Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/aug/26/jesus-macho-makeover

The Guardian reports on a ‘very muscular brand of Christianity’ and tells us that Jesus has had a ‘macho makeover’.

‘When you hear the name Jesus, is the first image that comes to mind a dewy-eyed pretty boy with flowing locks? If so, think again. After 2,000 years, the Messiah is getting a makeover. This time he’s less “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” and more of a kick-ass action hero – a Chuck Norris in sandals.’

But as usual, The Guardian misses the point when it comes to masculinity- this is not a macho makeover at all for The Messiah, it is a metrosexual makeover. And Jesus is looking prettier than ever. With flowing locks and dewy eyes, and the compulsory manly beard.

‘It’s artist Stephen Sawyer, whose paintings of the Son of God as a tattooed biker and boxer have captured the imagination of Christian men searching for a more manly role model. As Kentucky-based Sawyer, 58, points out: “I scarcely think Jesus could have overturned the tables of the money-lenders and driven them from the temple if he was a wimp. The model I use for my paintings is a surfer guy who’s built like a brick shithouse.’

Yes dear, and are not surfers as self-regarding and image conscious as any man? I find it funny that people who believe in something as metaphysical as God, suddenly need to make images of his Son ‘realistic’. This dude walked on water and turned water into wine and cured the sick and the disabled. I don’t think he needed a six pack to do all that did he? The change to the images of Jesus are cosmetic. Like the changes to masculinity in general.

But the new buff, tatooed pretty boy Jesus seems to be trying, like The Church itself, to be a vision of retrosexual ‘muscular’ masculinity. As  MS wrote, in relation to a very macho, very whiny, very homophobic pastor in America:

‘I’m grateful to Mr Anderson and his Xstian fundamentals for making it quite clear where much of America’s problem with metrosexuality and the ‘gender neutral movement’ as he calls it (fingers interlocking, intimating the horror of a world of mutuality) comes from.

God hates metros.’

So the worrying thing for me, is that this new-look Jesus is just another re-incarnation of that now familiar trope – ‘macho’ metrosexual denial. And that it is not just an American disease but is spreading to the UK. As The Guardian notes (or rather doesn’t), this metro-anxiety is illustrated by

‘the rising number of conferences and sermons aimed at men that present a more muscular version of Jesus, along with the continuing success of Christian lad’s mag Sorted.’

Real Men Love Jesus.

The Guardian have presented this story as comical. And I can see the funny side. But it is an example of what I consider to be a serious problem in contemporary culture- the association of ‘manliness’ with ‘goodness’. And the ridiculous contortions men get into to prove that association, whilst still maintaining a religious devotion to their metro skincare and grooming routines.

I quite liked this comment though, from below the line on the Guardian piece:

‘Wow Jesus Christ……is hot!!

I think i’ve been re-born…’

h/t @FennerPearson – REACH OUT AND TOUCH ME!


When you came to after the operation, you looked just like a newborn baby. Your hair was plastered to your face with sweat, as if from the heroic exertion of pushing your way out of the womb fully grown. So what if the blue nylon hospital gown made an ill-fitting swaddling robe? Or if the drip by your side was pumping you with morphine, not milk? I wanted to hold you in my arms all the same as if I’d delivered you myself. Some midwife I would be, though – all I could do on this joyous occasion was to sit on the side of your bed and weep.
I thought that the Easter story was all about how Jesus suffered and died for our sins, so that we could go on being flawed mortals without too much hassle. He did the hard work for us, what with the cross, and the thorns and the dying and all. According to your precious Bible (Romans, 6): ‘as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in the newness of life’. But it didn’t work out like that for us. Anyway, noone asked Jesus what life is like the second time round; I’m betting it isn’t much fun. Nobody can erase what has gone before, not even the Messiah.

Ulcerative colitis is a bastard of a disease. I won’t go into too much medical detail here. To be honest, I can’t face going back over the definitions and diagnoses. Basically it involves the colon becoming infected and ulcerated so food can’t be digested properly. It comes in varying degrees of severity, and in your case almost the whole damn thing had to be taken out or else you would have died. The operation that saved your life also left you with a bit of your inside poking out, pink and tender – a lonely sea anenome washed up on the beach. The doctors put it into a bag and sent you home.

This was the moment where I was supposed to rise to the occasion; to be a devoted disciple. I think Mary Magdelene would have done a better job, but I was all you could find at the time. I wanted to run. To tell you I’m sorry but this wasn’t what I signed up for. That beautiful blue-eyed boy with the floppy fringe, the Bruce Springsteen collection and the love of Joyce, I want him back. Instead I bit my lip and tried to pretend it was all ok. Maybe there was something of the martyr in me after all. A martyr in a sulk. ‘It’s not fair!’ my inner teenager cried.
Inevitably our sex life suffered. We transformed ourselves overnight, from a pretty adventurous, amorous pair, into a Victorian married couple. Lights out, barely a word from either of us. The rustle of clothes coming off in the dark. The embarrassing elephant in the room that we didn’t speak of; we just heard it the slap of plastic against flesh and the slooshing of waste products inside. I think I used to hold my breath. I know I caught myself counting in my head: one, two, three, four… it never did last long before we turned over and went to sleep.

Sometimes life was kind of like how it used to be. We would drink endless cups of tea in the living room, or get pissed with your brother. I always had to shout to be heard over your voices and the wonderful but too loud music: Bonny Prince Billy, Nick Cave, Kraftwerk, The Fall. I’ve never met anyone before or since, that can hold forth on Derrida’s theory of difference, whilst simultaneously enjoying the might of ‘Leave The Capital’ or ‘Bengali in Platforms’ at full volume. But the night can’t last forever. In the end we had to make the long march upstairs to bed. Once you told me you were glad I was there, because nobody else would want you. What was I supposed to do with that? I locked it away in a box marked: ‘suppress’.

We broke up. But our relationship resurrected itself, only to die again, for good this time. I’m pretty sure Jesus is living for eternity as a single guy; I don’t know about you, or me for that matter, maybe this is our stint in the wilderness. I haven’t seen you for a few years and I don’t know how you are. When I bumped into your mate Ed at that folk festival a while back, he told me you’d had the ‘reversal’ procedure. I think that means you don’t need a colostomy bag anymore. This worries me a little, as you could get sick again, with your insides in instead of out. But there is a part of me that is purely curious, that wants to see what your body looks like now. Is it back to its former lithe glory I wonder, are you getting the girls and the boys like you used to? Show me, I want to see! Goes my inner five-year old.

You will of course have scars. But then so do I; it’s just you can’t see mine. They say that even after 2000 odd years, Jesus still has marks on his hands from where the nails went in.