Friday, September 2, 2011

Jesus Was No "Girlie-man"

I love this post from Msgr. Charles Pope on Jesus.
When I was a teenager in the 1970s Jesus was presented in less than flattering terms, at least from my standpoint as a young man at that time. The paintings and statues of that day presented Jesus as a rather thin, willow-wisp of a man, a sort of friendly but effeminate hippie, a kind of girlyman, who went about blessing poor people and healing the sick. It is true he did that but usually left out of the portraits was the Jesus who summoned people to obedience and an uncompromising discipleship, the Jesus who powerfully rebuked his foes.

1970s Jesus was “nice,” and I should be nice too. In my 1970s Church we had no crucifix. Rather there was a cross and a rather slender and starry eyed Jesus sort of floated there in front of the Cross. The cross, it would seem, was all too much for a kinder gentler Jesus. The cross was, how shall we say…., so “unpleasant.” 

Somehow, even as a teenager, I craved a stronger, manly Jesus. My heroes then were Clint Eastwood and I loved John Wayne movies which my father called to my attention. Now those were men. (I know they were into revenge, but I’d learn about that later).

The “Jesus” I was presented with seemed soft and unimpressive compared to them and, teenager that I was, I was unmoved. Who will follow an uncertain trumpet? The basic message of Jesus 1970 was “be nice” but 1970s Catholicism (which Fr. Robert Barron calls “beige Catholicism”) stripped away the clarion call of repentance and trumpet-like command that we take up our cross, that we lose our life in order to save it.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I actually began to study the real Jesus, the one in Scriptures. He was nothing like the thin little williow-wisp of a man I had been taught. He was a vigorous leader, a man among men. Someone who was formidable and commanding of respect. Someone I could look up to. Continue Reading.


Kevin said...

I've often felt the same way about Mary. She's usually portrayed as meek, mild, and submissive. Coming, no doubt, from the her reaction to Gabriel's announcement.

But then there's the wedding at Cana, when she more or less tells Jesus to man up and do what needs to be done. Strong woman and strong mother.

I wonder which image appeals more to young women today?

Samantha Jorden said...

This is a great article! Thank you for posting. I definitely was not alive in the 70's, but I did grow up with a more gentler form of Jesus in mind. I've found that as grown older, I've loved to come to know a stronger Jesus - a Jesus more like an older brother who is experienced and wise and will do anything to protect his sister!
Therefore, I really loved the skit y'all had at Welcome Weekend when Jesus whipped out the gun and started shooting temptation. :) That's the kind of Jesus I like - one who I can trust my life with, is so real, and so very much my friend! :)