My Sweet Lord

Some artist has fashioned a chocolate crucified Jesus and it has provoked a firestorm of criticism. I viewed a program last night on CNN where the artist was confronted by Bill Donahue of the Catholic League who maintained that this was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” Frankly the sculpture of Jesus in chocolate isn’t disgusting to me at all. I know there are many traditionalists who would be offended and apparently Mr. Donahue is one such person. Who knows whether Jesus was naked or not on the cross. There are no official photographs of the crucifixion and what after all did Jesus’ life and death proclaim. Jesus said, “”Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Did Bill Donahue miss that part of the gospel. What is it with these so-called spokesmen for Christianity and in this case Roman Catholicism who strain at the gnat of of chocolate Jesus yet swallow the camel of aggression against Iraq without flinching? Are they really followers of the crucified Jesus? What does it mean to follow Jesus?

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chocolate Jesus, Christianity, Catholic

4 Replies to “My Sweet Lord”

  1. *sigh* Personally, I wonder why the chocolate Jesus is bad but the cheaply mass produced Jesus pan is fine. Plastic rosaries possibly made by Chinese slave labor are fine, but a naked Jesus is Right Out. The Romans were hardly known for their compassionate respect for the Dignity of Man. I’d be willing to believe that those sentenced to die by torture were given the added indignity of doing so without a stitch to preserve modesty.

    Frankly, speaking as an artist, right now some interesting crucifixion scene ideas:

    Jesus dressed in an orange jumpsuit with bandaged eyes. The soldiers below playing electronic poker. The whole thing surrounded by loose loops of barbed wire.

    Jesus dressed in battle fatigues, possibly with one leg missing.

    Jesus dressed in a bag over his head, with electrodes attached to the sites of the 5 wounds. I’d make this one interactive, with a button below it. Possibly the button would start a sound recording with the “Eli, Eli…” said not in Aramaic, but in English and Arabic.

    No, they’re not pretty, and no, they’re not traditional. They’re not meant to be. I’d be very tempted to put an image of a hammer and nails on the gallery handout, were I to do this as a show.

    For the record, this isn’t even close to the type of art I make, but if I were going to do a crucifixion piece, this is how I’d do it.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate your crucifixion scenes. I hadn’t thought of them in that way. You’ve given me food for thought and prayer.

  3. As I said in my blog, my question is who is being crucified today? Who is being tortured and killed? Who is being denied as Peter denied Jesus?

    I think too many churches have been handing their followers “chocolate Jesus” or maybe “diet Jesus”: All the salvation, none of the compassion. Sweet but empty piety. When Jesus is used to justify war and oppression, do we not strip away the dignity of his teachings? What about when he is used to take resources from the poor to give to the rich? Pray for that Hummer so you won’t end up like “the least of these.”

    Where is the human fury that led him to overturn the moneylender’s stalls? Where is the compassion for the poor, the sick, the dispossessed? Where is the respect for the dignity of the widow in her poverty?

    Who is my neighbor, Lord? Is the Iraqi woman, terrified of the soldiers, of her countrymen, my neighbor? Is the young man being tortured in a secret prison my neighbor? The child killed in Darfur? Are the many still held in slavery my neighbors? The soldiers, scarred by war and ignored by their government, are they my neighbors?

    I, of course, have not seen the work in question, but I sincerely hope that the artist wished people to ask questions like these, to ask themselves in what ways they’ve already seen Jesus made into a chocolate Idol, in what ways we strip away the dignity of the prisoner. I have no way of knowing how it would have been shown, but from the picture on the BBC, I was impressed by the rendering of the lines of a suffering body. The tortured lines of hideous suffering and death, rendered in sweet milk chocolate, and it did cause me to think about how else we sugar coat the story of the Passion.

  4. Your writing directly influenced my thinking and I didn’t properly credit you for it. Thank you for keeping me honest. You got me to thinking about other images of the crucified in our midst. Thank you for your insights.

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