Ricky Bobby and the Baby Jesus

It has often occurred to me that people look at Jesus in many different ways.  While there is some truth to each view, it is likely incomplete.  We tend to hold on to the bits we like, ignore the ones we don't and settle for an incomplete picture of who he is.  After all, you can't have a fully orbed view of Jesus all the time can we?

I decided to do a short series of blogs about the different types of Jesus I have encountered people believe in.  This isn't to make fun of or to belittle, but to point out some of the predominant views people have.  In doing so, I hope you will be able to identify how you see Jesus and maybe take a more critical approach to your life and faith.

In Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby likes the baby version of Jesus the best.  When he is asked to say grace at dinner, that is who he prays to.

Ricky: Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grownup Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus or whoever you want.

Carley: You know what I want? I want you to do this grace good so that God will let us win tomorrow.

Ricky: Dear tiny Jesus, in your golden-fleece diapers, with your tiny, little, fat, balled-up fists….

Chip: He was a man! He had a beard!

Ricky: Look, I like the baby version the best, do you hear me? I win the races and I get the money.

Even people who don’t follow Christianity observe Christmas.  They give presents and take time off of work.  They talk about the “Holidays” without much reference to the historicity of the event. In their minds, Christmas conjures busy schedules and perhaps even materialism.  The Jesus of Christmas may mean a worship service or a recollection of worship services as a child.  Jesus remains a distant, unrelated figure, loosely connected to what is happening to them.

If Jesus somehow plays a role, it is as a baby.  He is just the story in a manger a long time ago.  He never grew up, he isn’t related to God, and he certainly isn’t one who would judge the world.  A silhouette of Joseph leading a donkey, with a pregnant Mary on it’s back are the only images they may have.

This view makes it difficult for Jesus to play a role in people’s daily lives.  I mean, other than changing diapers and nightly feedings, how much of a role can a baby play?  When Jesus never leaves the manger, you get the idea that God is there, and for some reason, he cares, but there isn’t much past that.  I have talked with hundreds of people like this. They understand he is there, but it doesn’t really matter.

To them, if there is hope, it is for heaven.  God is distant and caring but detached. Like a father who is kind and good but never home.  Maybe you can relate?

Do you know someone who looks at Jesus this way?  How did they overcome it?  Or did they?

As always, I invite your comments, likes, and shares.

© Bob Fabey