I shouldn’t be saying anything shocking.
I shouldn’t be saying anything controversial.
I shouldn’t be saying anything new.
I shouldn’t need to say this, but….
Hopefully, most of you reading this already know that, and I don’t need to convince you of this point. Unfortunately, we live in a very strange world where we give very big megaphones to very ignorant people.
As a case in point, if you skip to 1:50 of this video, a Fox News correspondent clearly states Jesus was white.
So we’re clear, this pundit has an audience of 2 million viewers (based on a quick Google search). I have nowhere near 2 million people reading my ramblings, and I try to stay clear of making statements which are that out of touch with reality.
Can we stop for one second think about this? Jesus was from the Middle East. He wasn’t from France, or the UK, or Massachusetts. He was born in the Middle East to people from the Middle East. To suggest that Jesus was a good looking white male with flowing long hair is ignorant at best, and racist at worst.
There’s a hilarious scene in the movie Talladega Nights where Will Ferrell prays to his favorite version of Jesus, sweet little baby Jesus. This launches his family into a fight over whether it’s appropriate to pray to a baby, and then everyone starts describing their favorite version of Jesus. As funny as the scene is, it’s unfortunately all too true. We may not be so over-the-top as to want our Jesus in a tuxedo t-shirt, but there’s something very off when we have actual skin color preference for Jesus based off of something other than history and fact.
A few years back, some researchers attempted to create an image of what a historic Jew from the first century in Israel would have looked like. This is what they came up with:
So we’re clear, I’m not endorsing this as an accurate depiction of what Jesus actually looked like. What I am saying is that Jesus most likely liked like this image than like Jim Caviezel.
This is a bit of a pet peeve for a reason. For five strange years of my life, I decided to grow out my hair long. Being a white male with long straight blondish hair, this inevitably led to countless, “Hey you look like Jesus,” comments. To this day, people still make comments like, “Remember back when you looked like Jesus?” I work with teenagers, so I have pretty thick skin for light-hearted comments, but I’m also not a fan of bad theology and history. Never in my life has anyone ever confused me for someone from the Middle East, but I’ve probably had at least 100 people use 22 year old me as a reference point for Jesus.
I honestly don’t understand how Jesus’ ethnicity is still a point of contention. I understand how, based on tradition and racial preference, we still hang pictures of a white Jesus on our walls and cast white European males as Jesus. I’m not endorsing white Jesus, but I understand why that would be the Jesus some people would be most comfortable with.
These are the types of insights which cause people to think evangelical Christianity is intellectually bankrupt. We can’t carry on with blatantly ignorant positions and think it won’t have a trickle down effect into other areas.
Why do you think we keep perpetuating these blatantly false images of Jesus?