Note: I’m not referring to the Jesus from Nazareth who walked about circa 30 BCE, but rather a curious Calvin student whom we have nicknamed “Jesus”. The reason for this, I hope, will become clear.
Necessary background info: Students from less “liturgical” churches are rarer at Calvin (I believe my friends who speak theology lingo would describe these churches as “lower” churches). Those coming from charismatic backgrounds rarer still and those who ascribe themselves to doctrines such as the “prosperity gospel” rarest of all (my freshman year there were probably only two of us, Jesus and yours truly; but my RA won’t let me talk about those days). In fact, though most Calvin students would be described as “evangelical” in their outlook towards the world, most do not describe themselves as evangelical (as in the evangelical subculture in the United States, see publications such as those from Focus on the Family, CCM magazine, etc).
Distinctive characteristics: Jesus speaks with a soft, beautiful African accent. This sometimes leads to people like myself asking him to repeat himself 3 or 4 times (I’m usually not a very good listener anyhow, just ask the boy who makes me food). He did/still does enjoy listening to sermons in the dorm’s computer lab (with or without headphones) and audibly responding to these sermons. In these same computer lab he would also corner the future E2 RA and give mini-sermons about various fantastic Biblical things if she did not answer about how Jesus was doing incredible things in her life convincingly enough when asked. He was also quite fond of corning the dudes on his floor with the same intention and lecturing the sick on how True Christians ™ never get sick (I, being endowed with a strong flight response, rarely was cornered and his roomie freshman year avoided his own room in order to escape). He is also a major proponent of Bible Bonanza and the Gospel Choir, as well as spamming the entire school’s inboxes with prosperity gospel sermonettes.
Now, many of you, who do not know this Jesus, might think I am exaggerating or persecuting a True Christian ™. Not so. I have been raised in a heavy environment of Charismatic sermons and ministries. faith-healing and prosperity gospel. I have a high religious woo tolerance.
Additionally, Calvin is a Christian college and as such it is guaranteed that we all love talking about the J-man (well, some of us would rather talk about how bitchin’ dinosaurs are but our voices are droned out). But occasionally we also like to talk about how awesome Obama (or McCain, if you are among the College Republicans or Huckabee, if you are the clinically insane dude on 2nd Beets with the Huckabee sign) is or the latest album were are discerning. Jesus is often seen on the path, presumably going to and from class, but never actually seen in class and all efforts to get him to talk about any other subject not prosperity-gospel related has been met with failure. Leading some to suspect that he is a robot…
An interesting fact: His nickname is almost universal among everyone who has had the pleasure to meet him. Mention the name “Jesus” in a context which demonstrates that you are not talking about the citizen of Roman Judea (hard to do at Calvin, but can be accomplished with a bit of work) and nearly everyone will know the exact person you are talking about.