with two kids, a steady job and a mortgage. He did not support the government and was, if anything, apolitical; speaking out on issues of justice and morality that transcend politics. He certainly did not strive to be an elder or deacon of (or much less join) a local church. He was even rude to his mom and dad. Of course he didn’t act this way just to be a pain in the ass – he had good cause.

We know next to nothing about Jesus from the time he was a young adolescent until he was about thirty years old. Considering the fact that most people tend to mellow a bit with age, I wonder what he was like in his early twenties. I’ll bet he was a real pistol.

Perhaps I need to be a little more tolerant of my own son’s ‘wild and rebellious’ nature.


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  1. #1 by Christian on March 9, 2008 - 1:42 am

    I don’t think Love ‘belongs’ to anything, much less a cult. And I mean that in a very complimentary way.

  2. #2 by logiopath on March 9, 2008 - 11:35 am

    Okay-but his heterodox beliefs don’t just fall from the sky.

    He sounds like a cross between Christian Science and Quakerism, as well as plain old liberal Christianity (“Universal fatherhood of God” quoting from J. Gresham Machen).


  3. #3 by Christian on March 9, 2008 - 4:43 pm

    Well, in spite of some ‘mistakes’ that the various religions have made they most likely have hit upon some elements of truth. Just as mainline/liberal/conservative/progressive/fundamentalist Christianity has blended quite a few mistaken notions in with the truth of Jesus’ message.

  4. #4 by lovewillbringustogether on March 10, 2008 - 5:11 am

    I shall endeavour to satisfy Logio’s desire to better understand me and my views although you have done a fair and accurate job already Chris and i thank you for ‘getting’ what you have about me so far.
    I claim to similar ‘allegiance’ as C.S.Lewis is described as having above.

    I was raised in the UK and used to put on any documents bold enough to ask for my ‘religion’ – C of E ( Church of England (Anglican sort of ‘denomination)) This was purely for ‘convenience’ however, as my father was a devout atheist and my mother, while raised with some (Anglican mostly) understanding of God has a very personal ( not one to be ‘shared about’) ‘form of religion. – Very ‘rudimentary indeed.

    In my childhood/youth i was never ‘indoctrinated’ by any one form of Christianity (although this was by far the most prevalent religion around at the time). I was a fan of science ( i still am) and had mostly agnostic belief growing up and into adulthood.

    Despite this, in my thirties, i obtained a few versions of the Bible (KJV, SDA copy) while becoming engaged to a practicing Catholic and read them out of a desire to learn more about one of, if not the greatest, figure in human history Jesus Christ.

    My desire to learn and understand has caused me to read the Qu’ran ( not entirely – it’s a bit of a drag as some would no doubt describe the Bible); studies of psychology; meditative practices; books of EB Szekely concerning the early life of Jesus as well as the Gospel of the Essene Peace and the Tree of Life; briief diversions into Kabbalah, which offers a very different understanding of the Tree of Life to that of the Essenes; attending Bhuddist meditations/lectures as well as attending original Gnostic teachings and seminars; and more besides.

    My views are an amalgam of all that i find that contains Truth from those sources and directly from God as he ses fit to allow my intelligence to construct a self-consistent ‘big picture’ ( that is in constant expanse as understanding improves).

    I hope that helped some?

    I am always happy to help others understand the sources of my constructions that make such sense to me and the way i live my own life but which i fear are often of limited use to other’s understandings/perspectives.

    I tend to think that Dogma is never to be preferred over personal inspection and testing of the basic philosophy behind it hence i am somewaht lax to adopt one particular religion as containing ‘the Ultimate truth’ for ALL mankind and for me in particular.

    You are free to differ providing you can mount a reasonable defence of your own belief that relies upon personal experience and not just what someone else says is ‘the way it was/must be/God wants’.

    I agree with Christian as regards major religions/schisms from them – mistakes were made along with a degee of truth.

    As a personal ‘creed’ i would subscribe to the idea of doing, as far as is humanly possible, as Jesus chose to do as His ‘philosophy’ (brotherly/sisterly love) is one that i find has great personal appeal.


  5. #5 by ric booth on March 10, 2008 - 9:25 am

    Love, umm… wow. Well, this means I probably won’t understand you most of the time because I think we intersect only on the Bible / Jesus. Which is a good point of intersection to say the least. Thanks for this peek into your history and mind.

  6. #6 by Conway Costigan on March 18, 2008 - 8:01 pm

    We are all controlled, by re-enforcement of rules, passed by those, who are merely the tools, of a system, where achievement is based, on deceit of the masses, by someone in whom they believe,
    we are all controlled, by our thoughts and actions, and things we were told, by passed generations, of parents who used to rebel, just the same as we do now, so who gets the blame,
    we are all controlled-we are all controlled.

    Not so much the words but more the feeling of this, something familiar, just thought it tied in with the rebelling youngster issue, still feel the same at 37!

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