This is an original song I wrote back in 1993! I was inspired to do a flip video of it for my spiritual blog-a-song category because of the painting in the video which was created by my mother-in-law, Phyllis Kelly-Bouza, and is a replication of a stained glass window in one of our churches in Boise.
The song has also inspired me to blog about what a picture of Jesus causes people to think about and a commentary about separating Christ from the Christian subculture that has morphed into ‘quite the thing’ as the years have gone by. I’d love to hear what you think too, so comments are welcome (but, as always, no pressure)!
Think About Him
When you see a picture of Jesus what do you think about?
A guy with long brown hair and flowing robes? An ancient teacher-prophet who spoke often of love and mercy? The Passion of Christ movie?
Perhaps you think of a kind neighbor or relative who is a follower of Christ, who touched your life when you were once in crisis. Or maybe someone iconic comes to mind, like Mother Theresa. There’s no doubt that many followers of Christ are good people who truly help others.
More often than not, though, when you encounter his likeness (or what we think is his likeness), your thoughts can turn quickly to recent unsavory scandals in Christendom. We’ve all heard about the epidemic of Catholic priests who betrayed the trust of their parishioners by preying on their innocent children. Then from the Protestant side there’s Ted Haggard, the former leader of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and now ex-pastor of a mega church in Colorado, who fell from grace when it was found out he paid a gay man for sex and methamphetimine use over a 3 year period. It was the hypocrisy of his public stand against homosexuality while he participated in his double life (extramarital homosexual affairs) that caused an outrage outside the Christian community.
In addition to scandalous affairs, how about something closer to home? With a quick click of a remote you can see a man in a suit on TV earnestly encouraging (begging) you to send him seed faith money in Jesus Name, to ensure you receive from God all you need. Not quite sure about the logic behind giving him our money to make us close to God, but he will tell you this 5 minutes into his TV show!
I’d be remiss not to mention the latest female celebrity from the Bible Beltway making the circuit around the US, sporting a business suit, chic short hair cut and million-dollar smile. She would like to send you a free signed copy of her latest book after you send HER an offering check. Her books seem to be well distributed in every Christian Book store in the USA which begs asking BOOKSTORES, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? Don’t you guys screen what you sell? Have her books been scrutinized beforehand for theological validity? Oh that’s right, forgot about the bottom line – she apparently sells LOTS of books.
I’d rather call to mind the caring, unassuming neighbors, thank you. They would be the ones there for me in my times of trouble if I needed them. Suit Guy and Bible Belt Blonde Girl might be able to pray for me through a TV screen (by laying hands on my check!) but that’s not going to help me in crisis.
I have yet to mention the personal experience within a church or religious community that can affect how we feel towards Deity. How we are treated by people within our social sphere has a huge impact on whether we remain open or not. Anytime there’s human interaction there’s potential for affirmation or hurt in varying degrees. We all need to try to take great care in how we treat each other yet there are so many factors on why we do what we do, or don’t do. Perhaps that’s why Jesus emphasized love when asked what is the greatest commandment in the Law: (Matthew 12:37-40) Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you wince when you come across a Jesus picture or painting, do you think it could be that those who behave badly in his name are the cause of your uneasy feelings? Although there are many fine, compassionate people who claim Jesus as their own, it’s the ones who distort who he is who seem to get the most press these days. And that does affect our opinion of Christ himself.
The next time you come across an Image of Christ, I challenge you to picture him as the one who existed long before the Christian SubCulture morphed into what it is today. When you strip away the religious rhetoric, the long list of do’s and don’ts and fancy incantations, along with the human hypocricy, Jesus stands amazingly on his own merit. Don’t let the spirit of who he is, and what he did for mankind, get lost in the hype and the clutter of misrepresentation.
Simply think about him and what he can do for you.