Redeeming Culture is a lot of things. We’re about connecting culture to Christ, seeing the spark of creation that He’s put in us worked out in everything we enjoy, from superhero movies to podcasts about murders, to social media and video games.
But there’s also a bunch of things we’re not. We aren’t an excuse to watch smut, or worldliness masquerading as “relevance.” We aren’t a database of sermon illustrations (at least, we try not to be just sermon illustrations). And we’re not about Jesus Jukes.
Coined in 2010 by Christian blogger and overall hilarious guy Jon Acuff, the Jesus Juke is “when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.” It’s also a great way to kill a conversation.
Imagine we’re having a friendly debate: Star Wars vs. Star Trek. You’ve made your points, I’ve made mine, and then somebody comes up (we’ll call him Preachy Paul) and says “Well, my favorite is the Bible.”
In this imaginary scenario, he then puts on sunglasses and moonwalks out of the room, but that’s neither here nor there. Preachy Paul has just committed a Jesus Juke. Acuff explains why it’s bad in three points:
- It causes shame. The Jesus Juke is an attempt to make yourself seem holy at the expense of the other person; it causes confusion at best, guilt and anger at worst.
- It kills conversation. We’ve gone from a friendly conversation about pop culture to an awkward silence where we try to figure out whether we can talk about anything without Preachy Paul coming back.
- It doesn’t help. Nobody has ever been “juked to Jesus.” The awkwardness and guilt stops conversations about Jesus, it doesn’t start those conversations. It doesn’t bring people to the Gospel, it brings them to a point of confusion and anger.
So, thanks, Preachy Paul. We were having fun, but now it’s just weird. Maybe somebody pulls out their smartphone, and the other person says “I need to go talk to…” and the other person says, “Yeah, me too…” and they both walk away. Moment over.
“Sounds like you’re basically just describing this website,” you might say, and I can’t deny that when you’re in a Redeeming Culture mindset, it can be hard to resist sneaking a Jesus Juke in sometimes. But the difference between Redeeming Culture and Jesus Jukes comes down to three major things: timing, understanding, and intent.
How to Redeem Culture without Being a Jerk:
- Timing. There’s a right time to talk about how things point back to Jesus, and there’s a wrong time. It’s different for every situation, but generally you want to wait for a lull in the conversation; after all the discussion has been played out, or when there’s a natural point to bring up something that really excites you about the movie/TV show/book.
- Understanding. Watch/read/listen to/play the thing! Don’t try to tie something to Jesus without having seen it yourself. You might miss a more important connection, or (even worse) point out a connection that isn’t there.
- Intent. Know what the work says and connect it to good theology; don’t come up with a topic and try to tenuously tie it back to the work. If you place a meaning onto the work that was never there in the first place, just to get to Jesus, you’ve just Jesus-juked.
It’s All About Jesus
Don’t get me wrong. Jesus is important; the most important person in existence. And showing all the places where our culture reminds us of Him is not only important, it’s the reason Redeeming Culture exists. But when you Jesus-Juke, you’re not showing people who Jesus is; you’re just trying to look more holy. And that’s not loving. It’s certainly not what Jesus is about. And it isn’t Redeeming Culture.
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Thanks as always for reading (and learning about) Redeeming Culture. We welcome your comments below; just don’t juke us.
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