The parking lot was filling up as we pulled in. Someone quickly pulled in front of us, as the spotted an open parking spot. He wanted to beat us to the open spot. In short, he was being a jerk. We went a little further away to park. No problem, but it got me thinking.
His rudeness was the garden variety, nothing to comment on except we were pulling into our local megachurch, Real Life. Now I know you probably thinking I am going to shred the church, but other that moment, we had a pleasant time. I like the sermon, the music, and the general atmosphere. We were there to see a friend dedicate their son to God. I meditated on the service, and thought of a new ministry to start. I missed our church, but it had more to missing my family, than anything I saw.
When you attend another church, it is hard not to be a mystery shopper or mystery worshipper. The temptation is to evaluate the sermon, (agree/disagree) the music, (good/bad) the people (friendly/cold) and whole experience (thumbs up/down). To do so is in reality to become a jerk toward the church. It is like being invited into someone’s house only to criticize the furniture. I felt the tug to stand aloof, while as I entered into prayer, I felt the call from God to just to listen to him through the way Real Life worship him. I came to face my own jerkiness.
One of the founding insights of Christian Anthropology claims that we are all sinners. That human beings all fall short of the glory of God is so repeated in Church as to be ignored out of overexposure. I hand recently wrote a piece on how many economists did not account for human nature. If I had translated the word sinner into a word we could more relate to and not ignore, I would use the work Jerk. All people apart from God are jerks, (including me) and then I realized the church could be characterized as Jerks for Jesus.
I started realizing I could start a ministry that could use these images. “Yes, I am a jerk, petty mean and judgmental, but I know that Jesus still loves me.” Jesus’ love helps me transcend my jerkiness. I shared my thoughts that night with my Bible study, and they too could identify with being jerks. So is what the church is Jerks for Jesus? Are Christians simply jerks for Jesus? What do you think?