Jesus Was No Girlie
Another excellent blog post from the “man with no uncertain trumpet”, Monsignor Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington.
This time, Monsignor Pope’s attention is focused on the image of Jesus that was smuggled around in the Seventies, and that still influences the Sixty-Eighters and other pot-smokers today. In those years – and whilst I was a child, I got my share of those years – Jesus was generally portrayed as a kind of a whimp, a girly boy unable to exert or project any form of manliness, a mixture of hare “krishna” follower and Gandhi with, later, the addition of a dollop of Nelson Mandela. Victimised, but as meek as a sheep; bullied, but always answering with a smile, and unable to threat or harm, this is the Jesus we had brought to us as an example. “Peeaace” and “luuuuv” were everywhere, and not a whip in sight.
Well, one only needs to read the Gospel to get a completely different picture of Jesus; a man who never said things half, and never minced words; a man able to openly defy his opponents in public, in times when conflicts were carried out rather less nicely than today, and “being hurt” had a different meaning than today; a man whose followers went around armed with swords, certainly not for aesthetic reasons; a man able to free himself from the grasp of multitudes desirous to apprehend him, which can’t have been accomplished without a towering presence and an extremely commanding, charismatic, utterly manly attitude; a man able, alone, to throw away from the temple an undefined, but certainly not little number of moneychangers out of the sheer fury of his action, and the might of his whip. On this occasion, the contrast between the calm preparation of the whip and the explosion of irresistible physical power gives a wonderful example of the manliness of Jesus’ behaviour.
No, this was no pink-shirted, manicured, anti-wrinkle-lotioned, tubular-jeans-wearing metrosexual; this was a real man, oozing masculinity in everything he did. Try to imagine the scene of St. Matthew’s conversion and tell me whether it is compatible with anything else than the most commanding authority. Then try to imagine how Gandhi or Deepak Chopra would have tried to achieve the same result, and you’ll know the difference.
You see this everywhere in the Gospels, as the words and gestures of Jesus are always accompanied by an undercurrent of sheer authority, a commanding stance, the attitude of one who knows that he will be obeyed everytime he wants. Even scourged almost to death, Jesus talks to Pilate from a position of utter power, and leaves him in no doubt as to who is boss. Make no mistake, this is no Gandhi.
Thankfully, the gently whispering Jesus of my younger years is now slowly being substituted for an image more attuned to the Gospel image, largely – I think – because of the excellent “passion of the Christ” and James Caviezel’s very manly rendition of the Lord. It will take time, though, before the Birkenstock-sandalled, tofu-eating, Cosmo-reading and Oprah-watching Jesus is replaced by, well….. Jesus.
Posted on September 4, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged "The Passion of the Christ", Catholic Church, Catholicism, Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, Jesus, Monsignor Charles Pope. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.