Jesus is not a teddy bear

Jesus is not a teddy bear.

So, some of you already know my (insert nasty adjective here) feelings about teddy bears. I am not sure if it stems from a bad Teddy Ruxpin or Care Bears experience, or just my internal snark rebelling against their internal fluff. Either way, let’s sum up by saying – I am not a bear fan.

This is not exactly a popular stand – especially among my (awesome) Middle School students. I think they may suspect that there may be something wrong with a girl that doesn’t like a feel-good, warm-fuzzy standard. Like somehow I missed the “how to be a happy-huggy-clown-bear-lovin’-girly-girl” developmental stage and I am now to be pitied, if not medicated. Hmmm. Ok, if you say so! 

As our church marches forward on a tremendous initiative to shift our perceptions and execution of what it means to do church, or rather be church, I have been faced with another “teddy bear”. So often in our celebrations of the grace and unending love of Jesus, we tend to over-fluffify (yep, it’s a word). We are bombarded with images (Jesus Needs New PR) and songs (too many to link) that sugar coat the gospel and the life of Jesus so much that there is significant danger of diabetic coma. Too easily, we hide the grit that a life of following Jesus promises.

This past week in our Middle School small groups, we focused on, in part, the following passage:
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read anything in here about how much easier my life will be. I don’t get from this that I will no longer be heartbroken by all that is so completely wrong with this world. I don’t see prancing ponies, hearts, rainbows, unicorns, or teddy bears anywhere in the words of Jesus.

In fact, I hear the call to nurture our own broken heart while desperately trying to bring a even a bit of heaven to this place wracked with the pain of the fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe and cling to the hope, rescue and comfort of the grace and redemption found in our Savior ( Matthew 11:28-30 and Romans 8:38-39). But I also believe that it only BEGINS there. The rest of the story, our story, the story of Jesus, the story of redemption – EVERY STORY – is more about allowing all of that HOPE to flow out of us and into a dark, dying, and desperate world. It won’t be comfortable, easy, clean, or even remotely fluffy.

And that ain’t a callin’ from no teddy bear, people.

not even close

not even close


1 Response to “Jesus is not a teddy bear”

  1. 1 colette
    October 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Great comments so often we see Christianity viewed as a candy jar with unlimited access. What we need to be is simply a bridge to hope and all the possibility that can hold. Thanks a big Teddy Bear Hug. smile.

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