No More Christian Nice Guy

YOU have to wonder why so many atheists and non-believers are obsessed with Jesus.
They keep trying to put Christ back in his tomb, but he won’t stay there
It’s clear from the history that Jesus wasn’t a wimp. He was fearless and often brash.
His message talks about love. Yet, there is part of Jesus that is often overlooked. He was a tough guy who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or face danger.
John Coleman, in his book The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus, points out that Jesus’s teachings were provocative and challenging, often making his listeners uncomfortable. Too many people sanitised Jesus and his message, Coleman wrote.
“We try to make Jesus cuddly,” he said.
In his book No More Christian Nice Guy, Paul Coughlin wondered what Jesus would say if he turned up unannounced in some of our churches today. Coughlin said Jesus might use some of the language quoted in the Bible. He might call some church people “hypocrites” and “white-washed tombs”.
“Given how nice the church expects Christians to be, I think we’d rush the pulpit and wrest the microphone from his hand.. ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk,’ we’d mutter scornfully. We’d wag our fingers, reminding him of the supreme importance placed on manners and appearances in this holy place. Some women, reaching for soap bars to wash out his mouth, would recite our unofficial church motto: ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, Jesus, don’t say it at all’.”
Coughlin said not so long ago he would have joined the crowd in shushing Jesus. “That’s because I believed in a Savior who doesn’t really exist. Many of us believe in a wooden Jesus who was perpetually sombre, consistently robotic, consummately nice. He wouldn’t think of hurling sarcasm at anyone; his momma raised a Nice Boy with impeccable manners. Many sermons we hear are designed to make Jesus appear always approachable, always calm, and endlessly patient. That’s fiction right up there with The Da Vinci Code; this mild Jesus has more to do with Eastern mysticism than with the gospel record. “
The real Jesus, according to Coughlin and many others, did not remain “above it all,” emotionally hovering above us silly little humans. He got down in the muck and mire of life with us. He really lived; he really felt eye-watering joy and soul-crushing pain. He didn’t assume the Lotus, drinking tea and finding us mildly amusing while trying to clear his head of conflict and division. Jesus, the dissident, brought the world both–the kind of conflict and division needed to shake things up for our own good..


25 thoughts on “No More Christian Nice Guy

  1. Pingback: No More Christian Nice Guy | Christians Anonymous

  2. Absolutely! The love proclaimed by Jesus was deeply subversive and disturbing. That’s what got him into trouble! I think the message is just as powerful (and subversive/disturbing) today. Long may it be so. Thanks, Bryan.


  3. Would you welcome into your own home as permanent tenants people who insisted Jesus never rose from the dead?
    Well really,, would you? Would you gladly pay dhimma to them or die? Do you like your taxes supporting that?

    Why are these people calling themselves Muslims?
    Seriously, why do they carry Muhammad’s name around?
    These people insist they are Muslims – and are you going to fly to Iraq and tell them that they are not true Muslims and that they don’t understand the Koran as well as you do?

    I the bigot who judges Islam – because no-one else wants to stand with Jesus as Only begotten Son of God, Risen from the Dead, Judge of All the Earth.


    • PhillipGeorge, Perhaps you should read the comments underneath “That appears to be an ISIS convoy with ISIS vehicles and clearly is carrying ISIS flags, not Hamas, which has a green flag with white writing. Would the purpose of conflating ISIS with Hamas be to justify the Gaza genocide?

      “I do not know why you post anything from World News Tomorrow. 90% of the time it is inaccurate.”


      I notice you have not acknowledged that as despicable as ISIS is, there isn’t any substance to your claim that they are beheading children. As Christians, we have a duty to champion the truth. We should avoid spreading unsubstantiated claims.


      • Do you think the video footage is fake?
        You know the bodies recoiling make for great action and great Oscar Nomination type performances. Imagine if they had speaking parts with real blood gurgling up their trachea(s).
        Would you open a Koran and tell these men they are misreading the words of their Prophet, praise be unto him?
        If ISIS was largely created or financed by black ops money or CIA/ Mossad backed activists agitants [with or without Saudi Arabian or Kuwaiti or who ever money] would it change one iota the fact that it is genocidal and attracting converts from what used to be middle class Australia?
        Praise be unto you Bryan.
        I’m prepared to accept on face value claims that children starved or dehydrated to death among Yazidi on a hill in Iraq. While their heads might be very much attached to their bodies their death is no less real to me?
        But Muhammad, praise be unto him, apparently/ purportedly saying God does not beget and
        God is not begotten.
        Do those Word offend you?
        Because the church that isn’t offended by satan isn’t my church. Cheers, In Jesus Christ, Risen Saviour – only begotten Son of God.


      • All very well PG. But as a Christian you should not perpetuate lies. As I said, as Christians, we have a duty to champion the truth. We should avoid spreading unsubstantiated claims. Don’t let your substantial ego interfere with that mate. Use your head as well as your heart in this.


      • It was very much a new thought for me today. What if one of those people were a friend of mine.
        I’ve done a couple of exercises with the Australian Army – a non uniform participant.. I made some friends. A Lee Rigby could have just been a random one of them.
        A father of a two year old who just happened to have his throat slit multiple time.

        I don’t know a single Yazidi name but perhaps one of them was at some international airport somewhere I’ve been.

        It’s really where the poem comes from “don’t ask for whom the bell tolls”…


      • And most likely the Army good blokes you knew and the Yazidis you don’t know would wish you to champion the truth, not spread lies…
        That’s really where the poem comes from “don’t ask for whom the bell tolls”…


    • specificity Bryan.
      What “lie”?

      That Islam is all ‘doctrine of demons” and naive Christians are aiding and abetting a road to hell or a future Australian Lebanon-type shooting war?

      Is there anything in that you disagree with?


    • of course Dom will swear these words will have some nice meaning that you don’t see at first sight.

      The Qur’an:
      Qur’an (5:51) – “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

      thus the rift valley Thus, perhaps, we disagree forever.


  4. Once again a really good post, thanks for this. It articulates really well a lot of my own thoughts about Jesus and how we’ve sanitised and domesticated him. I’m always reminded of the description of Aslan as ‘not a tame lion’…


  5. Reblogged this on Essential Thinking and commented:
    As we’re starting our overview of the New Testament, here’s a challenging read about the character of Jesus. Today I’m reading the prologue to John’s Gospel- chapter 1… read it and see what it reminds you of.


      • For many many years I saw your posting in the herald sun .
        I put it in the group that I have zero interest in that included sport,horse racing,gossip and horoscopes .
        Until I viewed your blog I did not realize how much animosity religious people such as yourself have for Atheists .
        And no that animosity would not be only restricted to your religion.
        So I will keep on looking at what transpires.
        And yet…you’re the one on a Christian website that blames on puts down those who don,t follow any religion


      • Bryan,
        I guess one thing that puzzles me a little is that the title of your Blog and the original column is Faithworks. And yet it is according to you, a Christian website.
        Well, the implication would seem to be that only Christians require or have faith.

        Further, the prevailing trend is of course, Protestant Evangelical faith. Am I missing something?


      • I think you are imagining that ‘animosity towards atheists’ that we Christians are supposed to have, AT. I have never personally seen it. And the reverse is definitely true for the pastors I’ve met. They truly love atheists because they are always trying to reach out to them.

        And honestly, how can a Christian who was once an atheist (whose whole family probably is atheist), hold any animosity towards atheists? Not possible! You are mistaken AT…..about a lot of things when it comes to faith and the faithful.


    • Christians are obsessed with atheists and non-believers because they love you, AT, would love to see you become convinced too. Please don’t see this as pitying, condescending or patronising, although that is easy to do. You and they are in the same boat, unable to concede you could be wrong.

      I do have a faith, and believe God (whoever, whatever) has the best interests of genuine people at heart, and will guide each of us as we need, to fulfill some divine plan. We’re all different.


  6. So what could be such a problem in accepting that a person such as myself not requiring a view of importance.
    Accepting that I am just a collection of partials that will degrade downward to entropy .
    With everything else in the universe .
    In ten billion years this planet will be totally gone and the sun will be dark cold .
    At that time in this region another star might have planets that might have life never knowing about this planet ..

    Monica :-They truly love atheists because they are always trying to reach out to them.
    WHY ??
    Just because a person who has fear of drowning into oblivion does not mean I should accept delusion spin of swimming across oblivion to a fantasy of existing beyond any number imagined to serve a MALE what ever for eternity .
    And no mention of a ESCAPE CLAUSE .
    Sorry Monica that reach out I will keep my arms crossed behind my back .
    I Pass !!!


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