BY REV. DR. SARAH ROHRET
CALVARY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Fan fiction is a whole genre of writing now.
People who love a book, movie or TV show imagine and write their own stories about those characters. Take for example Star Wars -- fans have written thousands of pages on what happened to Luke, Leia and Han after "The Return of the Jedi."
Fans take what they know of the characters and settings from the original and write continuing stories based on their imagination. There are no right or wrong plots or story lines -- everything is opinion. That opinion is based on a love for characters, and out of that love comes new stories.
Christians have been writing a kind of fan fiction on Jesus for 2,000 years. People wondered what Jesus' childhood may have been like and wrote little stories from their imagination. One such story tells about a six year-old Jesus finding a dead bird and bringing it back to life. Another tells of a teen Jesus bullied by older boys and Jesus strikes him dead, then regrets his anger and brings him back to life.
These stories are charming, imaginative exercises based on a love of Jesus, but in the end just fiction.
Today I see us doing a twist on traditional Jesus fan fiction. Instead of stories, we tell opinions. We claim Jesus for our political point of view or our cause. The issues that Jesus talked about from his time -- poverty, oppression, and relationships between the majority Jews and the minority Samaritans, etc. -- are issues that still affect us today.
Yet there are many issues that Jesus never talked about, like nuclear war or genetic manipulation. There are so many complicated areas of modern day life that have no clear, definitive answer from the Bible; so we write fan fiction.
Pastors and scholars and politicians may proclaim that they know what Jesus would say, they may proclaim that XYZ is a "Christian Value." But in reality, we don't know for certain what Jesus would say to us about abortion, genetic modification, nuclear war, school prayer or marriage equality.
We who love Jesus read his teachings and can derive educated opinions, but in the end they are only opinions made by mere humans.
"Christian values" are values that Christians hold and there are many, many kinds of Christians. There are liberal Christians and conservative Christians, Republican and Democratic and even Independent and Green Party Christians.
All of us, with our different politics and opinions, love Jesus and hope we are making him proud. But none of us owns Jesus or can speak for Jesus. We just write fan fiction.
So remember: be humble my dears when you say "the Bible says" or use the term "Christian values." The value that Jesus did say was the most important is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.