You Jesusy?

I’ve got a lot of words and phrases I use over and over. I’m just sayin’ and über are two favorites. But I’ve got a rising third word that keeps finding it’s way into my sentences.

That word? It’s “Jesusy”. It’s got such a lovely zen quality to it… no?

Slowly but surely, I’m going to do my part to make this word go mainstream. Who knows, Merriam-Webster might eventually break down and add it as a word; just like they finally added the word “google” as a noun and a verb (eg: I googled [verb] the menu for that restaurant the other day on Google [proper noun]).

Eventually I will be adored, interviewed, and given a Nobel Peace prize for making the word Jesusy überly popular; I’m just sayin’.

Okay truth be told, I’m not the first to use this term. I thought I was, but I was wrong. I’m often wrong. In fact the person who should be able to lay claim to the word is Anne Lamott, she is awesome, and Jesusy. I would vote to give her a Nobel Peace prize, but no one has ever given me a ballot.

Jesusy is a great adjective, but it can be a bit tricky to use.  Please do not make the mistake simply replacing this super great describing word with another similar but completely different adjective – “Christian”. It could be done – but it shouldn’t.  In fact I’m NOT a fan at all of using “Christian” as an adjective.  Sure there are Christian bookstores and Christian punk-rock groups, but I really dislike when someone describes a person or their actions as “Christian”.  And worst of all is when I get asked if what I did, or how I reacted, was very “Christian”.

Here’s the deal. In my humble opinion, there are huge differences in saying someone is Jesusy as opposed to saying someone is Christian. Also of note, not all Jesusy people are Christians – and certainly not all Christians are Jesusy. They should be, but they are not.

If someone is a friend to all, lives by a code of WWJD (but doesn’t advertise this behavior for attention/glory), and is a good loving optimistic person, then you might call them Jesusy. It would be a compliment. Notice I didn’t say this person goes to church.  Well, heck, I’ve noticed that even Buddhists or Mormons are Jesusy – not to mention they both acknowledge that He existed… they’ve just a couple major hang-ups on who Jesus really was, hence they aren’t Christians. On the flip side is someone who is an extreme conservative Christian, attends church religiously, is on the prayer chain, and goes to rallies to hold picket signs, or wears sandwich boards saying “the end is near” or “God hates fags” while condemning sinners through a megaphone. Okay, maybe I went overboard there, but you get the point.  They get so high and mighty in their efforts that it becomes UN-Jesusy.  A good thing gone horribly wrong.  

The really bad news is that the word “Christian” is getting a bad rap by media. I grow weary of hearing about the Christian Evangelists, Christian Republicans, and sort that do really extreme UN-Jesusy things.  Maybe it’s been this way for a long time, but from my slightly weathered shoes, it seems to be getting worse each year.  I see the newscasters wrinkle their nose, like they just smelled rotten eggs, and the sinister tone as they say that word “Christian”.  And it’s really a sad thing because the word “Christian” should mean great things like it did back in the days of Acts 2. Although, I don’t think they were called Christians from the go, they were actually called “The Way” or “Fellowship of Believers” which again has a zen-ish quality to it. So the word “Christian” didn’t do anything to deserve the bad rap… but some “Christians” did do things to make the label get a bad bad stigma. I suppose I’m being un-Jesusy by being judgmental about “those Christians”, but by using the word “un-Jesusy” to describe my terribly judgmental harsh reactions to these people and the media, I sound softer and really nice – like I don’t mean to be such a jerk who judges groups of people.

Okay, all joking aside. Being Jesusy has an air of cool… and sadly being a Christian does not. Why is that? It shouldn’t be this way, but I find on days that end with Y, it is. I even suspect that’s why some people are now calling themselves Believers (and not Christians).  They just want to run away from that word.

I admit, I’m uncomfortable with the label “Christian” that I need to own and be proud of, all because I accepted Jesus as my savior and path to God and heaven. I’d rather be called a disciple, believer, or follower (of Jesus). I’ll even accept someone calling me “churchy” (another word I love to use). Yet, staying proud of the word and label “Christian” is getting harder and harder, because too many Christians are acting un-Jesusy. They are fighting wars with mankind in the name of the scariest made-up-for-tv version of Old Testament God, who strikes down the Israelites and opens the ground to swallow them up (oh wait, that as real – I digress). It hurts my heart to see Christians taking God’s matters into their own hands. They are saying Haiti deserved what they got because some of them practice voodoo. It’s just wrong, and it twists my stomach something awful.

Just the other day I watched a video of a church group that was picketing a porn convention. They are proud of this video… I’m stunned. They held signs wielding “Youre Going to Hell” and were really mean-spirited to the people coming and going. I think they forgot that all those people are STILL children of God. My guess is that not ONE person was moved into a better relationship with Jesus by their actions that day. On the flip side, an organization called XXX-Church Ministries was on the inside of the porn convention; talking face to face with God’s prodigal children. At one point the picket-hold church group started drilling a Jesusy guy, Craig – co-founder of XXX-Church.  They made yet another video of this escapade, showing how right they think they are and how wrong XXX Ministries is by trying to show love to the lost. XXX is radical with signs and shirts that say “Jesus loves porn stars” – and they are right. Jesus does love them. He probably isn’t a big fan of their various adult industries, but never the less He loves them. My guess is that more people were receptive and didn’t crumple up and toss out a flier that was given to them by XXX. They probably even accepted hugs from the people with XXX. This group, that says Jesus loves porn stars, is Jesusy; that other group, holding picket signs and Bible thumping, feels über un-Jesusy. Both groups claim to be Christian. I bet the picketers didn’t hand out one single hug. And everyone knows withholding a hug is un-Jesusy.

In the end, I wish we all could figure out how to get along and sync up; Paul said it real good when he wrote, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:5-6

Alright, it’s your turn. Are you a fan of the word Jesusy? Never used it? How about giving it a try now with a comment using the word Jesusy – come on, I know you want to! (that means you too Matt, because you are über Jesusy, I’m just sayin’)

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7 thoughts on “You Jesusy?

  1. i once knew a lady from Californy who went by the name Sherry. Sometimes she would call herself wimpy but actually she was just being Jesusy.

  2. I wrote my linguistics seminar thesis on Christianese and its utter counterproductive nature– if the goal were winning people into the community– excellent if the goal were the production of an exclusionary discourse jargon. (Got A on that sucker btw- bragging intended– Oooooh sorry, Jesus. I’m so prideful.)

    But, yeah, I’m overly cautious about what labels I accept. It’s amazing how some of my “Christian” students think I’m the devil for trying to teach them to read closely (learn) think critically (discern) and communicate in a language that actually gives the world a reason to listen. It makes me sad. But I’m typing to much in your beautiful comment box!

    Words are just so alive with meaning! I like reading your stuff.

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