Jesus Bears: On Mutual Friends.

I like to poke the Jesus Bears.  The thing about poking them is that the reaction almost feels aggressive, but there is somehow a safety in the consistency.  My persistence is partly a barometer for my own feelings about Jesus, and partly to challenge myself and the Jesus Bears I am poking into figuring out that we can love each other even if we aren’t so sure.

But here, I was not poking a Jesus Bear.  Mostly, I was trying to be friendly.  I heard him talking about friends I knew, some of my best friends, and so after our set, I asked this man in the back alley of a Boston venue if he knew my friends.  He did know my friends.  He loves my friends!  We are practically friends because of these friends!  And then he said,

“So, you’re a Jesus-Lover, then!”

“Um,” I said, surprised that I had poked a Jesus Bear, “more like a friend of a friend.”

“Friend-of-a-friend of a Jesus Lover?” he pushed.

“No, more like a friend-of-a-friend of Jesus,” I said.

He nodded and walked away.

But this is how I wish I had responded:

1. What does that even mean?

or

2.  Why would you think that?

or

3.  You do know that if I say “no” that I am denying Jesus like Peter, but if I say “yes” then you think I am like you, and judging by how I just accidentally poked the Bear, I am not like you because…

and/or

4. I think that I am a friend to Jesus.  But I am not so sure we agree as to who that is.  Plus, Jesus and I used to play tea parties together and you weren’t there and he never mentioned you, so I kind of think maybe you aren’t a lover of him.  Unless you guys started seeing each other later at a different tea party.  And maybe sometimes just because you have a mutual friend does not mean that you will be friends with the person that your friend is friends with, and that’s okay.  

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