Part 2: Why a White Jesus is So Incredibly Damaging
Have you ever heard of a guy named Pete Holmes? It’s okay if you haven’t; he’s a comedian that has podcast; but his podcast isn’t comedic so much as it’s just him having two hour conversations (as opposed to interviews) with various guests. He recently brought on a priest named Richard Rohr (you can listen to the full podcast here). But, within this conversation Rohr broke down the biblical narrative into four parts:
Passion, death, resurrection, and ascension.
You see we all experience pain in life. There are types of emotions and experiences that, although they’re not the same, they’re universal in sentiment.
For example, although the ways in which we experience pain are vastly different, we all have and will continue to experience various types of pain resulting from loss, betrayal, rejection, heartbreak… the list goes on.
If God is omnisciently omnipresent then there is no suffering He cannot encompass, overcome, or transcend.
The Gospel (read: the good news) is that God/Jesus will transform your pain and suffering turning it into a resurrection; a story of redemption; (metaphorically speaking) He’ll take you out of death, a version of hell on earth, and breathe life into your “dry bones.”
While a Eurocentric theology, in creating a white Jesus, is unknowingly creating a Jesus that not only has limits but, has a completely different focus; this Jesus, one might be all too familiar with, is the same Jesus that’s too busy shaming, shouting threatening and condemning to be uplifting, encouraging, and life giving.
This is not to say that various other, more encouraging, versions of a white Jesus do not exist; they do. These versions are mostly found within the prosperity Gospel. He appears to be your friend, offers you a promise of life, but in the end this form of “Jesus” turns out to be nothing but a lying thief; a sheep in wolves clothing.
When Discussing the Mechanics of a White Jesus One Must Re-Address the Cross of Christ…
Contrary to this heretical version of a euro-centric doctrine, Jesus did not die on the Cross for the oppressors sin(s), Jesus was nailed to the Cross because of their sin(s). He did not raise from the grave to show the “Calvinists” of this world they have won; He rose from the grave to show His people (the oppressed) that darkness has been defeated, and that they will (as promised) be liberated.
As aforementioned in Part 1, [a Eurocentric theology] it fails to correctly interpret the nature and character of the divine; particularly in response to the oppressed persons experience.
Neo-Calvinists et. al offer up a hermeneutic that depoliticizes the very cross of Christ; it’s posing the cross as something one chooses to pick up and carry as opposed to it being something Christ was forced into carrying [alongside the oppressed person].
The Crucifixion wasn’t a pious act of self-righteousness; it was merely a consequence of resisting the establishment .
It’s the subtle difference between committing suicide and being murdered for doing whats right; in other words, it’s not that his disciples wanted death; it was that they knew death would be a repercussion of following Jesus (Matthew 10) and living out a meaningful life .
[you can read part one here]