I’ve been surrounded by Christian music all my life. I grew up in Amy Grant’s paved paradise, and felt the sting of the rose Michael W. Smith sang about, as it was trampled on the ground. As a church kid, the greatest thing ever was the release of the WOW CD’s during my middle school years. Can I get an amen? At the age of fourteen, I saw DC Talk in Birmingham, Alabama, which remained my favorite concert for a long time.
Music is in my veins. My Dad is an accomplished singer, so the churches we attended always had a strong arts influence. I have personally been on worship teams since I was a teen and have served as a worship pastor off and on for a decade.
Through the years, I’ve witnessed the highs and lows of modern worship music and the CCM movement. Laugh with me as we visit some of the awkward types of Jesus we have found along the way.
- Handyman Jesus
Everybody knows Jesus was a carpenter’s son, but did you know he was also a plumber? This Jesus looks a lot like my Dad. He shows up on a Sunday morning, dressed in overalls, with a tool belt around his waist and a hat that says “Roto Rooter”. As he goes in to unclog the bathroom in the Children’s Church area, he is heard singing, “He plunged me to victory.”
- Pyro Jesus
This is typically a dude’s favorite Jesus. He moonlights at Brian Doerksen’s firework stand on New Year’s Eve, singing, “Light the Fire Again”. And on the 4th of July, Pyro Jesus prepares to put on the best fireworks display around, with Misty Edwards in his earbuds, singing, “Come be the fire inside of me, Come be the flame upon my heart.”
- Stalker Jesus
Songs like Matt Redman’s, “Never Let Go”, which portray Jesus as our captor, must be a little unnerving for newcomers. Jon Bauer’s, “Chasing After Me,” sounds like something from an episode of Criminal Minds. “There’s nowhere I could ever hide, cause you keep coming. Your love is chasing after me. It’s chasing after me.” I wonder if first-time visitors think we have no choice in the matter.
- Senior Citizen Jesus
Around 1996, Jesus showed up with a spoonful of Metamucil and a copy of the AARP Magazine, humming a little tune by David Ruis. “Every move I make, I make in you. You make me move, Jesus.”
- Sexual Jesus
For me, nothing is more awkward than picturing Jesus, coming in for “a sloppy wet kiss”. Jesus is not my girlfriend and certainly isn’t a one-night-stand.
One of the weirdest stories I’ve ever heard is from a friend of mine, during his days in Bible college. One morning during their chapel service, the president of the college was especially moved by the worship. He stood and instructed everyone in the congregation, saying, “Let’s all just raise our hands and make love to Jesus.” No, thank you.
I know He has been affectionately called “the Lover of my soul,” but Sexual Jesus is my least favorite in this entire line-up. Have you experienced the awkwardness of singing and clapping along to, “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”. And did anyone consider the poor Catholic altar boy, visiting the Baptist church for the first time, trying to follow along as the congregation sang, “He touched me, oh He touched me. And oh the joy that floods my soul”?
I also remember waiting for Marvin Gaye to show up and woo the women in the crowd, as he serenaded them with, “I want to touch you. I want to hear your voice. I want to know you more.” I don’t think this is the kind of sexual healing Jesus brings.
And now, in the spirit of Christmas and Star Wars, a homemade rendition of a timeless classic by one of Steve’s buddies.