Making Jesus Relevant!

Posted by TJ Klapperich on 09/30/2008

Recently, as I was driving home, I saw an interesting bumper sticker.  In large letters was the word:  RELEVANT.  Next to the word was a traditional picture of Jesus and underneath both of those was a phrase about Jesus being RELEVANT to our lives.  I found this very ironic.  Proclaiming the relevance of Jesus on a bumpers sticker seems to be a case of the medium contradicting the message.  Nothing of real importance is ever really said on a bumper sticker.  A bumper sticker is a place to declare one's preferences for brands (Apple or Oakley), politicians (Obama or McCain), and causes (Free Tibet).  No serious discourse or ideas are or can be communicated through bumper stickers.

To declare the relevance of Jesus on a bumper sticker is to place Jesus in the same category as an iPod or a politcal campaign-–I always find it humorous to see a car with a Kerry/Edwards 2004 sticker still applied to the bumper.  When the latestest iPod comes out, the old ones are irrelevant.  When a political issue becomes passé, the bumper stickers declaring support for ERA become a cultural relic.  To put Jesus on a bumper sticker does the same thing.

What our culture lacks is not religion, but a view of a transcendant God that is changeless.  There is a lot of God talk in our culture, but most of it has romantic overtones or comsumerist overtones.  I have always felt a bumper sticker declaring, "Real men love Jesus," was too open to interpretation to be really understood by the culture at large.  How many men have read that sticker and thought it had some romantic overtones?  Or how many bumper sticker messages present Jesus as the product that meets my needs rather than the God whom I can only approach on his terms?  The greatness of God is lost on our culture, and as well-intended as these kinds of bumper stickers may be, they misconstrue God as a product or cause to be traded for the next fad.  The transcendence of God cannot be communicated in bumper sticker form and that transcendence is exactly what makes God eternally relevant.

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, 'Great is the Lord!'"     Psalm 40:16