Billboards in Indianapolis

Speaking of identity issues … I understand that the billboard campaign below was inspired in part by a statement in A New Kind of Christianity that Jesus is a victim of identity theft …

32 Indy Billboards Ask . . .
Who Stole Jesus?
September 21, 2011 – “We are deeply concerned about the way Jesus is being portrayed in many churches today,” says Rev. Jeff Miner, Senior Pastor at LifeJourney Church, Indianapolis. “It’s almost as if the real Jesus has been kidnapped and stuffed away in church basements, while a legalistic, judgmental imposter has been trotted out in his place. We want to challenge that.”
LifeJourney Church has launched a metro-area media campaign that is sure to raise eyebrows. Beginning this week, 32 billboards will go up, each proclaiming “Who Stole Jesus?” The billboards will be supplemented with yard signs, t-shirts, and bumper stickers.
Each billboard invites viewers to a web page – – that identifies discrepancies between the Jesus of popular American Christianity and the Jesus of the Gospels. Examples include:
The real Jesus taught that his followers should take a flexible approach, doing what love requires in any situation (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 3:1-6). Many churches today teach that rules are more important than love.
The real Jesus offered hope (Luke 4:18-19); one of his most common statements was, “Be not afraid” (Luke 12:32). Many churches today actively promote fear.
The real Jesus defended sinners from attack (John 8:1-11). Many churches today lead the charge against them.
The real Jesus empowered women spiritually (Luke 8:1-4; John 20:11-18). Many churches today teach that only men are worthy of spiritual leadership.
“Too many churches are based on labels,” says LifeJourney Pastor Vivian Wyatt. “If you’re divorced, you’re put down. If you drink a beer, you’re suspect. If you’re gay, God forbid! That’s not how Jesus was. He went out of his way to embrace those who didn’t fit the mold. His churches ought to do the same.”
LifeJourney Church hopes its campaign will generate lively discussion. “We’re not afraid to challenge the religious establishment,” Miner says. The web page invites readers to weigh-in with their own comments and provides other suggestions for furthering the dialogue.
LifeJourney Church is a Christ-centered congregation of 400 located on the northeast side of Indianapolis. It is one of the city’s most racially diverse churches, welcomes full participation by women in all aspects of leadership, and affirms both straight and gay spousal relationships. “We’re trying to move beyond labels,” says Miner. “For too long, judgment has been the public face of Christianity instead of grace. It’s time to reclaim Jesus for ordinary people.”
For more information: Rev. Jeff Miner at (317) 722-0000 x 103 or (317) 260-9620.
Sample Billboard Locations:
Clear Channel No. 000905 on S. Pennsylvania s/o South St (facing north)
Clear Channel No. 005601 on East St. n/o Washington St. (facing north)
Clear Channel No. 005875 on N. Keystone St. s/o 62nd St. (facing south)