Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Jesus Film of Colour!

There are a number of things in life that make me cringe; one such thing are pictures of a long-haired, blue-eyed white Jesus in a Christian home, school, or place of worship in Jamaica.

I’ve got great respect of the producers of the most watched film in history, the Jesus Film, but I think the ethnic hue of the cast continues strengthen the perception that whiteness is superior.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT anti-white, in fact, some of my best friends are white – externally and internally – and, on a whole, I’ve felt more accepted by them for my blackness than I have by my fellow country folk! Also, I’m not against pictures of a Caucasian Jesus as such, neither am I convinced that the vast majority of pictures (for any for that matter!) of a white Jesus present in Jamaica have been disseminated by white supremacists. Nonetheless, given the historical treatment of blacks by white Europe and how that legacy has affected our psychology of blackness and whiteness, I think it’s counterproductive to have towering pictures of a White Messiah hung in our various institutions.

Now, I don’t believe that the Lord Jesus Christ IS (after all, he has not abandoned his humanity [1Tim 2:5]) a negro, nonetheless I don’t think he is Caucasian either! I think he's a person of colour. (A number of whites have expressed horror and disbelief when they hear me say Jesus isn’t white!) To many blacks the white image continues to represent white superiority and the view that whites are the font of all good including salvation, and therefore they [blacks] are the eternal beneficiaries of a White Messiah.

Given 1) my conviction that Jesus is a man of colour (though not a negro) and that 2) art needn’t be a depiction of historical reality [and no drawing of Jesus would be correct in the sense for no one today knows exactly what he looked like] but can be metaphorical, in our context, I think it’s both right and good to make representations of our Lord that reflect our reality – say a picture of a strong black man with the physical characteristics of negroes – dark skin, thick lips, woolly hair, flat broad nose.... Pictures of this sort could represent certain characteristics of our Lord such as strength, power, endurance, etc....

It’s time for black people to do their drawings and make their own movies of Jesus - and other Biblical characters.

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