“I Care What Jesus Looks Like”

This essay was originally published on April 6, 2015 by Faithstreet’s OnFaith, a religion news and option website, originally owned by the Washington Post. 

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For most of my life, I assumed Jesus was an effeminate white guy. Of course, that had something to do with the fact that every depiction I saw confirmed that: shoulder-length brown hair, blue eyes, creamy skin, clean-shaven face, slim figure. Basically, Jesus looked a lot like me.

The result was that I felt all cozy around Jesus. I felt extra comfortable about sidling up to a guy who habitually cradled babies and lambs in the crook of his delicate arms. He was not the sort of guy who would have guzzled beer while shouting at his favorite team on TV. He was not the type who drooled over his computer watching porn. And, for heaven’s sake, he did not curse his mother under his breath when he stubbed his toe.

All of this made him more like me: an ordinary, cute, and prudish white American Christian. How nice! Maybe Jesus and I could drink tea on a loveseat in heaven one day and discuss our feelings about the apocalypse. (After all, the Jesus I knew would make a great talk therapist.)

But a few months ago, my husband led a group of Christians we know in an exercise where we viewed and discussed any and all depictions of Jesus we could find. To be honest, I was unsettled.

Read the rest of the essay at OnFaith. 

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