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“I don’t like my Jesus”

John Hearn led a group of world racers that Karen and I coached. When we’d rendezvous with the squad in some obscure place in the world and ask how he was, his transparency was refreshing. He’d say something like, “I’m a hot mess.”   And he was. Working through his understanding of  w…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
John Hearn led a group of world racers that Karen and I coached. When we’d rendezvous with the squad in some obscure place in the world and ask how he was, his transparency was refreshing. He’d say something like, “I’m a hot mess.”
And he was. Working through his understanding of  who Jesus is and his own culturally-defined identity was hard work.
Having been a church pastor, John had seen enough of American Christianity to struggle with the contrast he saw overseas. I’ve excerpted some of his final blog (and a rap). To see the rest of it, go here.

I’m not going to lie…being back in the States is hard.  Like a vampire
exposed to light, I’m finding it difficult to adjust to my new
surroundings.  I feel blind at times as I carefully feel my way around
this unfamiliar world.

Life is different after The Race. 
America is different after the race.   People have changed. Heck, I have
changed.  My dog has expanded in girth and my mamaw has decreased in
height.  Friends have new husbands, new wives, new babies, new lives. 
Familiar faces have passed away and strangers have entered the picture. 
I feel more homeless in my own bed than I ever did sleeping on a bus
station floor in Asia.  

My world has changed.

It’s no longer acceptable to wear the same clothes 4 days in a row.  
I have actual choices as to what I’m going to eat for dinner.
I am overwhelmed by the luxuries of America.
I have to work harder to find peace.  
I no longer have orphans tugging on my clothes.
The war against mosquitoes has ended.
I no longer like my Jesus.

There I said it…. I DON’T LIKE MY JESUS….

After living in the bush, loving on orphans, befriending prostitutes, and baptizing the nations, my Jesus has been UNVEILED, DIVULGED, EXPOSED….

My Jesus is a FrAuD…

I Don’t Like My Jesus

After returning from the race it was my revelation, that I worshiped a God with a false reputation.

The truth is that Jesus is like nothing I heard, in fact everything above is completely absurd

I was worshiping a Jesus that man had created – a Jesus that was dead and completely outdated.

I put him in a box, a prison of his own, and knocked my King down from his heavenly throne.

The Jesus in the Bible is not to be confined by pages, as he has continued to save throughout the ages

He came down from heaven to this earth we are in, and defeated the enemy we know as sin.

If he walked into your church on this very day, I’m sure some of you righteous would shew him away

To most Christians he would appear as a total stranger, maybe raise some red flags as you think you’re in danger

Because he wouldn’t be adorned in His Sunday best – that suit and that tie with that outlandish vest

His smile sports dirt, dust, and a little mud, you better protect your carpet before he stains it with blood

You can’t categorize him as black or white, and no matter how much you wanna be right

Jesus is not a man who chooses one over another, because he loves us all regardless of color.

This man known as Christ is not bound to a church, instead he’s out continuing the search

Because safe doesn’t describe Jesus by any means, because the REAL Jesus redefines the American Dream.

Comments (10)

  • Pure raw truth. I am humbled by this. I have not experienced what this man experienced. Yet in my world here in the USA I struggle with this Jesus I have. I feel so discontent. Help me Lord.

  • John is yet another wrecked soul standing humbly in Gods trophy case of the remnant on the rise. This gives me hope of that reality anyway.

  • I deal with the public every day and it’s so easy to become hardened. I really needed this. Thanks so much Seth

  • Everyone I’ve ever known who has worked or lived overseas has said that it’s a much harder culture shock transitioning back into 1st world living. And that they long to go back.

  • John,

    As I felt your heart today, this too is something I struggle with. NO, I FIGHT it almost constantly! At 54, and having pastored and been involved in ministry of some sort since the day I said “I will follow you”, I have not been the same.

    And especially being involved directly in the third world, I AM A NOW A FREAKING WRECK! But you know, that’s a good thing! I am with you brother.

    “Come Lord, and come quickly. Anoint us for this hour…”

    Bless you my friend.

  • Ahhh you gotta love that reverse culture shock. I’m trying to ready myself for a fall sabbatical after 9 years on the field serving in 2 particularly difficult countries. Not burned out, per se, but definitely weary and in need of some rest & re-tooling. But let me tell you I’m not looking forward to the U.S. culture wars and being immersed in USAmerican Christianity which, like John discovered, has a tendency to be shallow and annoying. But God’s doing quite a lot in the USA and, all things considered, I’m pretty encouraged by what I see with the “under 30 crowd.”

    For those who’ve spent considerable amount of time outside the USA and have returned, I say “Be strong & courageous!” and “Keep the Band of Brothers/Sisters strong” – don’t isolate yourselves but stay in touch with your band of bros, sistas from the field and, while it’s ok to gripe & complain abt the USA (it’s a natural stage of reverse culture shock & actually healthy to a degree) don’t wallow there. Move on and let your experiences overseas propel you forward to great deeds and deeper relationships. Blessings to all of you who are in that place.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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