Djesus Uncrossed: What do others see?

A couple of weeks ago Saturday Night Live included a fake movie trailer as part of their program. This was shortly after the Oscar-nominated Django Unchained came out. For those of you who don’t know, Django is a bloody revenge pic by Quentin Tarantino. It follows the journey of a former black slave on his quest to exterminate his former slave owners.

The SNL bit portrays Jesus as a revenge-seeking toughguy and Paul as a commander of a revenge squad a la Inglorious Basterds. Roman blood is spattered everywhere. Of course, reactions to this clip have been… extreme. Here’s a video that can be found on Youtube. The first half shows the clip in question, while the second half is a narration by an Angry Christian.

Now, while the clip itself is a little tasteless, it’s not really being critical of Jesus at all. As others have pointed out, the clip is mocking Tarantino and his ability to add blood and revenge to nearly anything. the premise is this: That if Tarantino made a movie about the most pacifist guy ever, he’d still find a way to make it bloody!

Of course, the narrator of the above video didn’t get that. He saw this as a direct attack on Christ himself, and believes that Christians should be up in arms about this video. Many others think the same thing; here’s a clip of the Sean Hannity show on Fox News debating Djesus.

Hannity and his compatriot seem to think that Christians should get as mad as Muslims at this clip.  Christians should be standing up for their rights! we should get mad!

But wait. What if the SNL bit actually has a point?

As a Christian, I believe that the primary way that someone will view Christ is by viewing me. I am told by the Bible and by my community that we are to emulate Christ. as the anonymous quote (often attributed to St. Francis) says: ‘Preach the Gospel to all people, and if necessary, use words’. we’re also told the ‘Actions speak louder than words’. What we do matters, very much. Paul, throughout his letters, calls us to become more and more like Christ, casting off our old ways for a new way of living. We are told that people will know that we are Christians by our love for one another. We’re told to be kind to our enemies, and to love those who harm us. When we do these things, we are a powerful witness in the world to a different way of life – the Kingdom way.

Remember all the media attention that the Amish community got when they forgave the man who killed five children, before taking his own life? The world took notice because they behaved in the way that Christ taught us to behave. When we act like Christ, people notice.

Is this what the world thinks about when they think about western Christianity? Or do they imagine a faith more in line with Djesus, a faith married to revenge rather than forgiveness (Iraq? Afghanistan?), more in line with individualism than community (it’s called the iPhone, for crying out loud), more in line with dysfunction than unity (greater than 50% divorce rate among western Christians?). Here’s one more clip, and this one is a hard one to watch. This is a propaganda clip created in North Korea, and translated into English. It’s about 12 minutes long.

 

Is this what people see? This looks like Djesus to me. We get so offended at a video clip showing Jesus as a murderer, and yet that’s who we present him as every day when we continue to buy into a culture which is so self-obsessed and narcissistic that we have no clue how we’re hurting others. By being Djesus with our purchasing habits and our way of life and our media, we spit in the face of the message of peace that Christ died for. Maybe we were offended by Djesus Because it hit just a little too close to home. Maybe we saw a little bit of ourselves. Maybe it forces us to realize how truly counter-cultural the message of Christ really is. And maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

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3 thoughts on “Djesus Uncrossed: What do others see?”

  1. I’ve got to disagree with you on this one. It’s a ridiculous stretch to say SNL “has a point” by mocking Jesus to get a laugh. They aren’t trying to make a point about Christianity. They, as much as I am loath to agree with anything Hannity ever says, chose Jesus because they know that Christians will not riot in the streets over this.

    This SNL clip could easily be used in the NK propaganda video. “Look how the Westerners treat the one they call their God. Most Westerners claim to believe Jesus is their God, and yet they use him for mindless entertainment, mocking a popular movie about a man named Django out for revenge. They will use anything to satiate their desire to be entertained.”

    Now, I am not one to hold physical things as “holy”. I know there is nothing a person could do that would diminish my God at all. Yet I know the thought process that went into this would be something along the lines of “Hey, we’ve got to come up with something to poke fun at Quintin. Jesus’ name starts with a J, and he was a pacifist, right? It might be funny if we make him into Django and kill everyone!”

    Ahaha, such a good laugh.

    There is such a huge array of material they could have chosen, all equally “offensive”, that they didn’t touch. Because they knew they could get away with it against Christians. They didn’t use “Dbarack Unchained” where he goes on a rampage killing terrorists who blow his people up. They didn’t use “Dmohammed Unchained” where he kills people offending or making a mockery of the Muslim faith (although that would have been kinda meta, have him break into the SNL office and shoot everyone up).

    You’re right that Christians should turn the other cheek and collectively say “we forgive you, SNL”. Just as we should always forgive everyone who wrongs us. That doesn’t mean they didn’t wrong us. What we shouldn’t do, is continue to laugh with the video, or say “Hey, way to make a statement, nice job.” Nothing with that video hits close to home for me. It just exemplifies how sad and depraved our generation really is.

    1. I think they chose Jesus because they thought it was funny. And, yes, because they could get away with it. I still don’t think that the primary objective was to mock Jesus or Christians, though, but to mock Tarantino and his need to turn everything into a bloody revenge film. And yes, your paraphrased NK propaganda video is pretty accurate, I’ll grant you that.

      My point wasn’t that SNL tried to make a point, but rather that a point was made – We, as western Christians, are by and large defined by our apparent support of extremely un-Christlike practices. We even have church leaders who would like Jesus to be even more rough and ready than we already portray him to be. here’s a quote from Mark Driscoll: “In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” (link here, about halfway down the page.

      And here’s a video of Driscoll talking about MMA fighting:

      That sounds more like Djesus than Jesus to me. And that’s coming from Christian leaders, never mind what our supposedly-Christian culture looks like from the outside. Jesus is most emphatically not Djesus, but sometimes we make it look as if he is, through our actions and our words.

      You’re right, the clip is distasteful, but so is the way we portray Jesus much of the time.

      1. I didn’t get a notification that you replied, sorry to leave this so long!

        That quote from Driscoll is, quite frankly, horrifying. If he wants a god who would beat him up/who he can’t beat up, he’s following the wrong person. In fact, nearly every one of his answers in that Q/A make me sad. I totally agree with you, that our Western Christian viewpoint is really messed up. I’m not even sure how someone could possibly manage to get a picture of Jesus like Driscoll seems to have. I mean really? Quoting Revelations before quoting any of the Gospels? Sigh.

        Thanks for that link though, I really appreciated some of the peoples’ view points. Especially Frederica Mathewes-Green, I had never heard of her.

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