I’m tempted to quip something vaguely Voltairean about god being shaped in our image, but won’t. Personally, I don’t think that attempting to “rehabilitate” the image of Jesus is likely to do any good. People have already hardened their views about whether he’s a left-wing rabble-rouser or a right-wing culture warrior. Moreover, rehabilitating him for purposes of political discourse automatically puts us on wingnut turf – we’ve ceded that a mytho-religious figure has some sort of relevance to our politics, and I’m uncomfortable with that. I’m not saying that we should ignore the fact that Jezuz undoubtedly does have an impact on our politics, but if we’re going to argue for secular politics, the last thing we need to do engage in a debate about WWJD if he was elected president.
that was very eloquent wobs. and thanks pj, for throwing this subject out in front of this eclectic group of folks.
as of late this is an issue that has been coming up for me in my art-work. jesus/ christianity is a subject that i have long avoided. one of the problems with “lefties” or artists specifically picking jesus out of the crowd of historical figures to re-invent (or at least re-illuminate) is that his followers have caused so bloody much ill will for our kin over the last 2000 years that it has become extremely difficult to separate the actual man and his beliefs from ‘the flock”.
it seems redundant to mention that our issues with the current right-wing demographic and the insipid war in iraq not only stem from greed for oil/ strategic global positioning, but have also been developed from an archetypal apocalyptic p.o.v. lifted from the biblical book of revelations. it is endemic of the stupidity that causes christians to read the bible literally, instead of through a lens of history/ theology.
and even in the current election that brews, we are still dealing with issues like Obama’s name (is he some sort of freakin’ muslim?!!). dare i sound like a naysayer, but we are still dealing with a country that voted/ nearly voted W in to office two terms in a row mostly based on a religious set of beliefs.
i’ll let you all in on a little secret: I am still scared of christians…
Although I too am inclined to categorize everything as “politics,” I seriously think y’all are underestimating people’s spiritual beliefs, not to mention the millions of JC believers outside of these U.S. boundaries. Freaky, fundamentalist, conservative christians get a helluva lot more press than the millions of Christians out there who do a lot good for society – I mean a crazy amount of good. Frankly, what I’ve read and studied about JC is nothing but cool. I’m certainly not afraid of Christians because I was raised by great people who believe (of course, I also have family members who I wouldn’t trust my teddy bear with). I think of Christ as one of the most radical activists ever (not without sin, siblings, or children). Of course it’s all about interpretation. But seriously, have you read the Gospels? He said some amazing – really amazing – stuff. Just like with other holy books, no matter who wrote and edited the words and when, there’s plenty to learn – and interpret. I think to discount the spiritual dimension of JC or any religion is a mistake in terms of formal politics, which is why I also don’t think “we” can reclaim Christ for political purposes without addressing these discrepancies first.