Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jesus is Black

Over the years I grew up in a church and we had a white Jesus. Despite the gap in the story about his skin color I bought it. After all, in Sunday school and such it was like Jesus loves you now go and color. More like white Jesus loves you. Our hymns havent been updated since the Dark Ages. That is what gets me about the Roman Catholic Church. Our pope is a raging homophobe who is anti-woman to boot, but they are changing some of the responses like that is the big problem and not the pedophile priests. I digress though.

I remember the first time I saw a black Jesus. I was a kid and my parents used to get these leaflets from Mary Knoll. When I opened it I saw a black Jesus. This distressed me. Jesus was fair. Looking back he would have burnt in that hot Middle Eastern sun. Actually he would have blistered like I often do. Me and my fair Jesus baking an dying. Nevermind a dying on the cross. Jesus was going to get heat stroke and in those days they didn't have sun block.

My mother explained Jesus was in their likeness and according to them Jesus was black. There was nothing wrong with it she explained. And it would have made more sense for Jesus to be dark skinned. Still, this was a lot.

Years later, we made friends with a family who were Christian missionaries in Africa. Bringing the word of God to lands torn by famine and war, they rode motorcycles everywhere. I asked if they were scared because missionaries are not often well liked on first arrival. Sometimes they are even killed, and more often than not tortured. They explained, "If you have fear and do not trust God, don't go." They worked amongst the jumping tribe, you know, like the guy in The Air Up There. Anyway they explained that all the Jesus's in those churches were black. I suppose whatever floated their boat, right?

When I got older I delivered a telegram to a black church where I saw a black Jesus for real. I write in my book that I felt Kanye West decorated the place. Personally I began to like the black Jesus depiction a little better. Not only was it more honest and real, but Jesus actually had better abs. He looked like someone who worked with his hands and lived hand to mouth as he was a wanted fugitive from kings. No, not because he was black. Although the hooker gal pal does not help the stereotype and neither does fish eating, but the depiction was more honest. Pat Robertson would have died, and I would have cheered.

I remember visiting a friend's more liberal church, New Light Presbyterian, when he was going to be ordained. In that church God did not have a gender pronoun. For the most part, the church was much more warm and welcoming than the Catholic congregation I grew up in. There was also a large gay and lesbian population. As progressive Christians everyone was welcome as long as they were baptized. I remember once I was talking to a woman and her partner after church about some of the coloring books for the kids and how they were older. They said it was a dead giveaway because Jesus was white.

Over the years I have seen depictions of Jesus as black, white, Asian, Spanish and everything else in between. He's like Madonna, always changing his looks. Wonder that they aren't better friends.

I mean, it's a wonder he doesn't hang out with Bill Clinton too. Jesus could have been classified as a pimp with his hooker girlfriend. Bill Clinton was jokingly referred to as the first black president because he smoked  cigars, liked white women with a big booty, and not to mention played the sax.

Who knows? We have a black president now. Perhaps America is finally ready for a black Jesus. As people we all have many colors. Hell, my third cousins are Jewish, part African American, and part Indian. If they want Jesus in their likeness I am for that too.

Happy Easter Everyone!


I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback available on Amazon and 877-Buy-Book
E-Book available on Kindle and Nook
Audiobook available on itunes and Audible this Spring
Portion of proceeds go to RAINN

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