The Brick Testament

At the NW Church, we’re launching into a study of Jesus through the eyes of John, wondering how this “disciple whom Jesus loved” thought and felt about the Christ.   Our understanding of Jesus shifts with maturity, with cultural change, and as we experience life with him, so our study of how the apostle with the most intimate relationship with Jesus finally came to understand him should be helpful, and I hope, life-changing.

In the process of scouting out some of the various cultural understandings of Jesus now at play in American Culture, I came across a thing I hadn’t seen before.   The Brick Testament.   Many of you may have seen this, but I haven’t.  It’s an odd little thing, obviously aimed at young children, and I would love for my response to be “how cute” and what a great tool to teach some of the basic ideas of the Bible.

But that’s not really my response.  Perhaps I’m showing a bit of cultural snobbery now, but it seems to stand as a perfect metaphor for the shallowness of culture.  “Lego” are cool, no doubt.  These toy plastic blocks are used by kids everywhere to build various delightful structures, and artists have proven that beautiful things–even art–can be created with Legos.  But as a tool to illustrate a Bible that has been pared down to reductionist language, it strikes me as anything but transcendent.  I know postmodern culture is comfortable with trivializing religious symbols and concepts–Jesus is my boyfriend t-shirts, bobblehead Jesus, Jesus as action figure–but I believe symbols and metaphors matter.  They impact us as we internalize these ideas through physical means of art and product.

How do you understand holiness if God is a lego?  I don’t know that it can’t be done, and I have no doubt the Brick Testament has been used by many to introduce people to Jesus. But we treat Jesus’ teaching much like we treat a bucket of legos…if we don’t like the teaching, we just dismantle it, throw it back in the bucket, and shape the understanding, lego-like, as we choose.   Maybe that’s too harsh, but again, how do you get to the mystery, the power, the holiness, the transcendence…with a Lego Christ?

Does the cultural trappings through Jesus is introduced make any difference?

Am I just being stuffy?

6 Replies to “The Brick Testament”

  1. It would be better if one were to spend more time considering the facts in evidence in the Biblical record and encouraging others to do the same. Then we would have less people promoting unbiblical man-made hand-me-down traditions such as the idea that the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John (when the Bible proves that this idea cannot possibly be true).

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the heads up on the alternative possibilities for “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I’ll work on it. I’m happy to admit I’m wrong about a thing if evidence supports it. My early reading doesn’t seem to show that scholars are in unqualified support of overturning the broadly accepted authorship of John, in spite of what you suggest are Bible proofs that it couldn’t possibly be true. I look forward to learning more.


  3. Re your comment: I’ll work on it. I’m happy to admit I’m wrong about a thing if evidence supports it.

    Wow. Now THAT is the right attitude — no matter what the question may be. In line with the “prove all things” admonition of scripture we should always be open to being corrected by scripture and those who love the truth ought to welcome Biblical reproof. If the Bible is the word of God then it makes sense that we should be will be willing to follow the Biblical evidence wherever it may take us.

    May God bless your efforts as you examine the evidence that has been preserved for us in the Biblical record regarding the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved”.

  4. I am the disciple whom Jesus loves. I don’t deserve His love, but I know I have it. It really doesn’t matter who wrote it. What matters is that the writer knew experientially that Jesus loved him, personally, and it didn’t lessen the wonder to know that He also loves everyone else, too.

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