“RefuJesus” is Two Years Old TODAY!

"RefuJesus" drawing by nakedpastor David Hayward

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This is one of my favorite “In the Image of Christ” drawings I’ve done.

It’s probably my most popular as well.

I was informed today that U2’s new song “American Soul” contains the word “RefuJesus”. Maybe this image had something to do with that?

(I’m opening up another small group intensive, “From Passion to Profit in 6 Weeks”. There’s only room for 6 people. We start the beginning of December. Save your spot now!)

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8 Responses

  1. Jack Russell says:

    Ideas frequently spark off fro me when reading your posts David – that’s a compliment.

    You are probably going to think I am being “oppositional” and applying my “balance” with what I am about to write but if I always comment in a way that doesn’t risk that kind of response from you, can I truly be acting in a way that is consistent with being spiritually free?

    We have all seen pictures of refugees or migrants. Perhaps you have seen the one of the dead boy on a beach. It would take a heart of stone to not be moved by the plight of many experiencing this. And many of us are rising up, welcoming folks to the country and helping with integration. At the same time many coming over bring the same problems that they left with them and don’t want to integrate but rather bring about change in our country. In comparison our country is doing better than theirs and it would be more beneficial for all if there were integration.

    For people in some areas, the influx has resulted in people feeling like foreigners in their own country and even afraid to go out at night.

    So of course there ought to be compassion for folks who find themselves for whatever reason like this and this be put into action. At the same time it is rather nauseating that there seems to be some celebrity popping up from time to time with a message to resurrect their flagging career and appear to be virtuous while often doing little to help and then gaining followers.

    Unfortunately this is very complex and not as black and white as an image of a boy in a beach might make it appear.

  2. Caryn LeMur says:

    David: I am still deeply moved by this picture. The barbed wire, and blood on the mittens, even the rope on his bag of belongings….

    Thank you for reposting this.

  3. Jack Russell says:

    Caryn,

    A thought occurred to me this morning following what you have mentioned about the white evangelical church. And maybe this touches on this too – by way of empathy for others shown in the RefuJesus picture. What comes to mind is Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and longing to gather people there like a mother hen gathers her eggs but the people not letting him, in the city that “stones the prophets”.

    I’ve been thinking about your approach of blame leading to repentance in the light if what you have shared about your choice to take legal action when you faced difficulty and this in balance with loving enemies and turning the other cheek.

    In my experience in the evangelical church, it’s not uncommon for people to be down on themselves as “sinners” then talk about the need for repentance. There can be almost a compulsion sometimes in such environments to say how bad you are as in a “chief of all sinners” and a strange kind of pseudo – honour in that of false humility. And if you do similar it seems you can belong. Then there often times can be hostility to the other and hostility to self with beating self up.

    In some other circles there seems to be not dissimilarly a kind of pseudo-honour in how much of a victim you can make yourself out to appear with the other being portrayed as the oppressor and things done in the name of “equality” which oftentimes look more like cultural Marxism. And in the process causing oneself low self esteem of the kind perhaps you have talked of with low emotional credit in the bank.

    If history has something to teach us perhaps it’s this that the capacity for humanity to be at adversity with the other seems ever present. Perhaps with love and grace there would be no need for low self esteem or hostility to self. And if individuals can do that for themselves and this permeate through movements then there may be a time when the other might not seem as threatening or dragging down.

    Maybe if this happens we can experience connection and mutual thriving with others that at other times we might experience adversity and division.

    Your thoughts?

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Well, I am quite against the ‘sinner’ theology (‘worm theology’). It devastates the self-esteem of people, and actually leads to pseudo-repentance.

    Thus, imo, a White Evangelical Church would agree with me concerning the refugees, and “repent” of their “hardened heart”, and vow to “pray for the situation”. And, they would truly do just that.

    However, they would not take in a refugee family, nor multiple families, nor sponsor those families. Why? Because that is against the unspoken “NIMBY” philosophy in our American culture. [Not In My BackYard = NIMBY].

    To be honest, in 1995, I decided to speak against the hardness of the church towards a local jail. I complained. They prayed. I talked. They agreed.

    At the end of a year, I realized that I was doing the expected dance… and said, “What the hell? I will volunteer.”

    And so, I was a volunteer for a year in 1996. The only volunteer in that jail for a church of 600 families. Oh, there was one woman working in another jail; and one woman that collected food cans for the poor. That was it.

    In the US, within the White Evangelical Church groups… you – the individual – have to repent (actually turn) and do something. The institution is to busy building buildings for God, having political infights, trying to overcome the Democratic Party, and teaching there is only one True Christian World View (which, btw, is the Republican Party).

    You cannot repent if you truly believe you are worthless (a worm)… because you are always waiting and praying for God to ‘fill you and move you like a mighty wind’.

  5. Jack Russell says:

    Hey Caryn,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I find myself in agreement with you about the labelling of “sinner”, it lowering self-esteem and pseudo-repentance going along with false humility.

    I hear what you say about prayer and NIMBY. I found things not dissimilar happening in my experience while at the same time phrases like “we have got to get out of out comfort zone” and “outsiders find Christian worship and community unattractive”. I went in with my twopenny worth and inevitably got the Rom14 lecture about causing your brother distress not being about acting in love. No breaking any eggs to make an omelette there then and perhaps something more akin to walking on eggshells as far as any likelihood of change. I got to the point of not caring about the BS and letting out one or two swear words in a meeting out of frustration just to make a point and vent. So – where you talk of advocating blame leading to repentance I kind find for me, going down that path just led to frustration and things not changing.

    I hear your frustration with being the only person in a jail after praying for the jail out of 600 families. I guess for many evangelicals it is about “the word” but how will people be receptive to that unless first treated with kindness and the word being put into practice through faith with works?

    Yes so repentance or change must come without you feeling worthless and calling yourself a “chief of sinners” while maybe gaining social acceptance within evangelicalism doesn’t being about real repentance, real change.

    On the other hand neither for me has being trying out liberal or charismatic churches always worked out – all have their flaws. I tend to find things work best for me thought being encouraged and challenged with chatting with each other and sharing. Often times over a coffee or tea after a service, perhaps talking about the sermon or sharing what has happened during the week, talking about politics etc.

    For me, a good starting point is love, grace and truth – keeping things simple – whatever the environment. And having the courage to be honest even if that means being uncomfortable and risking consequences with social acceptance.

    How else can we thrive together and enjoy connection?

  6. Caryn LeMur says:

    Jack wrote, “On the other hand neither for me has being trying out liberal or charismatic churches always worked out – all have their flaws. I tend to find things work best for me thought being encouraged and challenged with chatting with each other and sharing.”

    Yes. That is where I ended up, as well.

    Although I tend to chat with believers and non-believers online, and far away from church buildings.

    Bonnie (my wife) and I chat about visiting a church now and then, but the structure of a church is built on attendance, not friendship. So… we probably will continue with our one time a year pattern (Christmas, New Years Eve, or Easter).

  7. Jack Russell says:

    Caryn,

    Thanks for sharing that about where you are at with church now.

    I was in a not dissimilar position 6 months ago. Then things happened at work in which there was a similar dynamic there with that environment not being without flaws and me leaving.

    The one common denominator in all of this is me.

    So – it was helpful to see David’s recent cartoon with the graph between social acceptance and personal freedom.

    It seems if I want to be accepted in any group I need to be considering to what level I am willing to accept limitation on personal freedom.

    In the light of that – any anger I have had with church and saying “that’s it, I’m done” has had wider consequences to include any institution. And I’ve realised that whatever flaws any institution has, if I want to belong and not be moving from one place to another, it’s not other individuals or organisations that have needed to change, but me.

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