29 April 2009

manly jesus or meek jesus: how it is all missing the point

This morning, I checked in at The Church of No People blog (as I do every day) and was confronted with a typically wonderful post. In it, Matt (the author of the blog) took all of the "Manly Jesus" generalizations to wacky extremes. Even the title was designed to mock our incessant crying over the emasculation of Christ:
"Jesus Was a Scowling Heartbreaking Lumberjack"

I laughed at the not-so-subtle jab at our bizarre Christian culture and moved on...only to return later to a sack-full of comments by Matt's faithful readers - who were all legitimately swooning over how awesome Manly Jesus was. I was surprised, although I guess I shouldn't be.

In recent years, Western Christianity has become obsessed with protecting the masculinity of Jesus. He was a buff carpenter. He had guns. He turned over tables. He impaled Pharisees with his piercing eyes of fire. Whatever.

In some sort of societal inferiority complex, we have decided that we don't want to follow a peace-loving, grace-practicing, mercy-preaching Christ. Apparently, we want to rewrite Scripture - Blessed are the (Manly?), for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Like I said - whatever.

I don't really care. Jesus can be a pasty dude petting sheep with children or a ripped warrior straight out of Braveheart. If we spend even 5 seconds debating it, we are missing the point.

The point then is this: We might be a much different people if we cared less about how Jesus was represented in pop culture and cared more about how He is represented in us, His followers.

One more time for emphasis: We might be a much different people if we cared less about how Jesus was represented in pop culture and cared more about how He is represented in us, His followers.


  1. Kyle, you have truly called me to task (in a good way.) I'd have to say I was riding the fence between emphasizing Jesus' manliness and satirizing our images of hyper masculinity. But the thought of an American obsession over manly Jesus had not clearly crossed my mind as something to poke fun at. Read that way, the post and comments look quite a bit more poignant.

    At the risk of exposing myself to you for the lousy writer I am, I am impressed with some of the messages that can be gleaned from very astute readers which I did not necessarily mean to place front and center. So I applaud you for discovering a layer I had not seen so clearly. It seems I missed one of the points of my own post. It is so much more important how we represent him with our lives. But human nature from Bible times has been to look for the tallest, most dashing guy in the room and make him the leader, and that's who we want Jesus to be.

    Peace and God bless.

  2. By the way, I'm toying with an idea for a post on Friday which will 'compliment' today's. It may happen, it may not. But your observations will definately improve the idea if I do go through with it.

  3. matt - glad you wrote what you did. excited to see what comments it might elicit on your post...

  4. I wonder if our view of G-d has anything to do with the way that we represent Him and relate to Him?

  5. Tozer would say theres nothing more powerful than the way in which you view God

  6. Suffering servant, or conquering King ? Messiah Ben Joseph, or Messiah Ben David ?
    Jesus is both.
    Isaiah 53:2 ,,,There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

  7. Daniel Duce.

    Who said God is a 'him', God is so far beyond gender. Actualy God is both male and female and he created 'man' (both Adam & Lilith) in their image. Eve is Adams second wife.