Argh! I’m disgustipated About Characterizations of Jesus

Argh! I’m disgustipated About Characterizations of Jesus February 28, 2024

Practical Spirituality series

The cartoonists based the character Popeye on a real sailor in Illinois. The cartoon character was known to get “disgustipated.”

Love and Hate image by ArtML30 on Deviant Art.

Love and Hate image by ArtML30 on Deviant Art. Rescaled.

Historically, “argh” implied weakness, which in the 1500s was a contemptible state. It acquired the meaning of worthy of contempt or ostracism.

To me argh expresses frustration with things that are outlandish. By that I mean they don’t have the strength of validity or moral certitude. I tried to think of a definition using smaller words and I came up with “argh” and “disgustipated.” Kind of circular.

What do you think of this: for such reasoning my wife calls me an idiot. Two thousand years from now, people might think she is referring to my cognitive abilities, not my behavior. Well, maybe she is referring to both. Anyway, I answer to idiot and several other terms. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked what you think. You might be on her side. Argh! Anyway, the point is words change meaning.

The word “empower” is another example. From the 16th Century it means “to give power to,” especially to give authority. But in the last century it took on new meaning: “to promote the self-actualization or influence of,” such as in the women’s movement. (Meriam-Webster definition.)

I try to understand Jesus’ ministry. Several things complicate understanding:

  1. The Hebrew Bible came before Jesus and people think it applies to everyone.
  2. Word meanings change. The Greek, Hebrew, and English have parallels, but words lose a lot in translation. And words acquire additional meaning over time that wasn’t meant by the original. The Apostle Paul even coined new words in Greek, and no one knows for certain what he meant. Words that have come into being since the Biblical era are now used to represent what interpreters thought the Bible meant. They’re assumptions at best.
  3. There are several types of context that are essential to understanding what a passage means, not just interpreting words. If you don’t know the context, you’re prevented from understanding at best and make misunderstandings at worst misinterpreted.
  4. Religion is locally situated. In the US alone, over 1200 distinct Christian denominations exist, each holding diverse perspectives. Cultures emphasize or reinterpret what they want to put emphasis on and shout it with a megaphone for all to hear. This extremist notion of thinking chases away people. New Generations realize how hollow, and self-serving, and false it sounds.
  5. There should be consistency and continuity with the primary message. At least we should interpret the Bible and its passages through the lens of the primary message: love.

Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews, and only later did he send Apostles to non-Jews with the message of Good News of forgiveness and peace. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles insisted on situating the laws of Judaism among non-Jews. To do so, according to Paul, was to ignore Jesus’ message. But today, many people insist on being Jews but call themselves Christians, who create elaborate schemes to select which Jewish laws they want to follow.

Did Jesus go around with a megaphone pointing out people’s sins? Jesus spoke about breaking the law in the Jewish Bible (Torah) only in general terms and emphasized love. He condemned no one. Even leaders who he regarded as snakes, he stopped short of condemning. He never went around screaming, “Stop doing that or you’re going to Hell!” He preached love.

Even the money changers in the Temple weren’t condemned or harmed by Jesus. He simply turned over their tables.

Why then do some leaders adopt the stance of shouting about sin? I don’t see theological grounding in their comments, even if they insist on throwing select Bible verses at people. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus’s message and the Apostles’ work.

I can throw Bible verses. I can start a war with cannon shells made up of Bible verses. Maybe even laser weapons that precisely cut to the heart. But pointing out sin and condemning others is what I call the “Bad News Gospel.” It’s devoid of Jesus’ teachings and merely a tirade filled with what other people hate. This is a cultural perspective run amuck, not Jesus’ perspective.

In my book, New Generations Walk with Jesus, the opening says:

You can make the Bible say anything you want it to say.

But what does it really say if you inquire deeply with an open mind, with love the Second commandment, as the guiding standard?

The questions raised by new generations get to the heart of what it means to follow Jesus.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)

Amazing! Jesus condensed the entire Hebrew Bible (law and prophets) into two commandments about love.

Argh! People disregard Jesus’ condensation and substitute their own message of hating sin.

The latest hate campaign is against “He Gets Us.” It just doesn’t have enough of hate of sin in it, according to some. That’s not their mission. Their mission is to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible. Yay! But, but, but, people hate certain things and want to introduce people to all their hate.

People have God and the law (natural law or Noahide Law) within them, placed their by the Spirit of God. They know when they’ve done wrong. No one needs to shout it at them.


Argh! You be the judge.

Probability Space

We are always having some influence over other people. The probability is there for making better relationships with them, or talking about things you hate and possibly drive them away.

What can you talk about with others that will help develop a better relationship with them, and possibly lead to conversations on spiritual things?

Potential Space

If you think creatively and allow your mind to wander and explore, what new experiences and opportunities would you be open to experiencing in your life? How might you show the love of God to others? Keeping the door closed means growth is limited.

–           Dorian

Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.

About Dorian Scott Cole
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