Jesus Loves You! But I’ve Heard Rumors

A few years ago I began text messaging a select group of friends with random “Jesus Loves You!” messages. These were short reflections, some silly, some serious, about Jesus, what we have been told about him, the Christ that he has become, and the swirl of pop culture that has celebrated and commented on  Jesus for centuries.

I never told these friends what I was doing; they just started getting these random messages. I saw the project more as art than ministry although people said they found the “Jesus Loves You!” messages to be thought-provoking and even inspirational.

On May 25, soon after I arrived in the England for what would be a six week tour that included Northern Ireland, Wales and Sweden, I began a series of Twitter messages that began “Jesus Loves You!” My hope was to do one a day for 31 days, and I did it! My Twitter is attached to my Facebook status and to this blog, so LOTS of people got to see the updates and especially over on Facebook many people commented adding their thoughts. (You view my Twitter page here and find my Facebook here.)

Everyone seems to have their own favorite (please be sure to share yours in the comment section) and often people said things like, “I really like these, but I don’t get some of them.” Others would confess, “I have no idea what this is about.”

I tried to come up with statements with multiple or ambiguous meanings (or both). I drew on theology, church history, pop culture, advertising, my own personal religious history (yes, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues), gender studies, and word play. Much like the parables of Jesus where the listener must tease out the meaning for herself/himself, I attempted to create statements that meant different things for different people. Perhaps this comes from my experience among Friends (Quakers) where we so value the questions, the ambiguities and the many sides of a story.

So as promised, here is the series, “Jesus Loves You…”

  • Jesus loves you. But he has a messiah complex.
  • Jesus loves you, but then again he is under contract.
  • Jesus loves you! But he is high maintenance.
  • Jesus loves you! But it’s complicated.
  • Jesus Loves You! Apparently it runs in the family.
  • Jesus loves you! But he seriously needs to update his status.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s polyamorous.
  • Jesus Loves You! But does he LIKE you???
  • Jesus Loves You! But he ADORES Madonna!!
  • Jesus Loves You! Take note: Exchange of body fluids may apply.
  • Jesus Loves You! But his handlers can be quite difficult.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s clingy.
  • Jesus Loves You! Now in new Rainbow Flavors!
  • Jesus Loves You! But he may be missing a Y chromosome
  • Jesus Loves You! I hear he is sick and in prison.
  • Jesus loves you! With tongues?!?
  • Jesus Loves You! And with your tax-deductible seed gift…
  • Jesus Loves You! for a limited time only; while supplies last.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I’ve heard rumors…
  • Jesus Loves You! Or it might just be gas.
  • Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit.
  • Jesus Loves You! but he was caught up in that whole prisoner abuse scandal.
  • Jesus Loves You! He’s the Real Thing™ Now w/ convenient eco-friendly Emergent Church® twist-off cap.
  • Jesus Loves You! But he may be a little too old for you.
  • Jesus Loves You! For the Bible tells him to.
  • Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites.
  • Jesus Loves You! Act now & we will automatically enroll you in Spiritual Fruit of the Month Club. Collect them all! Operators standing by.
  • Jesus Loves You! Just be aware that he has enjoyed the services of at least one sex worker.
  • Jesus Loves You! Shocking new book for children banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!”
  • Jesus Loves You! Now Healthy Choice Jesus–sugar-free, low-carb, and no trans-fats. New formula–same savior taste!
  • Jesus Loves You! Now What???
Tags:

This post has 31 Comments

  1. vero on July 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm Reply

    Thsi is an excellent post once,i need to figure how to link it to my blog ( iam new to wordpress!),such good material soo funny..
    tx 😉

  2. p2son on July 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm Reply

    vero, GREAT, to link,
    -first copy the URL address:
    http://petersontoscano.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/jesus-loves-you-but-ive-heard-rumors
    -Then create a post in Word Press.
    -In addition to whatever you would like to say, write something like–Peterson’s GREAT post
    -highlight this with you mouse
    -Then click on the LINK option on the WordPress menu.
    -Paste the URL into the field that pops up.
    -Save your post

    Let me know if this makes sense or not :=P

  3. Immanuel Brändemo on July 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm Reply

    “Jesus Loves You! But he may be missing a Y chromosome”

    That’s my favourite one 😀

    /Trollhare Jesus Immanuel, with a missing Y chromosome

    • p2son on July 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm Reply

      Immanuel, what you are missing in chromosomes you make up in spirit!

  4. vero on July 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm Reply

    thanks paul
    i ve tried ..let see how it goes..;-)
    have a great day
    and dont forget
    Jesus loves you ,,;-)

    • p2son on July 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm Reply

      congratulations. You linked successfully! =)

  5. vero on July 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm Reply

    done ! lemme know if done properly!

  6. Stasa Morgan-Appel on July 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm Reply

    I love them all. I know, that’s so helpful! xxoo

  7. Anna Langlois on July 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm Reply

    “Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit.”

    “Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites.”

    These two are my favourites. Both resonate for me at this point in my life.

  8. Sharon Elliott on July 6, 2009 at 6:51 pm Reply

    “Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit” is by far, my favorite.

    However, “Jesus Loves You! Now Healthy Choice Jesus–sugar-free, low-carb, and no trans-fats. New formula–same savior taste!” and “Jesus Loves You! Now What???” both speak volumes to me.

    Thank you so very much for your words of wisdom and fancy.

  9. Mary Ellen on July 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm Reply

    These make me chuckle – and – I wonder what kind of love do I really think is aimed in my direction?

  10. GreenEyedLilo on July 6, 2009 at 8:54 pm Reply

    This is awesome, and again, such a different way of looking at Jesus and humans’ relationship to him than what I grew up with. Very interesting!

  11. Cmdrquack on July 6, 2009 at 10:18 pm Reply

    Some of these I don’t get or can only seem to see as negative (which I don’t really associate with Jesus):

    – He is high maintenance (a good fixer-upper??)
    – For a limited time only; while supplies last (as opposed to eternal?)
    – But I hear he’s clingy (what do you mean by this?)
    – For the Bible tells him to (it didn’t exist when he was alive… and it kind of tells us to love him rather than the reverse, doesn’t it?)
    – But he does play favorites (does he? Maybe. But emphasizing this seems to downplay his love a little too much for me)

    My favorites are:

    – But his handlers can be quite difficult (People who use the bible to condemn and judge are one of my pet peeves)
    – But he seriously needs to update his status (people just don’t get it…)
    – Or it might just be gas (horrible horrible, but I laughed…)

    Thanks for an intelligent blog!

    -James (I might see you this Sunday for Meeting if you’re still around)

  12. rhiannonproblematising on July 7, 2009 at 8:28 am Reply

    Cmdrquack,

    I’m fascinated that some of the ones you have pulled out as negative or difficult are the ones I was about to mention as my favourites. Perhaps this is because, although I am a Quaker, I don’t identify as a Christian and can have a hard time seeing the positive aspects of the religion!

    For example, “But he does play favorites” reflects for me the Christian theologies which have spoken of the Elect, thereby excluding others. I find Christian exclusivism morally problematic, and am a universalist myself, so I like this as a critique, not a what Jesus himself said or thought, but of the way his followers have understood things.

    On the other hand, I take “For the Bible tells him to” to be directly about Jesus himself. Although the Bible as Christians know it today (i.e. with the New Testament) did not exist before Jesus for obvious reasons, the Hebrew Bible did exist and was an key part of his culture and upbringing. If we take the Gospel accounts as true-enough-for-this-discussion, then Jesus knew the Hebrew texts well. The command “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and your neighbour as yourself” (which I take to encompass both a command to Jesus to love us and to us to love God and (at least) all humans) was intended as a ‘condensed’ version of the Hebrew Law and the writings of the prophets (see Matthew 22:36-40) – i.e. it’s what Jesus thought the Bible was telling him to do.

    Obviously those are just my thoughts!

    My other favourite is “Shocking new book for children banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!”” I love the way it makes us think again about the story and the connotations of phrasing it in certain ways.

    In friendship,
    Rhiannon
    (who does her Quaker blogging at http://beestonquakers.blogspot.com/)

  13. lower case paul on July 7, 2009 at 10:52 am Reply

    Jesus Loves you… but you can’t hold his hand.

  14. lower case paul on July 7, 2009 at 11:24 am Reply

    gee, now my brain is running.

    Jesus loves you… and you’re going to hell.

    Jesus loves you… but don’t expect him to write.

    Jesus loves you… and chocolate cake.

  15. lower case paul on July 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm Reply

    sorry, I can’t help myself. 🙂

    Jesus loves you… with lots of salt.

    Jesus loves you… and his father is jealous.

    Jesus loves you… hot.

    Jesus loves you… anonymously.

  16. p2son on July 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm Reply

    lower case paul, yeah, it’s addictive. I have two pages in a notebook filled of the ones I didn’t post!

  17. Sheria in SA on July 7, 2009 at 1:47 pm Reply

    The series I have been waiting for! Series? Sounds like a television series already! Yeah, like cmdrquack, I too found that gas one horrible, but soon found comfort in the ones that I loved, those that made me laugh senseless! I even went as far as sharing some of them with my friends at a dinner table. lol. They loved them and were like, “this dude is creative!”
    So here are my favourites that really made me laugh;
    Jesus loves you, but I have heared rumours
    Jesus Loves You! Apparently it runs in the family.
    Jesus Loves You! Now What???
    Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites.
    Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s clingy.
    Jesus Loves You! Shocking new book for children banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!”
    Jesus Loves You! But he may be a little too old for you (really? But Jesus’ love is unconditional).
    Jesus Loves You! He’s the Real Thing™ Now w/ convenient eco-friendly Emergent Church® twist-off cap.
    Jesus Loves You! But does he LIKE you???
    Jesus Loves You! Now in new Rainbow Flavors!
    Peterson at first I was confused and was like, what the hell….but I soon realised that at times you were just being silly to entertain and have a laugh, and sure was entertained!
    now am first to say, Peterson, bring the JESUS LOVES YOU series back! I miss them!

  18. p2son on July 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm Reply

    So I am toying with the idea of to write a “devotional” book with very short pieces (no more than 700 or 800 words, hopefully shorter). There would be 31 entries, one for each of the “Jesus Loves You!” statements. Some could be personal reflections, poetry or analysis. I began working on one yesterday and like how it is coming along. Would there be interest in something like this?

  19. Sheria in SA on July 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm Reply

    Ofcourse peterson, bring it on, good idea! I would be very very interested in reading something of that sort! I know there would be plenty humour in it; now that I have had a taste of your wicked humour. So yeah, give it a short…I

  20. Jan on July 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm Reply

    Just hilarious! Boy do I know some people who would be offended by quite a few of them! Go boy, and get them thinking. As for trying to make you an ex-gay…. just totally out of order. I didn’t think that sort of thing still went on. God will sort it in the end, don’t you worry! Not gay, not Christian, just nice that’s me!
    xx

  21. SwedishDavid on July 8, 2009 at 6:57 pm Reply

    My favourite is one that I read among the band Puscifer’s myspace-comments:

    Jesus loves you! But then again, who doesn’t?

  22. Abigail on July 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm Reply

    These are hilarious!

  23. Mike Shell on July 13, 2009 at 10:46 pm Reply

    “Jesus loves you! But it’s complicated.”

    Actually, I think this one comes closest to the gospel.

    There’s no sure way to know just what that tricky verb “love” means or requires.

    “Apparently it runs in the family” could stand for second place.

    I saw a bumper sticker recently which read: “Jesus loves you? But I’m his personal favorite.”

    🙂

  24. Johanna on July 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm Reply

    As a librarian, and a big fan of most-oft-banned book of 2008 And Tango Makes Three, my favorite has to be “Jesus Loves You! Shocking new book for children banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!” “

    • p2son on July 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm Reply

      Nice choice Johanna. Do you know that when I originally posted this on Twitter and Facebook, there were some people who thought it was a REAL book, which got me thinking–Hmmm, maybe I should write it! The world needs more books to ban 🙂

  25. Marcella on July 29, 2009 at 10:24 pm Reply

    Cool! Quaker koans.

    My favorite is “Jesus Loves You! Apparently it runs in the family.” For me this speaks to the family of names for The Mystery, of which one is Jesus.

    (Found you via aquakerwitch.blogspot.com)

Leave a Comment