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.