Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jesus as a Soul Brother

What if instead of having a basically white Jesus, we had a black Jesus? I try to think of what impact this would have had on my upbringing. What impact would it have had upon the southern Christian communities in which I lived? Are there some gung ho Christians today who would find themselves subtly losing the fervor of their faith if the son of God did not look out at them from a white face like their own? How would a black Jesus have affected Western culture, the slave trade, slavery in America, and even the likelihood of the Civil War – or of the Jim Crow South? Can I imagine as a young child in the south being taught to esteem and worship (and, yes, to closely identify with) a black man – a black Jesus? Would my white southern father have had any pause in teaching me as a child to look up to and worship a black man – a black Son of God? I must finally accept that the latter is an unanswerable question – and I mean that sincerely, for my father was a good man. Nevertheless, when I hear a black Muslim pointing out some possible difficulties involved in having the very God of very God appearing wrapped in a human skin that must, in a sense, choose one race instead of another (inevitably perceived sometimes as "over another"), I must admit I have some appreciation for this point of view. (As we learned in America that "separate is inherently not equal" likewise we learned that "choosing one typically implies excluding others.") There are difficulties in viewing God as far above racial considerations when in fact he appears for all time as a member of a certain race. Ideally having a race-specific God paradoxically can teach us that skin color and race don't matter – as Dr. Martin Luther King said in so many words, "content of character" not "color of skin" is what's significant. The Son of God taught us that the spirit of love and unity is above all lesser things – that the good Samaritan is the epitome of the better way.

(I just read this blog to my wife, and she “Yes” and what if not the Son of God we had instead the Daughter of God? If from childhood, when we looked up from our pews in church we saw a young woman as Savior and not a young man. How would us boys and men, especially, handle this? How might this differently influence young girls and their view of their special place in the world?)

Print Page