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???