So, I have this Jesus bobble-head. It’s ridiculous really. It sits on the desk across from my bed, looking at me with its goofy messianic expression. My wife hates the thing. However, there’s really no getting rid of it. I mean, you can’t throw away Jesus. That’d be disrespectful. Almost as disrespectful as… a Jesus bobble-head. So I keep it, partially because it’s hilarious, partially because I like sacrilegious things. The other day it was doing its bobble-thing and I said, “Look honey! We’ve been waiting on a move from the Lord, haven’t we?” She put her hand over her face, fighting back both horror and laughter. Man, I love that thing.
I remember the whole “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirt craze about a decade ago. It was all edgy, you know… because Jesus wasn’t supposed to be… urban? I’m not sure. All I know is that it created a backlash of opposing t-shirts and bumper stickers with the rebuttal of “Jesus isn’t my homeboy. He’s my king!” Oh, and no one will ever forget that song that came out with the audacity to proclaim “I am a friend of God.” Phhssst. God has no time for friends. I don’t know why, but that song “Yes lord, yes lord, yes yes lord…” got thrown under the bus at the same time. But we could talk about bad Christian music all day. The point is that all of a sudden it was taboo to convey Jesus as anything less than a fourteenth century feudal lord.
Now, I do understand there is a thing called reverence. Certain things are indeed sacred to many. This should be respected. We Occupy Jesus is all about bringing much needed positive PR to the legacy of the Jesus narrative. I am in full support of religious freedom of expression. I admit, there is a lot of expression going on. When you look online, there is a plethora of crude and satirical representations of Jesus, including Raptor Jesus, Zombie Jesus, Alien Jesus, Gay Jesus, and the most bizarre of them all…
We must stop this madness!
But when I look across to my bobble-head savior, I think to myself… “That’s not Jesus.” Obvious, of course, but important to note. I’m not making fun of actual Jesus. I’m not reducing any literal notion of the historical and/or theological Jesus to a childish toy. It’s just a dumb bobble-head. And to my embarrassment, it’s also the “White Jesus” model.
When I go online and witness the circus surrounding the person of Jesus, I rarely think these depictions represent anyone’s real thoughts concerning the man from Nazareth. At best they are an example of an overactive sense of humor, and at worst they are examples of a sheer disbelief in Jesus and/or religion. I don’t think Jesus would take it personally (but White Jesus would be pissed). Do Christians really think Jesus’ temper is raging out of control due to this sacrilege? Are people really going to hell because they make an internet meme, or merely laugh at one?
I make fun of many Christian things all the time. I try (keyword: try) to tone it down around those who are easily offended. I don’t make fun because I think Christianity is wrong, or dumb. I just see past the veils of religious theatre that put Jesus on stage as something he is not. If your Jesus gets offended by “Homeboy” t-shirts, well… your Jesus is just as comical as raptor Jesus. If your Jesus gets angry when Project Runway comes on the air, your Jesus is more ridiculous than Alien Jesus.
“But my Jesus is the real Jesus! The one true Jesus! The alpha and the omega!” you say. “You shall bow down and respect him!” you say.
We need to be honest with ourselves. Christian or not. Theist or atheist. Our ideas of Jesus are merely that… ideas. I’m not saying Jesus isn’t real. I’m saying every conception of him we hold is essentially our own. It is much like a memory. We can remember countless moments from our past, but they are merely re-creations of a former reality. The church, Christianity, our religions, our beliefs, they are built upon those former things.
When a ridiculous version of Jesus is mocked, it is the absurd idea that is under siege, not God or his son. My bobble-head pokes fun of society and its fixation with making Jesus so commercial. That is what is being ridiculed, not Jesus himself. To suggest such trivial things are cause for eternal retribution truly offends me, because this also suggests Jesus somehow represents the self-absorbed, those preoccupied with t-shirts instead of humanity.
What is most offensive is Robot Jesus, the same old, tired, mechanical Jesus that the fraudulently pious wind up and clap their hands to each week. Robot Jesus does what you want him to do, what you expect him to do. You can dress him up however you like. You can put him away when you’re sick of him.
You can also flip the switch on his back from love to kill.
If you value and respect what Jesus stood for, we ask you to join us here at We Occupy Jesus. We have plenty of robots to smash.
Would you like to borrow a hammer?