Bankrobber Jesus

photo © Mark Barner

photo © Mark Barner

Recently Emily was listening to the CBC (that’s the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the many non-Canadians out there) and they started playing a song by Jason Collett (of Broken Social Scene fame) called “I wanna rob a bank.” Written against the backdrop of the Occupy protests, this catchy tune captures the frustration of many about the alleged misdeeds of the wealthy elite while simultaneously making you bop your head.

About a minute into the song, with it’s repeated refrain of “I wanna rob a bank, don’t you wanna rob a bank,” there’s a funny line:

Someone’s gotta save the day / even Jesus would say it’s okay / to wanna rob a bank / Don’t you wanna rob a bank?

Collett’s done something fascinating in this song, capturing the frustration and sense of self-justification (or is it satisfaction?) many in the Occupy movement felt while inadvertently illustrating our habit of re-imagining Jesus in light of our cause, whatsoever it may be.

But in doing so, we do ourselves (and Jesus) a disservice.

Because we want to recast Jesus as being for whatever we are for, we fail to recognize that sometimes—or rather all the time—our hearts lie to us (see Jeremiah 17:9). Just because we feel strongly about a particular issue—whether corporate greed, firearms regulations, or eating bacon—doesn’t mean Jesus would agree with us.

That might sound obvious, but consider how often we deceive ourselves on this point. We justify our sinful responses in our anger when offended. When the economy collapses, we declare it the fault of the “Wall Street fat cats” and fail to take responsibility for own spending habits that contributed to the problem. We blame our office environments for making us fat instead of looking at our own eating habits.

We want to be the victim and for Jesus to side with us—even when we’re wrong.

But Jesus isn’t a bankrobber, and he’s not riding shotgun in the getaway car on the way to hell.

A Christ of our own imaging will become complicit in our nefarious schemes, but the real Jesus will have none of it. We should do likewise.