Melancholy Jesus

Ok…so I have begun to notice how focused in American culture and in our Churches on always being happy.  One of my friends has called this the “cult of nice.”  For a quick definition it is the cult of cheery, and too happy people you meet on Sunday mornings or at other church gatherings.  Where when asked “How are you?”  Any response besides a “Fine, or Good, How are you?” is met with a strange stare.

Why the strange stare?  Why do we not allow people to be present as they are in church?  Surely God’s grace is big enough for that.  Even Jesus had moments less than happy moments that shapes his ministry.  I seem to remember a prayer in a certain garden where Jesus really had to share some emotions with God.

My call here is this…let people experience themselves and don’t push them to have to act happy.  I personally love the image of Jesus laughing and have it on my wall, but sometimes when I am down and out I like to imagine a Melancholy Jesus.  A Jesus who had a moment when life just was.  Perhaps it will be in one of those moments that we hear God all the more clearly.

4 thoughts on “Melancholy Jesus

  1. i appreciate the image of Jesus as having the full range of human emotions, and your request that we as a faith community accept, expect and allow people to be emotionally authentic in their encounters when they come to church as the Church. this requires each of us to do our own Work, to grow up! to be psychologically and spiritually integrated human beings. this requires a high tolerance for others’ and our own emotional and situational pain, and a high degree of competence when it comes to being resilient and resourceful allies for one another, so that when “one member hurts, we all hurt, and when one rejoices, we all rejoice”. the truth is, church gatherings are often not that healthy, because we the church-people come from all walks of life, having been scattered and wounded, “like sheep without a shepherd”…. Bless you, my Friend, for recognizing the need for authenticity in our social and religious encounters. likewise, may the Man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief, bring us the balm of Gilead, as One who has truly Been There… and Done That… and will not leave us orphaned, forever without a Shepherd, forever Homeless and bereft. Blessed are those who mourn, who are melancholy, who are weary and weeping… for they shall be Comforted.

  2. I’ve noticed this in any behavior that doesn’t fit the “norm.” For example when you don’t shake hands upon entering church – What if you felt moved to hug or not to shake hands at all? I would think church is the one place where we should be “real” with ourselves, with our church and with God. If not in church, where?

    Thanks Tyler for your post. You’ve expressed it in a way that seems achievable.

  3. Using our authentic voice in church …concept. One of biggest complaints often heard by me and others who work outside of the church are the reasons people don’t attend any more. Most people identify that it is a lack of authenticity that pushes them away. It’s all”feel good” and “Aren’t you happy you believe in Jesus?”… it just isn’t enough when you are bleeding and wounded by life. The need to validated as human beings is important, that’s what Jesus did. Most of us don’t get a full array of life skills and we hope that the people in a proclaimed loving environment will help us fill in the blanks. But, the authentic voice is lost in “How are you’s?” and “I’m fine” conversation at church. …Thank you for a thoughtful post Tyler. Blessings Jean

  4. It is good news when we can be ourselves, as we really are, with God and with each other. Thanks for the reminder, Tyler. It does take the kind of maturity that myparadoxology describes to offer welcome to our own emotions and to the emotions of others. That’s one of things that distinguished Jesus – one of the ways I want to become more like him. Clearly you do too! Cathie

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