Friday, March 25, 2016

Jesus, Does Color Matter?

In this short blog, I’m going to take a step outside of politics even though there are really some juicy things going on right now – what with nude photos showing up of Donald Trump’s wife and Trump telling Ted Cruse to be careful what he says about Mrs. Trump or he, the Donald, would tell-all about Senator Cruse’s wife. What? Crazy stuff!
by Charlie Leck

And, I’ve had another eerie visit, here in my study, from the Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the United States). I’ll tell you about that next time. In the meantime, think about this…

I had a conversation the other day, when I was in the city dropping off some canned-goods at my church’s emergency food-shelf, about the nationality characteristics of Jesus. A young fellow, who works at the church, was steaming because another employee had told him, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus was not really a white man, but was certainly a man of color. I sat the young man down, calmed him a bit and then asked why it was so important and so upsetting to him.

“Just cause it is! Jesus was a white guy. White like me!”

Wow! His face was red and his cheeks swelled and his eyes became like daggers! This was really important to him. I didn’t push my theories because I thought I could do the young fellow some serious damage and cause some discomfort. I let it go, trying only to reassure him a tad, telling him it was not an important issue.

“It doesn’t matter what color he was – not at all. What matters is who he was – and is – and what he means to us.”

Then I got home and found my mail, piled neatly by wife, next to my reading chair. I flipped through it casually and quite surprisingly came upon a story by Christina Cleveland, a professor at Duke University’s Divinity School: “Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters.”

How could anything be so coincidental? And, I'd just told the young man it didn't matter.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was from Galilee. He was from the Middle East. He probably would have had an olive or olive-bronze complexion, brown eyes and dark brown or black hair. It’s probably accurate to say he was Caucasian, but he was very likely part of the dark variety.

Most paintings we see of Jesus depict him as Aryan and that’s because these painting were done by white Europeans who were quite subjective in depicting the subject.

Professor Cleveland has this very certain thing to say about the historical Jesus (which I can fully accept)…

“When people who were on the outskirts gathered, Jesus was among them – not only because he ministered to them but because he was one of them. As an ethnic minority, Jesus didn’t simply care about people who were victims of Rome-sanctioned violence, he was a victim of Rome-sanctioned violence. Jesus didn’t simply care about refugees, Jesus was a refugee. Jesus didn’t simply care about the poor, he was poor. To Jesus, ministry meant knowing from the inside the pain of society’s most marginalized.”
And, Professor Cleveland wants us to ask ourselves if we have a problem following and worshiping a dark-skinned Jesus.


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