Sunday, December 10, 2006

Neither Black Nor White

A front page story in today's The Tennessean discusses depictions of Jesus, in both pictures and in the performing arts, as a black man. Jesus, of course, was a Jewish man born in the Middle East, and he looks neither like the depictions of him as an epheminate European male nor like those picturing him as black. Nonetheless, such portrayals can be a harmless, or even beneficial, form of contextualization, but a statement by the director of a theater company presenting a nativity play at Tennessee State University shows how easy it is to cross the line into something else: "I think it's this idea that you can make God in your image or my image and that's OK."

Well, no its not. To remake God in my image is idolatry.

Years ago, The Oracle found himself to be the object of much anger when he suggested to a group of church members that a picture of the European Jesus was idolatrous when used as an aid to worship. It is unfortunate that other ethnic groups would copy the same mistake.


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