Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spritual Game Change

If the real Jesus suddenly appeared, most American Christians would have a serious crisis on their hands. All of those relatively well-fed, mostly white, predominately Republican Americans who identify as evangelicals would be forced to confront what to them must be a disturbing fact: The god to whom they’ve prayed and confided in all of their lives, the all-loving, all-knowing personal savior with whom they’ve shared their innermost hopes, fears, and desires is, well, a swarthy, kind of smallish Hebrew.

They were expecting this guy:

But this is the fellow who showed up:

I think this would put a zap on the white Christian psyche. I really do. It would create a game change in the spiritual life of our nation. They wouldn’t admit to it now, of course. They’d rush to assure you that skin color doesn’t matter. But all you have to do is look at their earthly political views to see this isn’t true. It would have the same fatuous ring as when they say don’t hate homosexuals, just homosexuality (we don’t hate the sinner, just the sin). When Gary Bauer or Ralph Reed envision their Lord, do you honestly think they picture a brown dude?

Sure, they might have bumper stickers that say “My God is a Jewish carpenter,” but it’s unlikely that they’ve ever considered what that really means. Jewish people in ancient Palestine didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. The natives of that region, then as now, tend to have dark hair and a more tawny hue. He wouldn’t have looked like Jeffrey Hunter in King of Kings.

And as a carpenter, Jesus, even at the age of 32, would have probably been prematurely aged — wrinkled, leathery and weather beaten, perhaps even stooped and arthritic. It’s a hard enough profession in the age of power tools. Think of how arduous it must have been without them.

If he showed up on the set of The 700 Club, he’d be rudely sent away and told that the cleaning crew wasn’t allowed in until after midnight. Some of them, momentarily forgetting their aversion to big government, would probably report him to the Department of Homeland Security.

If he popped off and said something like, “Woe unto you that are rich, for ye hath received your consolation,” he’d really be ass out. Mitt Romney wouldn’t even give him a job cleaning his swimming pools.

Unless he could manage to squeeze some Republican partisanship and free market ideology into the Beatitudes, he’d find out real quick that a messiah who preaches humility and love has no niche in modern America. His skill sets would not be needed.

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