Two Christians I know have two different approaches to religion, two different heroes.
One loves Jesus Christ more than life itself and hardly ever mentions the word God. The other talks about God all the time. She thanks God for everything good that happens in her life, but she hardly ever mentions Jesus and doesn’t seem to know much about his life.
The Jesus lover makes more sense to me in that she loves a person who actually existed. The God lover, on the other hand, worships an entity that is a total mystery. This God is credited with creating the universe, and in fact, as a matter of detail, the earth itself, and the human beings upon it.
Jesus didn’t do any of that. He was, by all accounts, an extraordinary individual whose fundamental rule was to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, treat people, all people, right and be a good and decent human being.
COOL HAND CHRIST
Jesus is claimed to have done more than just be a decent guy, of course. He cured the sick with the touch of his hand, restored sight to the blind, and other rather comparatively mundane tricks like turn water into wine, and — well, this one stretches the imagination — walk on water.
Be that as it may (I do love that phrase, such a handy segue), there are two idols in the Christian church — God and Jesus — often, perhaps mostly, thought of as one, but really they are not. They may represent the same ideals of goodness and Godness, and convey the same message of everlasting life, but judging by my two Christian friends, each has his own following.
Jesus, whether he was actually the son of God or not, preached the word of God, but with or without that evangel, the premise is that God would exist anyway. To the God lover, God is the center of life; to the Jesus lover, Jesus was the bravest and coolest guy who ever lived.
In the end, if you’re a believer, it doesn’t really matter. In football terms, it’s like separating the MVP from the winning team. All that matters, to quote Bobby Bare’s country song, is that you make it through “them righteous uprights.”