Friday, May 12, 2006

The Coffee Cartel Meets Jesus

I know I have already given my take on the Da Vinci Code book by Dan Brown, but I read an interesting quote today by one of my favorite authors, Brian McLaren. Here's what he has to say about the upcoming movie:

We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?

While I don't necessarily agree with McLaren on many points, his thoughts on the general perception of Jesus may be right on target. I would hazard a guess that if you asked most people their thoughts on Jesus, most would talk about a guy who had long hair, wore a nice robe, and was a general all-around pretty swell guy. Conventional wisdom? You bet, if you accept those terms of wisdom.

I was in the Central West End in St. Louis the other night, and it was getting late, so I opted to drive a few blocks to a local and very popular coffee house known as the "Coffee Cartel." It was nearing 11pm, so I expected to find a handful of people at this 24 hour coffee capital. What I found however, was a beehive of activity numbering near 50! So many people sitting around tables conversing, surfing the wi-fi network, studying, or like me, waiting in line for their cup-o-joe.

So there I was, standing in this never-ending line, when a thought occured to me. What if Jesus were to come to the Coffee Cartel? I mean, wouldn't this be the perfect place for Him? In this small consortium of 50 or so were people from all walks of life: the student, the senior couple, the two gay lovers, the husband and wife. I could just imagine Jesus walking from table to table striking up a conversation, interjecting some thoughts, maybe teaching a quick lesson, or perhaps even taking a moment to share a story (insert your favorite parable here).

I don't know if you'll agree or not, but this certainly doesn't sound like a "conventional" picture of Jesus. And quite frankly, I don't think I would follow Him if it were any other way. The Jesus I know is a dangerous, authentic and most importantly, a loving God. If following Jesus means to radically throw out conventional wisdom, then just call me the fool.

I love what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:7, "God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface." (Msg) As we start a new series on the Da Vinci Code this weekend, I pray that many will begin to "scratch" the surface and begin a conversation. The mystery of Jesus is a wonderful journey just waiting to be uncovered. Coffee anyone?

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