(I was surprised by the reaction to the phrase, “Jesus Juke.” People emailed me t-shirt designs, it got turned into a hashtag on Twitter, #JesusJuke, and became something I actually say in conversations, e.g. “The guy just juked me.” I didn’t expect that to happen, but let me clear up one misconception. Don’t confuse a rebuke with a Jesus Juke. One in does in love and causes change, one is done in pride and causes shame. They’re antonyms not synonyms. Thanks for all the great comments the first time around on this one!)
The Jesus Juke
Weird things happen to me when I fly. If you followed me on Twitter you would know this because I tend to have “tweet explosions,” when I’m at airports.
Last Sunday morning, as our plane lifted off the ground, the person behind me started to play what sounded like a pan flute. Just as we began to soar above the clouds, we were greeted with a Zamfir melody from what I can only assume was some sort of satyr. In his defense, the flight attendant did not say, “Please return your seats to their upright position, carefully stow your carry on luggage and put your pan flute back in its elk skin satchel.” He had every right to play that beautiful wooden instrument and play he did.
At another airport I went to, a humongous bodybuilder spent his time in the terminal doing ferocious push ups right beside me. I tweeted about it and folks told me to prove it with a photo. Not likely. One of my rules for twitter is never snap photos of people who can snap you. And this guy could have broken me in half like a thin blogger branch.
But in all the responses from people asking me questions about the terminal B2 bodybuilder, one stuck out. It was different than the rest, but is something I am growing familiar with.
I call it the “Jesus Juke.”
Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.
In this particular case, when I tweeted a joke about the guy doing pushups, someone tweeted me back, “Imagine If we were that dedicated in our faith, family, and finances?”
I was fine with that idea, I was, but it was a Jesus Juke. We went from, “Whoa, there’s a mountain of a man doing pushups next to the Starbucks at the airport,” to a serious statement about the lack of discipline we have in our faith and our family and our finances.
I don’t know how to spell it, but in my head I heard that sad trumpet sound of “whaaaa, waaaa.”
And that wasn’t even a bad Jesus Juke. I didn’t mind that statement at all. That guy seemed fine. I’ve heard much worse. I once tweeted about going to see Conan O’Brien live and how big the crowd was. Someone wrote back, “If we held a concert for Jesus and gave away free tickets, no one would come.” Whaaa, waaaa.
Chances are you’ve experienced this. Someone pulled the Christian version of the Debbie Downer, they threw out a bit of Jesus Juke on you. If you have, or even if you haven’t, there are three things we all need to know about this particular move.
1. It generates shame.
The Jesus Juke is a great way to tell a friend, “I wish you possessed the uber holiness I do and were instead talking about sweet baby Jesus in this conversation.” It’s like a tiny little “shame grenade,” you throw it into an otherwise harmless conversation and then watch it splatter everyone in guilt and condemnation.
2. It never leads to good conversation.
I’ve been Jesus Juked dozens of times in my life and I’ve never once seen it lead to a productive, healthy conversation. You might think it will before you juke, but what usually happens is just raw amounts of awkwardness, similar to how I felt sitting in a theater watching the Last Airbender.
3. I’ve never met someone who was “juked to Jesus.”
I once tweeted, “No one’s ever said: ‘The way you bitterly mock other Christians helped me begin a life-changing love of Jesus’ (Be kind).” I wrote that because I wanted to remind us that our jerkiness never led folks to Christ. I don’t think our jukes do either. I don’t really see it as a conversion technique. It’s more of a conversation killer technique.
I hope we all keep talking about Jesus. I hope we talk about him lots and lots. I hope he defines our life and conversations. But if I tell you that when it comes to My Little Pony, I tend to prefer Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie and that Toola Roola has been riding their coattails for years, please don’t respond, “You know who created ponies? Our Lord God did, that’s who.”
Has anyone ever pulled a “Jesus Juke” on you?