Recently, several books by authors I have been reading for years have been turned in to movies. It seems pretty clear to me that the casting directors have not known the lead characters in these books nearly as long as I have. Ages before I knew my husband of 15 years, I knew Stephanie Plum, Alex Cross and Jack Reacher. None of them are anything like Katherine Heigel, Tyler Perry or Tom Cruise, who play them, respectively.
All of these films have pretty big budgets, so I trust that the producers/directors hired top-notch casting directors. I don’t doubt their ability or talent. They just see the characters much differently than I do. (My one positive nod is to the casting of Sherri Shepherd as Lula in One for the Money. Perfect!)
But longer than I have known any of the characters from the books of Janet Evanovitch, James Patterson or Lee Child, I have known Jesus Christ. I have known Him from what I have read of Him in the Bible, what my parents and others have modeled for me and how I have experienced His presence in my life. Over the past few weeks and months, as Christianity took a lead voice in our presidential election, I realized (and not for the first time) that many other Christians and I differ over the issue of casting when it comes to Jesus.
The Jesus I know would not take the passage of marriage equality acts in several states as a sign of the apocalypse, but rather rejoice that love and commitment between any two people is being honored and celebrated.
The Jesus I know would be pleased that that His people had rejected candidates who were incredibly insensitive in their comments about women and rape.
The Jesus I know wouldn’t talk in terms of “makers and takers” or speak of entitlements. The Jesus I know told us to love one another, to feed the poor, clothe the naked and visit the prisoner. He never once said they had to earn our love or kindness.
I am feeling a bit out of sorts knowing that many of my Christian brothers and sisters lament the results of the recent elections while I celebrate them. It just seems so wild to me that those of us who have grown up reading the same Book have come to such completely different conclusions about who its lead character calls us to be. Thankfully, our Jesus is big enough for all of us.
I don’t doubt the commitment of those whose idea of following Jesus is vastly different from mine. I only hope we can all recognize that far more unites us than could ever divide us.
One thing I think that all Christians can agree on is that, no matter who our president is, our God reigns. May we find common ground in that conviction and come together to work toward the Kingdom.
–Rev. Anne Russ