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6/04/2007                                                                                       View Comments

“Take two Phrases and Call me in the Morning.”

By DagoodS

Today, in a parking lot I saw a Bumper Sticker: “TRY JESUS! If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.”

There is so much wrong doctrinally and theologically from a Christian standpoint on that sticker, I hardly know where to begin. Yet what it reminded me was of those phrases I often heard, and even as a Christian, did not understand how pragmatically one was supposed to implement them.

“Try Jesus.”

I know how to try the No. 5 at the local China Buffet. I know how to try Para-sailing. I know how to try on a pair of shorts. How does a person “try” Jesus? Can I take a sample and see how He tastes? How he feels? Whether I am comfortable “trying” Jesus?

I think Christianity is an all-or-nothing prospect. What would we say if we heard a Person saying “Oh, I have been trying Jesus for a few years. Seems a pretty good fit, but I’m not certain I want to commit to it yet.”

And what are the steps I am to take to “Try Jesus”? Attempt to be a Christian by my actions? (Uh-oh. Sounds like salvation by works.) Go to a Church that preaches Jesus? Make myself believe in Jesus? How is it that everything that is required to “Try Jesus” is based on my works? On my efforts? On what I do?

I understand that person is just selling for Jesus. It was a stark reminder to me, that if I don’t believe in Christianity—it is my fault. I didn’t try hard enough, apparently.

“Let Go and Let God.”

This one puzzled me as to how to pragmatically implement it. Again, I grasped the underlying idea of not worrying about a certain endeavor, or sin, and to trust God to take care of it.

Seriously, though, how does one take the necessary steps to give it to God? Sure, I would pray, and envision myself handing God the worry, or the sin. And I could picture God taking it from me. For a moment there was relief and freedom. Then time would pass…and, being human, I would sashay up to God and take it back.

I thought the point was to give it to God and he was to get rid of the problem. He was supposed to be an incinerator—not a holding tank. What seemed to me (and in observing other Christians) is that we gave it to God, and took it back. Gave it to God and took it back. It was like an ATM. Sure, we think we are frugally saving money. Yet if we needed a quick $20, rather than reach in our wallet, we can pop over to the ATM.

Hey, God—if you really want to help out; how about taking it and not letting me take it right back!

“If God is for us; who can be against us?”

If you listened to the bellyaching in the churches I attended, the “who” that was against us was Hollywood, the Government, the Court System, the entire Scientific Community, the IRS, the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Heathens, and the secular society as a whole. Oh, and the Democrats.

And from the amount of whining, one would have thought that America was on the brink of declaring Christianity illegal. For a collection of people that claimed to be tapped into God, we sure acted as if God needed our help every step of the way, or all the “who’s” that were against us would bulldoze us under in a flat second.

“Christ is all I need.”

…Said the man in the Potluck line, loading his plate for the third time, while discussing his Stock Portfolio with the Assistant Pastor who can’t wait to ask him about the gas mileage on his new Hummer parked in the three-car garage attached to the six bedroom/five bathroom home only he and his wife live in.

If Christ is all you need, how come there are three credit cards in your wallet right now?

“Prayer Changes Things.”

Unless God wants you to die. Or doesn’t want you to get that job. Or wants you to be sick. Or wants it to rain on your romantic picnic.

Then the Prayers just sit there.

Even as a Christian, those phrases made me cringe. They sounded cutesy and trite. O.K. for a bumper sticker in a parking lot, but to a person who was truly hurting, they were a way of brushing them off with a hackneyed expression and self-congratulatory feeling of having done some noble Christian work.

I did “Try Jesus.” Liked Him, too. Unfortunately, I found a loose string and pulled. By the time I was done, there was nothing left to try on.

22 comments:

whateverlolawants said...

Wonderfully written- you summed up my thoughts (and gave me more to think) about those trite phrases that get thrown around so much.

Jamie said...

Well said, and, most importantly, FUNNY!

doug adam said...

This is another example of the lack of a sense of humour by many Christian Zealots.

Thank God I'm and atheist.

Cheers Mad Doug

Moonpearl said...

Yes, that is it! It is one thing to be expected to swallow some contradictions (humans do that) and trite little sayings, but the whole thing falls apart when you try to live by it and implement it!

HeIsSailing said...

I love Christian cliches! Thanks for your insight into a few of them. The public buses in my town now have an ad covering the entire length of the bus. A woman with raised hands in a field of daisies proclaims,

"Have a Jesus Day!"

I don't even know what that means. Sacrifice ourselves today? Suffer today? Maybe heal a few lepers today? Go to the cemetary and raise a few corpses today?

ehem... How about we just stand in a daisy field and raise our arms just like Jeezus did? Gotta love bumpersticker Christianity!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, oooh, my favorite is: God is not the author of confusion. WTF, over? Wouldn't he still be the publisher? Even if He doesn't do 'it.' Wouldn't He still have to allow 'it?'

Shannon

joel said...

I am a Christian, but I am somewhat like you in that I too am not a HUGE fan of these stickers. Although I am not a fan I can still see the true meaning of what the stickers are saying... and so can you.

the 1st sticker:
The idea behind this sticker is that once you "try" Jesus you won't be able to not like him. As you and I both know, the only way to "try" Jesus is to give him 100% of yourself, and you and all of your other fans didn't do that which is why doubt was able to grow inside you and turn you from God. As I said, the bumper stickers are kind of lame, but if you're going to analyze Christians based on a bumper sticker, you need to have a sense of humor.


The 2nd sticker:
Apparently you've never heard the story of Jesus dying on the Cross. I say this because Jesus's problem here (being faced with death) is a million times bigger than any problem you have EVER faced. Whether someone stole your car, you lost your job, you got a divorce, or maybe even your best friend died from cancer, none of these can compare to being crucified. God did not say "Well Jesus, that's a pretty big problem you got there, let me take that away from you and make it all better." No God allowed Jesus to endure the pain of death. God never said "Become a Christian and your earthly life will be perfect." If we "Let Go" we will be able to confront difficulties in life with less stress, heartache, and hardship because God will carry SOME of the load.

the 3rd sticker:
yea this sticker is pretty dumb. They should reword it to say "If God is for us; I hope the whole world is against us" The idea of being a Christian is to be Christ-like, and Jesus was persecuted; therefore, we too should long to be persecuted. Good observation.

the 4th sticker
I don't know who this fictional man your yelling at is, but I assume it is some type of man who has either been greatly blessed by God or is a sinner consumed by over endulging himself with things of this world. If he is the sinner, but is still a Christian than how is he different than what the Bible says we will be. The bible says we are sinners (hince the reason we need salvation). In this guy's case Christ is all he needs since he is struggling with this sin. I fail to see your point here sir.

the 5th sticker
A kid who's been working at McDonald's for 6 months asks his manager for a promotion. The kid believes in his 6 months of working he has learned the ins and out of everything there is to know about McDonalds. The Manager, who on the other hand has been working for the company for over 10 years, says no to the kid and declines his promotion request. He declined the request because he knew the kid needed A LOT more experience bofore he could take on more responsibility. The Manager is God, and just because you (the kid) ask for a raise (whatever it is you might think you need or want) doesn't mean he will/ should give it to you.

In the end you and all your fans know this stuff. It's just not fun to hear or follow. It's like working out. Everyone wants to be ripped, but no one wants to workout. Everyone wants to be happy, but no one wants to put total faith into God and his teachings and follow him fully.

email if you want to talk:
Onlywhitemnority@yahoo.com
--joel--

SpaceMonk said...

Joel: "...the only way to "try" Jesus is to give him 100% of yourself, and you and all of your other fans didn't do that which is why doubt was able to grow inside you and turn you from God..."

You've got no idea.

Joel: "Apparently you've never heard the story of Jesus dying on the Cross. ... Whether someone stole your car, you lost your job, you got a divorce, or maybe even your best friend died from cancer, none of these can compare to being crucified..."

What a crock. There are many worse ways to suffer than Crucifixion. How do you know nobody here has suffered that badly?
and what lame examples you give to make crucifixion seem so much more extreme...

"If God is for us, who can be against us..."
Joel: "Yeah this sticker is pretty dumb..."

What shall I say to this one?
WTF? LoL?
Have you not read; Romans 8:31?
Yeah, I have to agree with you on that one Joel. The bible is pretty dumb.

Joel: "I don't know who this fictional man your yelling at is, but I assume it is some type of man who has either been greatly blessed by God or is a sinner consumed by over endulging himself with things of this world."

So there's no discernable difference between an overindulgent sinner and a christian blessed by God?
Hmmm...

Joel: "...The Manager is God, and just because you (the kid) ask for a raise (whatever it is you might think you need or want) doesn't mean he will/ should give it to you..."

Another lame example.
How about a child praying that the priest will not molest her anymore (plenty of examples on this site).

Anyway I'm sure someone will reply to your post much better than I just did. I haven't slept in 28 hours...

HeIsSailing said...

joel boldly asserts:
"Apparently you've never heard the story of Jesus dying on the Cross."

Gee, your right. Over 35 years as a Fundamentalist Christian, and somehow that story escaped me. What was I thinking!? Well, that's what I get for just "giving Jesus a try".

ryan said...

Okay, I simply must chime in here and express my contempt for joel.

joel (is that your real name? You can call me isaiah) you are operating at the level of a bumper sticker. You are a silly xristian, but then, that is a redundancy. You are like every other born-again horse's ass that wanders in here--you think that all we need is to hear the right kind of preaching, and you think that you have something we have yet to hear. You are an arrogant little adolescent. Go and dry your ears and grow the bleeding hell up.

And about not ever hearing about the crucifixion.........is that your sorry attempt at a joke? I am not amused. Your stupidity is appalling.

Since you seem to be open to the idea of preaching, I will share my deepest convictions with you. I believe in no gods; I believe that jesus "the christ" never lived; I believe that the bible is history's most elaborate hoax; I believe that the gospels are a forgery. And if you believe in gods, and bibles, and baby jesus, and people walking out of their graves, then you have a few stray kangaroos in your upper paddock.

Awfully unhappy to have met you. Have a bad day.

THE ACE said...

Speaking of bumper stickers, I remember seeing this bumper sticker for sale some time ago at
a freethought internet sight:

"I like Jesus too..its his fan Club I can't stand!"

AtheistMommy said...

How about, "You'd better be right!" That one makes me want to get out of my car and slap the dumb fucker who put it on their car.

I made a few of my own, you can see them on here...
http://www.cafepress.com/ftlshop

I have one that says: "Forget Jesus? Isn't it about time you did?"

"Read the Bible, Become an Atheist" This one pisses so many people off

"What makes your god real and everyone elses fake?"

"Have you thought for yourself today?"

"Turn on your brain, turn off Jesus"

and so many more..

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Joel, Joel, Joel...

E X - C H R I S T I A N . N E T ! ! !

We've all been where you are.

Steven Bently said...

Let's see!!...Joel, the Bible God... remember?...the one who created the entire universe and evil in just six days, including over 125 billion galaxies, he himself cannot save souls...No! He needed help, he needed a human sacrifice, to die for us, to save us from our sins, you remember?...the sins that the Bible God invented and allowed to exist in the first place?

And after much thought and consideration and 4000 years later, the Bible God studied on how exactly can he get people's nasty, smelly, stinking, rotten souls into heaven?

Finally it came to him, a virgin birth savior, yes-yes-yes that's it!!! A Virgion Birth Savior, a human being willing to die for everyone's sins, God's son, God's only begotten son.... so God masturbated into a cup and handed the semen to an Angel and sent it through space to a physician certified virgin girl...The Virgin Mary, and the angel inseminated Mary one night and she gave birth to have God's only begotten son just so h e would be murdered on the cross to save us from our sins and to save us from a burning hell that the Bible God himself, created in the first place.

What a genius that Bible God eh, Joel?

Try common sense and reason, I know, you've been told it's a sin and of the devil.

DagoodS said...

joel,

I hope I did not give the impression that Christian doctrine is embodied by these bumper stickers. (Face it, if it WAS, you guys would be worshiping a blind, finless fish.) Rather that these trite statements are useless.

Like saying, “Have a Nice Day” or “Drive Safe.” Meaningless words that even the person saying them is forgetting their existence as they leave their mouth. The fact that these have a Christian essence does not make them any more meaningful. (And besides, they ARE kinda funny. HeIsSailing’s note about “Have a Jesus Day” and lepers must have made you chuckle.

Not even a little?)

If there was any point, it was that there is no pragmatic application to be found. You demonstrate this nicely by writing:

joel: As you and I both know, the only way to "try" Jesus is to give him 100% of yourself, and you and all of your other fans didn't do that which is why doubt was able to grow inside you and turn you from God.

How do you propose one “gives 100% of oneself”? You confidently state that I (and all my fans) have failed to do this—so help us out. Give us the steps by which we “give 100% of ourselves.”

I would think, at the least, this would include resources. There are people in the world that need funds to eat and automobiles to work. Does this mean that every single Christian, who gives 100%, could never have a bank account or own a car? There are elderly people and prisoners who are lonely and could use a visit. Does this mean, what with a person giving 100% of themselves, no Christian should ever waste a minute watching T.V. or seeing a Movie, or playing a game?

Or does this mean we dedicate ourselves to doing whatever God wants, and then go about doing what we want—I.e. going to the Drive-In Movie in our car.

Odd that you would state one should give 100% of oneself, and then you didn’t get the bit about the guy with the Hummer and large house. Would that individual qualify as “giving 100% of oneself”?

Further, I see people that are NOT giving 100% (not even close!) yet they are Christians. Based upon their belief, not giving. Rom. 10:9. Gal. 2:16. 1 Th. 4:14.

I fear that your trite phrase is fraught with the same dangers as all the others—doctrinally unsound, and pragmatically unhelpful.

NateDog said...

The one Christian phrase that bothers me the most is "The Bible says it, I believe it, That Settles it". This is the most intellectualy lazy prase of all (No thinking required). Also, "W for President" is annoying. We know where that got us. Now we are bogged down in Iraq, and the wall between Church and State has been lowered.

boomSLANG said...

Joel: Although I am not a fan I can still see the true meaning of what the stickers are saying... and so can you. [bold added to emphasize pompousness of statement]

Joel, Joel, Joel....we're not off to a good start, are we?...e.g., telling us what we can, and cannot, "see"..or, "realize"? I'm sorry little man, but debate doesn't work like that; the real WORLD doesn't work like that.

Joel: the 1st sticker:
The idea behind this sticker is that once you "try" Jesus you won't be able to not like him. As you and I both know, the only way to "try" Jesus is to give him 100% of yourself, and you and all of your other fans didn't do that which is why doubt was able to grow inside you and turn you from God.


Lol! WhaT?....as "you and I both know"? Okay then, perfect.....

Joel, as you and I "both know", your assertion is utterly asinine. Here are some hypothetical examples, applying your own "logic"(for those who don't agree with Joel that his assertion is asinine):

- Joel set out to try chewing tobacco because he 'heard' it was good. Yet, within ten minutes of putting a pinch between his cheek and gum, he had a headache, the bends, vertigo, and was projectile-vomiting his lunch across the room.

Conclusion: Joel didn't try hard enough; he didn't give 100% of himself, which is why he was able to turn away from Redman tobacco products, the only "True" tobacco.

Or maybe this...

- Joel joined the Cub Scouts. One day after the rest of the Den was gone for the day, the Den leader showed Joel the "two-finger salute", yet, somehow the Den leader's fingers ended up in Joel's bung. Joel told his mom and dad that being a Cub Scout wasn't very fun, and that he wanted to quit.

Conclusion: Joel didn't "try" hard enough; he didn't give 100%; he was never a "True" Cub Scout.

Joel: The 2nd sticker:
Apparently you've never heard the story of Jesus dying on the Cross.


You and I "both know" that never happened. Apparently, you didn't know that you knew this never happened, did you?

Joel:(continued) I say this because Jesus's problem here (being faced with death) is a million times bigger than any problem you have EVER faced.

Let me make it clear: I see that.... being about as much of a "problem" as you see Santa's a$$ being too fat to fit down the chimney a problem.

Joel: If we "Let Go" we will be able to confront difficulties in life with less stress, heartache, and hardship because God will carry SOME of the load.

Yes, yes, while "God" is busy lessening the "stress" in Joel's life; helping him face adversity, MILLIONS starve in third-world countries.

Joel: The bible says we are sinners (hince the reason we need salvation).

'Got it...

Hypothetically, Joel is hiking alone in the middle of nowhere. Joel happens upon a psycho woodsman. The woodsman, who is bored out of his head, decides to repeatedly bash Joel in the kneecaps with a shovel. The woodsman walks away for ten minutes, and then returns with a sign that says, "Piggy-back rides to the hospital.....FREE!!" The woodsman then procedes to picket back-n-forth in front of Joel, until finally, Joel caves in and actually asks the psycho woodsman for a ride.(Joel is a bloody, gimpy-legged mess, "hince", the reason he needs a ride from the psycho woodsman) Umm...duh?

That analogy should be crystal clear, but just in case it isn't--- "God" CREATED the very problem he seeks to have solved.

Joel: A kid who's been working at McDonald's for 6 months asks his manager for a promotion. The kid believes in his 6 months of working he has learned the ins and out of everything there is to know about McDonalds. The Manager, who on the other hand has been working for the company for over 10 years, says no to the kid and declines his promotion request. He declined the request because he knew the kid needed A LOT more experience bofore he could take on more responsibility. The Manager is God, and just because you (the kid) ask for a raise (whatever it is you might think you need or want) doesn't mean he will/ should give it to you.

Hmmmm...how 'bout if "the kid" who wanted to advance in the company never saw hide-nor-hair of "the manager"? How 'bout if "the kid" had to rely on the word of a bunch of $5.50 @ hour employees that "the manager" existed? How 'bout if "the kid" worked at McDonalds for 30 f%cking years and never got a promotion, despite asking daily....and yet, STILL, in that time period, never saw "the manager"? How 'bout if "the kid" told the employees, "the hell with this crap, I'm looking for another job"..and the "employees" said, "no, no, no!...if you quit, 'the manager' will track you down and throw you on the grill!!!"

McJesus--over 10 Billion brainwashed.(hey, is there a sticker that says that?)

Joel, may reason find you and cure you of your superstitious thinking.

Audie said...

Joel wrote: "I say this because Jesus's problem here (being faced with death) is a million times bigger than any problem you have EVER faced."

NO ITS NOT you stupid little shit! Sure, 6 hours on a cross would suck, but it hardley compares to some of the pain and suffering in the world today. If you have ever known anyone who was dying of cancer, then you would know that the pain is excruciating. And not just for a "few hours one Friday", but for weeks and months. There are a hell of a lot worse things in this world than crucifixion (remember, it was a common form of execution 2000 years ago), you're just too young and too nieve to have seen it yet.

Besides, even if the xrist myth were true, did Jesus really die? No. He went to paradise and set the "saints" free, then returned to the grave to "rise again". There was no real death involved. But hey, all ancient pagan myths need a blood sacrifice. And Jesus was just one of many.

stronger now said...

joel, Have you read my testimony?
How can you say that: "Jesus's problem here (being faced with death) is a million times bigger than any problem you have EVER faced."

I longed for death. Almost killed myself. And you say my problems were a million times less than any problem he has EVER faced.

Tell me how.


I see a lot of bumper stickers that say "WE STILL PRAY".

It always makes me feel like having a bumper sticker that says "I STILL THINK".

dano said...

Obviously, Joel thinks he has straightened DagoodS out, with his superior wisdom and biblical knowledge, not to mention what God and Jesus really meant when they talked to him, because he left his e-mail address, just in case any one needs to get in touch with a "Real Christian" for further lessons.
Dan

dano said...

Hey Joel!
Did it ever occur to you that your version of the creator of the universe is a little bit on the inadequate side, if he needs to have humans sacrificed to him?
Dan

twincats said...

The bumper sticker I love to hate is:

"Know Jesus, know peace...
No Jesus, no peace."

WTF???

Millions of people "know" Jesus. In the middle east, even! Muslims acknowledge Christ as a prophet, plus, thousands of Americans and Brits and others there are xtians.

Peace, my ass!