View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Black Jesus

I wonder how some fundamentalists with react to this one.

A South African film about to debut at the Sundance Film Festival depicts Jesus as a contemporary Black in an African state amidst war and poverty.

According to the accounts I’ve read about Son of Man, the movie sticks close to the basic Gospel message. Jesus' mother is a virgin. He teaches his disciples to put down their weapons - guns - and use non-violence. He is crucified by authorities who fear him. He rises from the dead.

Sounds fine to me.

Apparently there is some controversy, though, because of the political spin given the Gospel story.

"We wanted to look at the gospels as if they were written by spindoctors and to strip that away and look at the truth," director Mark Dornford-May told Reuters in an interview.

"The truth is that Christ was born in an occupied state and preached equality at a time when that wasn't very acceptable."

I wonder, too, if portraying Jesus as Black might not bother some folks.

By portraying Jesus as a black African, Dornford-May hopes to sharpen the political context of the gospels, when Israel was under Roman occupation, and challenge Western perceptions of Christ as meek, mild and European.

"We have to accept that Christ has been hijacked a bit -- he's gone very blonde haired and blue-eyed," he said. "The important thing about the message of Christ was that it is universal. It doesn't matter what he looked like."
(I agree.)

The article goes on to note, “His resurrection is meant to signal hope for Africa, the world's poorest continent which is sometimes dismissed by foreigners as a hopeless mess of conflict and corruption.”

I haven’t seen it. Based on what I’ve read, I think I will.


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