Jesus is not my homeboy.

A friend on facebook posted the following status update yesterday. I, in turn, then reposted it as my status.

“[It] makes me sick when people refer to baptism as being ‘dunked’ and to Jesus as ‘my home boy’.” ~ S.P.S.

The inevitable “why?” was then asked a few minutes later. Why…? Why?

Jesus is not a “home boy”… He is Holy, He is righteous, He is perfect, and we are to stand in absolute awe of Him. We are supposed to treat Him with respect, reverence, and fear. Baptism isn’t about getting “dunked.” Baptism is a symbolic event that a Christian does to identify with the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the first act of obedience a newborn Christian should do in response to God and His Word.

I fear Christians have lost their respect of God. We don’t fear Him anymore like we ought to. I don’t know about you, but I fear the Person that can control all aspects of nature, read people’s inmost thoughts, and kill people with His very presence. God is not a joke. He’s not something to be taken lightly.

“Ah, man, it’s okay because it’s just a term of endearment… we’re tight like that, you know what I’m sayin’? like, BFF’s and all that jazz. fo’ shizzle!”

Uh, no.

There’s a difference between friendship and blatant disrespect.

You would not walk up to the President of the United States and say, “Yo, home boy, what’up!?”  That is simply unacceptable. You would refer to him as “Sir” or “Mr. President.” If you wouldn’t be so disrespectful (or even just plain “casual”) to a walking piece of dust, then why would you think it’s okay to talk like that to the God who created said dust?

My God is a little more important than some president. He’s not my home boy, my homeslice, my gangsta, or the Big Daddy… He’s the Great I Am, the Lamb that was slain, the Omnipotent Creator of the worlds, and the Perfect, Redeeming Savior. He’s a King, and should be treated as such.

“Fear God. Honour the king.”
~ I Peter 2:17b

Who is Jesus to You?

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Posted on May 12, 2011, in Christian Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. 100, no, 200% agree. Being white and southern makes me unlikely to call anyone “homeboy,” much less use the word “shizzle” in a sentence. That being said, I hate it when people down here refer to God as: The Man Upstairs, the Big Man, my Co-Pilot, the Old Man, Big Bubba, or “alright” (as in the DC Talk song – even though I liked DC Talk).

  2. I get your point, definitely. However, I ask this: how would you refer to the President of the US if he was your dad? or your husband?

    Yes, we need to fear God, but I think there’s also room for intimate familiarity.

    • I would refer to him then as “Father” or “Dad.”
      If the president were my husband, I’d call him by name, or “Love,” or some other appropriate term of endearment.
      But I would have enough respect to not refer to either my husband or my father as my “home boy” or the “Big Man in the House.”

      Yes, there is room for intimate familiarity – but there is never room for equalness or disrespect.

  3. I don’t have too much of an issue with the idea of the home boy reference as, from what I understand, it’s original meaning was a trusted friend who knew where you came from, surely this applies to Jesus?! I also understand the need to modernise our terms while not losing understanding, and I would probably feel that home boy doesn’t do the friendship with have with Jesus justice. I would also point out that rather than being used to communicate truth, ‘Jesus is my homeboy’ has become more of a t shirt slogan.

    However I’m not sure if I find it disrespectful, you are right to say God is more than our friend but that is a part of Him!

    God is my mate, my friend, my team mate, my boss, my awesome King and my fearsome Lord.

    I do agree that we have lost the fear of God though – this really speaks to me!

    Sorry these thoughts are randomly posted – bit tired!

    • Why must we “modernise” our terms? God has not modernised His terms when dealing with us. And if I’m using words to try to describe or refer to a God Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever – well, I’m not going use the slang and casual terms that the average highschooler uses to refer to their classmates.

      To say that God is your “team mate” is to imply that you are equals. God is not in the game with me… He’s the “coach” and all those who have accepted Him as their Savior are “team mates” *under* His leadership.

      Thanks for your comment, Nick. :]

      • And yet the ‘coach’ entered the playing field in the person of Jesus. To clarify, I didn’t make God my team mate, he did through incarnation. To be honest I don’t know why He did it, and I certainly wouldn’t have, but then I’m not God 🙂 Remember this is the Jesus who reclined on John – certainly an intimate scene of deep friendship.

        The trouble with not making an effort to modernise our communication is that very few will understand and even less want to. That being said I am not for modernising for the the sake of it, but to draw people in to a level of understanding where they want to move forward and learn more then I can’t see the harm. Surely this is what Paul did?

        I can see your objection and understand it (I deliberately haven’t commented on ‘dunking’ as I am more unsure how I feel about this one – it does seem a little more throwaway) but I think following Jesus must be open to as many as possible and we should use language that helps people approach and doesn’t hinder them. I’m pretty sure we can do this in a way that preserves meaning but also communicates truth to the age we find ourselves in.

        I would also not advocate casual or using all slang terms, but the ones that hold deep meaning to the people using them can certainly be used to show how we feel and are treated by God.

        Preachers do this all the time using sports or film analogies etc

        • Yes, He “entered the playing field” – but the difference is that He was disguised as a player, but not equal with the rest as the “team.”

          I never said that Jesus Christ was not our friend. On the contrary, I believe He is our Greatest Friend! But He deserves more respect – in our words and actions – that we would give to some kid we grew up with, a roommate in college, or a second cousin twice removed.

          While Jesus was one Who was quick to associate and show grace to people of all different walks of life, I don’t read anywhere in Scripture where Christ used different or “modern” language of that day to communicate with people. He has no respect of persons.

          • I don’t think the term disguised does justice to what actually happened in the incarnation. Yes Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully human. It was not just a ‘man suit’ He fully embraced humanity with all it’s wonderful quirks in some mysterious way that we don’t fully comprehend. But that was his plan.

            Jesus used the language and culture of the time He lived, if He’d have come in this day and age I think that His message would have been the same but His words almost certainly different. Jesus used story all the time time. The Bible was written in ‘accessible’ greek rather than the posh version. If our message can not be understood then it is impotent.

          • I struggled with using the word “disguised” in my previous comment for fear that you would take my comment to mean what you did. I apologize for that.
            I am not denying the fact that Jesus Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. But the fact that He was fully human does not level the playing field. If anything, the first paragraph of your comment only helps prove my point.

            Jesus was fully human. We are fully human.
            Jesus is fully God. We are fully human.
            Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God. We are the many adopted sons/daughters of God.

            Yes, He used the language of the culture at that time. But no where do we see Him using what would have been the “slang” terms of that day. That is what I mean when I say He talked to people of every walk of life the exact same way. He didn’t talk to Lazarus one way, the thief on the cross another way, the blind man another way, and the demon-possessed man yet another way. He spoke His message clearly in the same manner every time.

  4. Jesus is Lord. End of story. We are not to refer to Him as our buddy, for we are not His buddies.We are fellow children of God, but we are adopted and He is begotten. There is a difference. In ancient culture, the firstborn was more respected and more responsible than the others, which is part of the significance of Christ being the “firstborn among many brethren”.

    If we would get back to our Scriptural identity in the church today, with Jesus as Lord (kyrios) and we as His slaves (doulos) then we might not have people referring to The Master as “homeboy”.

    It all comes down to a low view of God and Christ, when you set them down a few notches, then they don’t need to be respected. When people make a god like unto themselves they will always treat it as a “home-boy.” However, when people see Him as the prophet Isaiah saw Him, high and lifted up, (somewhere in John it tells us that this was Christ, I don’t remember where) with such glory and holiness that the seraphims cried out and covered their face! That is the Christ of the Bible and the One Who reigns over all today. I’d like to see someone walk up to Him there and call Him “buddy”.

    Sorry for the rant, that bugs me as well.

    • Well, amen. Thank you for your comment.

    • Mike what about this? – John 15: ‘ 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

      13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

      14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

      15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

      16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit— fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

      17 This is my command: Love each other.’

      • Yes, I am aware that we have been made friends of God, like Abraham was. But using words like “buddy” and “home-boy” is downright irreverent. John was in the group Jesus was speaking too, and when Christ appeared before him in Revelation he fell at His feet as dead in worship. Let us keep an even balance. And in one of the verse you quoted, the friendship of God is conditional to obedience, (not without occasional failure, don’t get me wrong). If we are to be His friends He will have to be our Lord and Master, giving us commands to follow.

        Thanks for pointing that out.

        • Not only friends but also co-heirs! I’m not trying to be pedantic but I feel that the low view of God you describe comes not when we call God a friend, but when we limit God to only one or a few expressions.

          Yes to over emphasise God as a friend would induce a low view, but also to ignore it would do the same. I think we need to hold the many expressions of God in tension, and embrace them all, not holding one over the other but seeing the beauty of all the ways God chooses to reveal Himself!

          I also think you can only claim buddy and homeboy as irreverent as far as you understand their meaning. To others who have a great deal of meaning attached to these words they may be entirely appropriate.

          I guess for me it comes down to context, if someone is using these terms to appropriately communicate the gospel or a Biblical truth then I haven’t got issue. If it’s throwaway or for a cheap laugh then that’s different. I want to communicate the gospel as far and wide as I can, and I will do that as many ways as I can unapologetically.

          • Way to think like a recovering legalist. You make a good point, I have to say.

            But I’m still not going to add “shizzle” or any other word Snoop Dog coined to my vocabulary.

  5. I love saying “fo’ shizzle my nizzle,” even though it probably means something bad.

    Jesus is my Lord and Saviour, and friend. He’s not my homeboy or brotha from anotha motha either.

    He is God, in the flesh, and deserves more respect than that.

  6. I know I might get struck by lightning, but what about Randy on American Idol. He says to EVERYBODY, “Yo, dog!” If he was found, theoretically, to be dislexic, could he get away with that in a prayer? Just thinking…it’s in the 90’s and my brain is overheating.

  7. AC Baker – It might be worth adding to your scrabble vocabulary! DOUBLE Z FOR THE WIN!!

  8. Heather – having to continue down here as it won’t let me reply on that thread anymore – too many comments! (loving the convo by the way!)

    No need to apologise – I got to invent a term – MAN SUIT! I kind of understand what you are saying but for me I hold the fully God/fully human nature of God in tension – I didn’t level the playing field – God did. I spent most of my life only focusing on the fully God part of the equation and missing out on the implications of the fully human part. Maybe I major to much on it, but it blows my mind! Don’t get me wrong – I will confess with my tongue and bow the knee and probably fall prostrate in fear upon first meeting Him! I think the first part of Philippians 2 says it better than I can! Jesus humbled Himself – became my team mate – but part of that was as an example so as I get to know Him more I learn to follow that example and follow Him as a coach, captain etc… I would guess that no one has it all together straight away and that some get to know Jesus first as a friend and then learn more and some start with Jesus as their captain and learn later of how to be His friend. Obviously with our hindsight we can see Jesus was much more than a man, but how much did those around Him at the time realise this? I’m not trying to bring God down to our level or deny Him any of the glory due His name, but the fact that He choose to come down to our level and fully immerse Himself in it is a powerful message of hope. Also the team mate analogy does not imply that we are equals. Within any team you find leaders and followers, people skilled in different areas and star players. The team mate analogy merely implies we are on the same side, and that Jesus is not afraid to get off the side line on court and hands dirty…

    I don’t know that Jesus did or didn’t use the slang of His day, He certainly referenced the popular culture by setting Himself up as a rabbi and living as one, using terms like yoke etc… He also referenced things the people would have been aware of and understood. Paul later says that he became all things to all people. The important thing, I think, is that while the message doesn’t change we have a certain creative freedom in communicating it. But as I said elsewhere this must always be for the purpose of bring the Kingdom closer, not just willy nilly.

    • I get what you’re saying… really. I just don’t agree with you on everything.

      When Jesus Christ came to earth, He did not level the playing field. He was among us, but He still held authority over us. He proved this by the miracles He performed, by the lives He transformed, by the Words He spoke, by Who He claimed to be.

      I guess at this point, I we will just have to agree to disagree on the other points.
      I just wanted you to know that I do understand where you’re coming from and what you’re saying.

      • Same 🙂 No need to agree! I’ve been typing with a smile on my face enjoy the debate – which is a nice change.

        I think some of the levelling of the playing field talk will probably be semantics and/or cultural confusion between us!

        I [think] I’m understanding you too!

        I agree that while on earth Christ did hold authority – that’s of no doubt – but I think the way He choose to live, as a servant, washing feet, touching lepers etc speaks of Him choosing not to engage in a authority led Kingdom, but an example led one, if that makes sense?

      • He talked to people of every walk of life the exact same way? No way. I agree with Nick, especially with the 1 Cor. 9 reference from Paul. Jesus totally spoke to Nicodemus differently than the lady at the well, or the rich young ruler. What about the times he healed people and never even mentioned their sin? You can’t say he gave the same message in the same way every time.
        Oh, and we are co-labourers with God, 1 Cor. 3:9.

        • Again, I probably worded what I was trying to say the wrong way.
          I’m saying that He did not sit there and refer to one person as “sir” and the next person and “home skillet” and someone else and “chick” and the person over there as “bubba.”
          He didn’t use the slang terms of the day to communicate with people. He spoke appropriately to them.

          “co-labourers” with God, yes… we all are working toward the end means of winning souls to Christ. That still does not make us equal to God.

  9. I think Isaiah 6:3-5 gives a good perspective of this.
    3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

    4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

    5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

    I agree with Heather’s post here. We need to have respect and awe for our Saviour. When I think of all He’s done for me, I can’t help but praise and worship Him! AND, this holy, awesome, almighty God calls me His child, makes me his co-labourer, loves me, and prays for me. WOW!!! He’s as close as a Father, and as great as King and Lord. We need to see Christ for ALL that He is!

    • I would totally agree that respect and awe for God is needed, but not at the expense of the richness and fullness that comes from understanding God as a friend too.

      If you are talking to someone who has no Bible knowledge, no understanding of the words used, then surely you will use colloquial terms that hold meaning for them to help them understand? My point is this – let’s not let our understanding of these words write them off when there will be people who attach great meaning to them.

      Let’s face it since the advent of facebook the meaning of the term friend has been significantly lessened. To tell this generation that they can be friends with God could be the equivalent of telling them all they need to do is acknowledge Him and check His status every once in a while, and if they can’t be bothered just delete Him at a later date… so perhaps we do need to find new ways of expressing what it means to be a friend.

      So if I’m taking to somebody and trying to convey this, and they are someone who uses a term like homeboy to describe their close friends then I am without doubt going to explain how Jesus is not just their homeboy but the best homeboy they could imagine and sooooo much more. To me it’s a tool for opening people’s understanding in terms they can understand – is it a panacea? No not at all. No term can cover the fullness of God as is evidenced through His many names in the Bible.

      What makes you say WOW will make others scratch their heads unless they understand why. I’m not saying replace all our terms, but at least give people a starting block, a way in…

  10. He is God, not your homeboy,
    He is God, not your pal,
    He is God, get that straight, boy,
    He is God, get that down.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • He is God, but he choose to become reliant on human parents, to be breast fed, to be toilet trained, to go through puberty.

      Yes God’s holiness stops me in awe, but so does the fact that He took on all that and more for me! Personally I don’t use the term homeboy because it’s not cultural relevant to my life but pal? Yep. Of course He’s my pal. Mate? Sure thing.

      When I was growing up I wouldn’t never have dreamed of calling my earthly father ‘mate’ we very much had a father son relationship. Now I am older I am still his son, we still have that distinction with the added bonus that I now count him as a friend too. This is similar to how I how I hold my relationship with God in tension. There are times when I will have more of a father son relationship with him, times when it will be King to citizen but times when He will talk to me like a friend, ask what I think, value my thoughts and striving even when it’s not 100% right. I don’t want to limit God to ruler in the sky – it does a total injustice to His mission on earth, to His incarnation.

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