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First off, I want to wholeheartedly endorse the central thesis of Sarina Moore’s post, Autistic Jesus. Namely, autistic (or neurodiverse) people should not be forced to conform to social norms that “we” (non-neurodiverse) people find the most comfortable. Her stories of her child being misunderstood by his teachers and administrators were harrowing. No child, autistic or otherwise, should be made to feel lesser because of the way he or she was born—created by God.

Also, being related to neurodiverse people and having neurodiverse friends, I completely agree that their presence in the world makes the world a better place (e.g., I continue to learn from neurodiverse people that life is not a long list of “get it done” tasks and that slowing down to experience life is part of life, a “task,” if you will...). 

But, secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it must be said that these important truths are accessible to us without reimagining Jesus. Sarina makes some insightful exegetical points that may indicate Jesus displayed Autistic characteristics. These arguments should be weighed by their exegetical merit. My goal is not to do that here. Rather, my goal is to call into question a methodology that asserts we can “reimagine” Jesus.

She states, “At various times in my life, I have seen Jesus as Feminist Jesus, Radical Jesus, Liberationist Jesus, and Historically-Accurate-Middle-Eastern Jewish Jesus.” Approvingly alluding to Pelikan, she says, “He is, as Jaroslav Pelikan argued, reimagined by each generation as the Jesus for that age.” Sarina was very offended (to the point of using expletives in her post) when people misunderstood her child. I am very offended when people misunderstand the Lord. I hope my sentiments are allowed on The Network, too. 

Jesus was not a Feminist or a Liberationist. Feminist theology asserts that we should refer to God in feminine pronouns, which is rejected by the Bible and the CRC. Liberationist theology asserts that God’s primary intention is not salvation from hell and sin, but the liberation of the oppressed, which is a categorical—heretical!—error in biblical interpretation.

Most importantly, Jesus isn’t “adaptable” in the sense that we can “get to know” various versions of Him. As if this year I begin my relationship with Autistic Jesus, and next year I’ll get to know the Feminist Jesus. This is not Jesus. This is a figment of the imagination. Jesus is Lord, not silly putty we can twist into whatever shape we want. 

Christians must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. In gentleness, we must endorse Sarina’s heartfelt and laudable love for her precious son made in the glorifying image of God. In wisdom, we must reject her spurious assertion that the Lord of the universe is re-imaginable. He is not. Jesus is Jesus. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. He gets to tell us who He is. Our job is not to “imagine” but to believe what He says about Himself.

If God has not revealed Himself as Feminist, Liberationist, or Autistic, we don’t get to play around with His image and pretend that He is. He is more than capable of loving Sarina’s dear son without having been Autistic. He doesn’t need to have been Black to sympathize with those who have experienced racism. He doesn’t need to be female to sympathize with women who are abused. He doesn’t need to be Autistic to sympathize with those who are.

He needs to be our Lord and we should tremble at the thought that we have made Him anything other than who He tells us He is. “Who do you say I am?” is not a question of the imagination. We will all answer it to His face one day and we better get in the practice now of saying, “Who You say you are—Lord.” 

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