Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jesus Kicks Ass!

"... Some here will remember the dictums (dare I call them “battle-cries”?) of that muscular Christianity that once reigned in these lands – in Canada and in the US: “No cross, no crown!” “No pain, no gain.” 
-- Bishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America.

A post by Fr. Mark Harris over at his blog, Preludium, that included this quote from Bishop Duncan on Muscular Christianity got me to playing with Google Image Search.
Here's what I found.

Honestly folks, I can't tell whether these pictures are satire or serious.

This last one of Super Jesus breaking his cross makes me think of a similar (and much finer) image by a true believing Marxist, Jose Clemente Orozco, the great Mexican muralist from the 20th century.

Christ takes an axe to the Cross and cuts down the sacrificial role assigned to him by obscurantist priests. He raises his left fist to declare His new role as embodiment of the awakened proletariat. Orozco has a point here.   Jesus was a carpenter.  He probably had a union card.  

Orozco certainly liked the idea of "muscular" Christianity just as much as Bishop Duncan. But, Orozco was an atheist who believed that priests like Duncan were nothing more than agents of the bank.

Rembrandt, that pansy Amsterdam liberal, didn't like the idea of "muscular" Christianity, or Warrior Jesus, at all. Hero Jesus was for Rubens and the Catholics down in Antwerp (and in verbal form for the extreme Gomarist Calvinists in Rembrandt's native Leyden).
Rembrandt imagined Christ as a very ordinary man with an ordinary build suffering as any ordinary person would dying in extreme pain. He doesn't look like He could put up much of a fight, or kick anyone's ass -- sorta like all the rest of us.   

Rembrandt would say that's the whole point.


NancyP said...

I am pretty sure that at least some of the first three images are "for real" and not satire. I have seen other images of Jesus holding a gun. And you remember the hoo-hah over Ted Haggard, and perhaps the images in his church, which featured gym-rat angels and young men.

June Butler said...

The first three pictures are painful to look at - blasphemous if they are serious. Thanks for the antidotes from real artists.

Anonymous said...

one of these days, will give us a "like" button option. thanks, doug.

Lynn said...

I agree with Mimi - those first images are blasphemous. And with you, Counterlight, that Rembrandt used the appropriate imagery.

We make a mockery of the real human lifetime of Jesus with the Rambo persona. I guess some people think that Christ descended into heaven, and went to the gym, and started shootin' skeet. Pretty scary.

Counterlight said...

I could be wrong, but wasn't "No cross, no crown!" a slogan of the anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish No-Nothings in the early 19th century?