I’m currently reading Mud and Poetry by Tyler Blanski. This is an absolutely fantastic book which I would recommend to everyone. He speaks honestly and blatantly about Christian sexuality and how the ideals of sex have been warped and diluted in this current day by both the church and society as a whole. But, that’s not exactly what inspired me to go to all the effort to turn on my computer, decipher the code to my father-in-law’s wifi, and take this little opportunity to pour out my thoughts onto my laptop.
Blanski gave a short rant about what most Christians mentally envision when they think of Jesus. He spoke of a widely popular painting done in the 1940’s which helped shape the current vision of our effeminate, delicate, blue eyed, Middle Eastern Jesus with the token spotlight shining down from the heavens like he’s Roma Downey on Touched by an Angel. I don’t know of the specific painting that he referenced, but I definitely know the idea he’s presenting. I hate this idea!!
Jesus was a guy. He was a guy who lived with 12 other guys traveling throughout cities and deserts fellowshipping with people and proclaiming the truth. Obviously the conspirators who created the current image of Jesus never lived in a guys’ college dorm or were members of an Elk’s club or hung out watching football, drinking, and playing pool with a group of guys. (Okay, maybe the Elk’s club thing is a bad example. I have no idea what happens in an Elk’s club, but it seems like a pretty masculine place where guys hang out, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and celebrate being men. I don’t exactly know where the elk come into play, but they’re pretty much a monstrous deer so I suppose that’s pretty masculine. Having a huge set of antlers like that would be totally awesome too…but I digress).
As I was saying, Jesus was a man. I realize that he was fully man and fully God, but I think that we sometimes forget about the first part. All the paintings of Jesus and the movies about his life portray a sullen, melancholy gentleman with crisp white robes and a consistently docile expression. Once again, has the creator of this myth ever lived in a guys’ dorm? I think Jesus was funny. I think that he was probably funny as hell! (or heaven…but neither are actually funny…hmm…) My Jesus was a real prankster who would occasionally get laughing so hard at something stupid that Andrew or John did that he ended up rolling in the sand howling with laughter. I seriously can’t imagine a group of guys traveling hundreds of miles with each other and not occasionally having a good time. I love road trips with my guy friends because it’s the place where men can truly be themselves. I realize that some of the times were certainly grave and serious considering the nature of Jesus’ ministry and the method in which He was leaving the earth; however, don’t you think that there was an occasional, “your Mom” joke or “that’s what she said” being thrown around? Jesus farted and pooped. He probably peed next to cacti and olive trees in the wilderness and bathed naked in streams with the rest of the disciples just hanging out and living life as a man. He probably mooned Peter at least once and thought it was a hoot when Peter reciprocated the favor, and the disciples probably had conversations about masturbation. I’d imagine he scratched his balls like a normal guy does, and it’s pretty likely that junior high Jesus was embarrassed when he’d get erections for no reason. I wonder if Joseph ever had to give pre-pubescent Jesus “the talk.”
The first miracle Jesus performed was turning water into wine in order to keep a wedding celebration going. I can’t imagine him doing this with a droopy face and a jaded sense of obligation that it was now time to begin his ministry. I think Jesus turned that water into wine, poured himself a glass, then hit the dance floor to celebrate life and a marriage that was created as an archetype of his Father’s love for us. I don’t think that Jesus was drunk because he’s clearly stated that he doesn’t endorse drunkenness, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t enjoy a good glass of wine. He obviously had exquisite taste since the hosts of the party were shocked that his wine was better than anything that had been served yet that night. (This would be a great transition into my thoughts on wine being served in heaven and how we’ll have perfect bodies which means livers that can breakdown alcohol quickly. Therefore, I say hooray for drinking all day long without worrying about getting drunk and even better—NO HANGOVERS!!!) Ok…back on topic.
Jesus had dinner and frequented parties thrown by swindling tax collectors and solicitous prostitutes. He poured his love into these people and showed them what living really was while opening his heart and displaying a sense of vulnerability. I just don’t think that a pious, reserved, crisp and clean, virginal looking character would be the type of person to reach out to the kinds of people with whom Jesus spent his time. He was a carpenter with rough hands, dirty clothes, and a badass temperament which wasn’t going to take crap from the Pharisees or let women and children be forgotten.
I’ve rambled for a while here, but I think this rambling is simply my attempt to process and envision what a being is really like that fully embodies humanity and deity. Somewhere between a depthless 1940’s painting and a rowdy college guy we have the most wondrous being to ever hang out on earth. He probably never totally fit in anywhere. He was never prim and proper and self righteous enough to be accepted in the synagogue, but he had a certain aura about him that made the frequenters of the Israeli bars and brothels realize that he wasn’t a typical visitor. I suppose that this is what it means to be in the world but not of it. Jesus didn’t avoid going to any of these places. He entered both cathedrals and cabarets, but he didn’t let either location change who he was or how he acted or alter his reason for being on earth.
That’s my Jesus.