What Jesus do you follow?

According to Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, authors of ReJesus, Dorothy Sayers drew quite the attention when she published her advent plays, He that Should Come and the better known The Man Born to Be King.  Western Christians have pretty well managed to ensconce Jesus in dream like stories about his birth and infancy.  In effect, Sayers believed we like Jesus to be there.  If he is, we really don’t have to take his claims and life too seriously.  And, who would want to be disturbed by Jesus, especially at Christmas?  When criticized for her real and raw presentation of Jesus, she remarked:

If you mixed as much as I do with people to whom the Gospel story seems to be nothing but a pretty fairy tale, you would know how much of their contemptuous indifference is due to one fact: that never for one moment have they seen it as a real thing, happening to a living people.  Nor, indeed, are they fully convinced that Christians believe in its reality. (Hirsch and Frost, 23.)

A number of years ago when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was released, I was asked to lead a discussion at a local Border’s Book Shop.  The discussion was to be geared to Gibson’s portrayal in comparison to other movies about Jesus and his passion.  In preparation, I reviewed the last few decades of films about Jesus.   Sadly, nearly every film painted a portrait of a nice effeminate and proper man.  One found it strange that the authorities sought to murder him given his gentle helpful way of life.  Gone were the scandalous moments of anger, the harsh cutting sermons, and the offensive acts of compassion that defied the religious sensibilities of the time.  I saw a Jesus I did not know, and one I really did not care to follow.  On the contrary, like Sayers’ depiction, many who watched The Passion were offended by the brutality.  Here Jesus experienced the kind of pain and the sense of forlornness we have known well. We found Jesus real, one with whom we could identify.

Following Christmas, I review my own film about Jesus.  How do I see him?  What Jesus do I/you follow?

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on July 18, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Grateful.

    Reply

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