A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 21, 2010
“Come-to-Jesus” Meeting

"Come to Jesus” (and the “come to Jesus meeting") was an early 20th century Christian message, often spread by traveling preachers who held tent meetings.

A different and later sense of “come to Jesus” (also called a “come to Jesus moment") means getting back to core values, coming clean and admitting failures. This sense of “come to Jesus” dates to at least 1983 and has been frequently used in political contexts.


Urban Dictionary
come to jesus
December 12, 2008 Urban Word of the Day
Originally an emotional experience that is life changing, it has evolved to mean a serious argument, one that better result in a change of action or else.
My husband and I are going to have a “come to jesus” over this remodeling job.
or
I’m going to have a “come to jesus” with that kid about his drinking and partying.

by Sak Jul 29, 2004

come to jesus
Getting called on the carpet, dressed down, or otherwise chewed out in a severe manner. Usually used in conjunction with “meetin’” (meeting)
He was late one too many times, so the old man dragged him in the office for a “come to jesus meetin’”.
by Big Bob Jul 28, 2004

The Mavens’ Word of the Day
December 18, 2000
come-to-Jesus meeting
(...)
When Wesleyan Methodist theology came to America, thousands of people responded to the essentially anti-liturgical message; the idea of a God made personal rather than remote appealed to many. Numerous charismatic preachers traveled the country, “saving” people as they went--one of the most famous was Aimee Semple McPherson. (The familiar Billy Graham crusades are an outgrowth of this, as well as several denominations, pentecostal or otherwise, that make up much of today’s evangelical Christian community.) These evangelists exhorted people at camp meetings to “come to Jesus” in language that was charged with emotion, vividly evoking the damnation that would come if a sinner did not repent. Coming to the altar--coming to Jesus-- involved walking through the crowd to the front, thus admitting your unworthiness and need for salvation publicly. The first come-to-Jesus meetings were camp meetings where you met your Redeemer face to face--with no priest to cushion the blow of the realization that your sins were making Him go on suffering, no saints to intercede on your behalf. 
(...)
“The come-to-Jesus moment for me in my understanding of all this came back in 1990,” says John Perry Barlow, the retired Wyoming cattle rancher and digital guru who is co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (Washington Post, November 2000)

The come-to-Jesus meeting took place on May 25 at a skybox at Nashville’s football stadium, where Gore had gone for a publicity event. He told Coelho that he needed to “work on your relationships.” (Newsweek, November 2000)

He’ll be meeting with his advisers there, but already they have said this is not a “come to Jesus” meeting, Tony. No plan for any woodshed scoldings. (Carl Cameron, reporting on G.W. Bush’s primary loss in New Hampshire, February 2000 on Fox news)

Jargon Database
Come To Jesus Meeting
A time when a polite ultimatum is given, generally followed by a less polite ulitimatum, then a threat. Drug and alcohol “interventions” are often refered to as “Come to Jesus Meetings”.

YAHOO! Answers
What is a come to jesus meeting?
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
A firm lecturing, no non sense dressing down, comparable a Fire and Brimstone revival meeting.

15 August 1983, Business Week, “Can Don Lennox Save Harvester?”, pg. 80:
Lennox insists that he pushes his subordinates to express opinions that contradict his own. “There have been major disagreements on some issues about what should be done,” he says. “I encourage people to disagree and discuss their viewpoints. On the other hand,” he adds, “I’m not running acome-to-Jesus meeting here.”

3 July 1989, Washington (DC) Post, “Some Costly Weapons Imperiled as Military Spending Is Rethought” by Molly Moore, pg. A9:
Said committee Chairman Les Aspin (D-Wis.): “At some point there will be a come-to-Jesus call on the B2,” requiring a keep-or-kill decision.

23 July 1989, Minneapolis (MN) Star-Tribune, “Fatal Neglect: Terri Rahn / To keep her kids, she tries to end patterns of past” by Paul McEnroe, pg. A1:
Crossing her means facing her wrath in what she calls a “Come to Jesus” meeting. 

POLITICO.com
Beck: GOP needs ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment
By MICHAEL CALDERONE | 2/20/10 8:20 PM EST
Fox News host Glenn Beck drew cheers from the conservative faithful Saturday evening with sharp criticism of Republicans and Democrats alike in a speech that repeatedly hit upon the theme of personal responsibility.
(...)
A recovering alcoholic, Beck talked about the path of redemption for politicians on the right side of the aisle.

“I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit they have a problem,” Beck said, adding that he’s waiting for a “come-to-Jesus” moment. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Sunday, February 21, 2010 • Permalink