What Would Jesus Do (If He Saw Himself Wearing a Propeller Beanie)?

How I think Jesus would react to seeing himself in purple tutu

Pursuant to yesterday’s “JesusDressUp.com: Harmless Hilarity, or Offensive Blasphemy?“:

First off, excellent comments, you guys! Sheer awesomnimityness. If I was just starting this blog, I would pay you guys to make me look so good with your perfectly parsed and patently perspicacious pontifications. But, in Internet years, this blog is already forty-seven years old. So I’m afraid I can’t help you. Sorry.

As to what we humble, earth-bound mortals should think of JesusDressUp.com? I dunno. But I’ll tell you what I do think (even though I’m already getting the very strong sense that I shouldn’t, cuz … well, you know: Christian intensities.) You know how, if you really concentrate and open yourself up to it, you can sort of assume the consciousness of God? (Okay, Brian Shields, put down that bong.) How you can sort of make your consciousness disappear, by letting go of it, and basically merging it into God’s consciousness, so that pretty soon you have the very distinct impression that you’re seeing through God’s eyes, thinking with God’s mind, and feeling with God’s heart? You know how that mystical transformation takes place, when you pray or meditate for a long time, and you get all … God-consciousy? (For the record, I’m not saying that we really do see and think with God’s eyes and mind; for all I know, if you actually did possess the mind of God, everything would appear to you bright neon green, or striped — or all you’d be thinking about is a giant bowl of Cocoa Pebbles, or whatever. Who knows what God’s mind is really like? I’m just referring to that state of mind humans can get into that feels like it’s God’s. You know: that state that makes Christians think and feel that they really can answer the question, What would Jesus do?)

Well, thinking about JesusDressUp.com, I thought, “Who cares what I or any of my sucka free brilliant commenters think of that site? What matters is what Jesus would think of it. It’s about him. If Jesus was okay with it, we’d all have to be.”

So I sat down, and did the Jesus Mind Meld on myself.

And you know what I came up with? JesusDressUp.com would crack Jesus up. I think at first he would go, “Well, this is curious. I don’t believe I like this one single bit.” And then — just sort of noodling around — he would drag the hula skirt on to himself, or move the red cowboy boots onto his feet — no, the flippers! And then he’d maybe drag the beanie onto his head, or the graduation cap, and then maybe check himself out in a mauve Lacoste alligator shirt — and within moments would be rolling around on the floor laughing so hard that twenty million rainbows would simultaneously appear all over the world.

My Official Vote is that Jesus would seriously bust up at JesusDressUp.com. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Bill

    I'm not easy with that John. Jesus was dying on that cross after all. That's very unfunny. Like I said in the other blog, if it was the traditional pic of him standing at the door and knocking, that could be hilarious. But on the cross? NOT!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Oh, no. It's begun. The anger. The hostility. The exclamation points.

      No, but–as I was very, very, extremely careful to say–I'm GUESSING that Jesus would find it funny. That's all. Guess. Opinion. You have a different opinion. But no worries. That's why they have horse races.

      • http://jfaraday.wordpress.com jfaraday

        I’m with Bill, though maybe not with so many exclamation points.

        But I love the Laughing Jesus picture. I’d really like to see more of *that* face of God. I don’t think we think about Smiling!God enough.

  • Zoomer

    Okay – I think Jesus is screaming in that picture, not laughing.

    • Diana

      In the above picture? He's definitely laughing.

      • Don Whitt

        He’s about to sneeze after laughing. Sneezus Christ.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Wrong. Funny. But wrong.

          • Don Whitt

            Mea culpa…

        • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

          Good gracious Don, that was funny. It made me LOL. Out loud.

  • Leslie

    Fun post! Personally, I think He'd laugh. I think God has an excellent sense of humor. He'd have to, after all, to put with all of us. Humor, laughter, joy — those are all divine gifts. :D

  • Karen

    I'm absolutely certain that God has a much better sense of humor than we do. There are many days when He's laughing at me; sometimes I'm even laughing with Him. The Laughing Christ proudly hangs in my house. God will handle it if the site is blasphemous, but I'm pretty sure that He's more worried about the faith of Bob Smith and those who visit the site, than He is about the details of tutus or hula skirts.

  • Diana

    BTW: I definitely love the above picture. Too often, I think we believe that Jesus went around with a perpetual case of constipation. Granted, he certainly understood the seriousness of what he was doing in the world. But, this is a man (and God) who hung out with the poor, women, children, known sinners, rough working class people (fishermen, folks!)–I mean he had to have had one or two belly laughs while he walked the planet–don't you think?

    We must remember, he was (is) man as well as God. He knows what it's like to be us. Does he find JesusDressUp.com funny? Maybe, maybe not. But he certainly understands why some of us sicker souls out here might laugh–even if we feel guilty about it.

  • Michele

    Yes, I did feel that image of a dress-up Jesus hanging on the cross was maybe not a good idea, but once I spied the tighty whities I lost it. I was reluctant to dress Jesus up, but again, once I saw the pink tutu on him it was hilarious. Am I, a Christian, going to hell because I laughed at this?? Am I going there because when the stand-up comic (can't remember his name) told a joke about jazzing up communion by offering fudge (will leave out the punchline because I can just hear the collective gasp of good people out there) instead of the bland, tasteless wafer, I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard–though I felt a little bad thinking that it was funny, or did I feel bad because I didn't really feel bad??

    WWJD??? I have to agree with John, as I think God and his Son have to have sense of humor, but what do I know?? The dress-up Jesus, the joke, and any other like thing is just someone's attempt to have fun for whatever reason–maybe just to rile up the fundamentalists. I think there are more things to get upset over and to feel outraged about, so on my scale of what's blasphemous this doesn't register too high, though I do see how it could be offensive to some who possess a more conservative sense of humor.

  • CLH

    If we were created in God's image and we have a sense of humor (at least some of us do) then it follows to assume that God has a sense of humor. If these type of discussions promote us thinking about Jesus and what he has done for us and how we should in turn act, more the better. Thanks John for "getting us out of the box" and making us think about what we believe and why.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      How lovely. Thank you.

  • Jon

    Fun… and it doesn't confuse satire with negating any due seriousness or value in what is being satired. Thanks for this and drawing out other christians who distinguish themselves with exemplary discriminating awareness of what matters and what, not-so-much.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yeah, it has proved for an almost surprising rich dialogue, hasn't it? Lucky … us!

  • http://efrain.tumblr.com efrain

    i think i have the "mind of Christ", but i don't think that site is funny. i don't think God would either because it treats lightly the whole Plan of life (gospel, redemption thru substitutionary sacrifice for our sakes or something like that). did God ever want His good news to be so commonplace? laughed at? ridiculed?

    that being said, i don't think God would be offended, nor would He want any wars (on or offline) started about it ;)

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Amen to that.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I think Jesus likely finds it incredibly stupid that people would be entertained by this. Then again, I'm sure He would find a LOT of what we do quite silly indeed. And then again, He's the One who made us like this. I suppose He's got some idea of why the world needs things like this, within their appropriate niche. God knows what laughter is all about, and (as Don Rappe points out) it is pleasing to the Lord that we can tolerate such things without losing our humanity (either by waging a holy war on those who have made it, or by letting it harden our hearts to such suffering as it pretends in representing).

    I don't think He's concerned about it; as Karen noted, His concern would be for the souls who visit that site, and I'm sure He knows, John, the disposition of your soul not to be led astray by this.

    However, I'm not sure he finds it so funny. If it were a cartoon of me at one of the most excruciating and humiliating points in my existence, I don't think I would be quite so giddy about it, and I (and I assume Jesus) can certainly understand Just Dan's position. I'm not saying I think Jesus is displeased (nor was He too upset by the soldiers mocking him as he hung there in real life); I just don't think He's particularly pleased with it either. I guess I'm suggesting a more neutral disposition. This is not a righteous thing–nor is it inherantly evil.

    Nevertheless, humor is, usually, an expression of a sort of empathy, and Jesus *is* quite empathetic. So I suppose if two or three gather in his name and share a laugh, there is Jesus laughing along with them. So while we've all been checking out this site and laughing, I guess you're right, John, Jesus is laughing too–but perhaps just laughing at how human beings can laugh at such things!

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Very good!

  • James

    It's clear that God does indeed have a sense of humor. Consider, if you will, the platypus . . .

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yeah! The way penguins comes up in my book "Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang" is in reference to showing God's sense of humor. God, talking about penguins, says (something like) "No knees! They have no knees! And they're dressed like butlers!" It's this whole … routine. Anyway, right: animals prove it. I often point to the dung beetle as another example of how obviously funny God is.

  • Dennis Dawson

    I agree. Jesus would laugh. He would also roll his eyes at people spending time on that site.

    The thing is, while Jesus took his message seriously, I don't think there's a lot of scripture out there where Jesus is taking himself seriously.

    Since I learned all of my philosophy from Disney films, I always think of the movie Pollyanna, where she turns around her fire-and-brimstone pastor with her optimism. This is discussed nicely, I think, in this essay I found (easily) with a little help from Barney Google.

    http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Promises/Pol

    ~D

  • Freda

    I don't know if He'd laugh. I think it's most likely He'd roll His eyes at how silly and shallow humans can be. The really awesome thing is, He would STILL offer us Grace, dying and rising again for us.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    When I do the Jesus-y mind meld thing I realize that perhaps he really doesn't get offended at stuff like this, but then he wonders why I don't get offended more often every day by deceptive business practices, homelessness in my neighborhood, and ministers weilding power in way that surely weren't intended by people whose religion takes the name of Christ.

    In other words, maybe he thinks I should be far less offended by what someone says about him, and more offended by the places we aren't doing so well at following him.

    • Diana

      This. I totally agree.

  • Amy

    Hmm. Well. I would sum up my opinion this way:

    If Jesus is God, I don't really think he'd waste his energy on being upset over JesusDressedUp.com. If he wouldn't waste his energy, then I won't waste mine.

    On the other hand, I'm not too keen on the idea of putting silly dress-up clothes on a picture of someone being tortured to death, no matter who they are.

    • frank sonnek

      Good point Amy.

      Jesus death is the end of those kinds of deaths. think: no one should ever be hurt or punished in any way over this parody. why is that? it would be the very opposite of Jesus teaching.

      On the other hand , religion and the sacrifice of religion would demand that this be either punished or stopped.

      so there is an important point behind this frivolity.

  • http://none Don Rappe

    OK, tough one, but, I suppose, (finally memorized where that comma button is) if I’ve been given the mind of Christ I suppose I should try to use it. I see Jesus gently smiling thinking that nobody’s going to be assassinated over this and that just maybe some of his lessons are starting to sink in.

  • Joe

    WWJD? He’d laugh.

  • Just Dan

    When I view images of the crucified Christ, I always think of the pain of suffering such a death entails. So, putting a tutu on an image of Jesus dead on the cross is about as funny as putting a tutu on an image of lynched person swinging from a tree.

    • Michele

      The image of the crucified Christ isn't funny and I also always think of the pain and suffering that took place there, and that is why I said in my post that I didn't think Bob's depiction was a good idea. However, I did (for the sake of John's WWJD question), "reluctantly" play around with the site and it was funny. I would never have gone to the site if it wasn't for John's focus on it (and NO I'm not blaming John for corrupting me), so it would have never occurred to me to put a pink tutu on the crucified image of Christ. Let's put it this way… The site is really insignificant and has nothing at all to do with my faith, conviction, or reverence. I simply have a sense of humor, as I believe Jesus does.

      Forgive me, but I don't see the connection between the dress-up Jesus and a lynched person swinging from a tree??

      • Just Dan

        No need to ask for forgiveness from me. We all see things differently and I comfortable with that.

        • Michele

          Just an expression…

          • Just Dan

            Interesting rhetorical expression considering the subject :-P

          • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

            Nice one, Dan. Your brain works, that's for sure.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      But–and, to be clear, I am NOT defending the idea the site is funny–the extreme flaw in your analogy is that the lynched person isn’t God, and didn’t purposefully will that lynching upon himself.

      • Just Dan

        It is true that the Crucifixion was the unavoidable ending for Jesus' time on Earth. The fact that it was voluntary makes it no less tragic or painful as someone who is murdered. If that is extremely flawed thinking, I am cool with that. I am an extremely flawed human ;-)

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          No, no: You're right. Kind of the whole POINT of the crucifixion was how horribly painful it was for Jesus. I totally get your point.

      • frank sonnek

        John, this may seem like a subtle point, but have you considered that maybe even God did not will or want this suffering “take this cup from me … if it be your will”, but that he merely showed up and it was his will to let himself be surrendered to sinful man to suffer and die .

        Why? Sinful man needs to sacrifice. Ourselves. others. the opinions of others. God allowing himself to be sacrified by man was the end of sacrifice for all time and the beginning of mercy and love.

        “go and find out what it means when God said ‘ i want mercy and not sacrifice’. ….

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Frank: Yes, I am familiar with the strain of Christian theology that posits that Christ was, basically, an inspired social worker who got mugged. But, you know–for the sake of this little exchange, I figured it wisest to sort of stick/refer to the basics.

      • mark

        NO,NO,NO,……….

        tutu doesn't work for a lynching…has to be…a white satin wedding gown…or perhaps, a nun's habit……………the whole purpose of a lynching is to dehumanize the victim!

  • http://friendlymama.blogspot.com Mary Linda

    I thought about this as I fell asleep last night and awoke with my response. I see putting a beanie on Jesus as frivolous and the last thing I think of Jesus being is frivolous. Compassionate, loving, gentle, frustrated, kind, righteously angry, frightened, exasperated, forgiving, but not frivolous.

    I think because I value humor and prefer friendships with people who are funny, I want to think of Jesus as having a funny bone but there is no indication anywhere in the bible that he cracked jokes or found humor in things, at least, as the bible is translated currently. It is my understanding that Aramaic, the language Jesus would have spoken, is a less either/or, black/white, male/female dichotomous language than the Greek from which our modern translation is derived. From what I understand, Aramaic is more fluid and nuanced with words having a gradation of meanings depending on context. It seems a language like that would allow for,or even promote a heightened awareness of word-play and punnery, but who's to say if folks did a Galilean version of "Who's On First". Any speculation I make is based on my desire for Jesus to laugh and desire, of course, is, you know, all about my ego rather than what God's actually saying to me.

    Now God is another thing entirely. We are made in God's image so God MUST have a sense of humor. Not to anthropomorphize God, but God's gotta be laughing or God'd be crying all the time.

    I love the way God is portrayed in Rolland Merullo's book, "Golfing With God". And the character of Jesus in Rolland Merullo's "American Savior" and in Christopher Moore's "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal". Of note: in neither is he full of yucks.

  • Kim de Geus

    Topic aside John, reading your writing is an absolute pleasure. You make me think, giggle, and marvel at how easily words seem to come to you. Positively inspiring. And, nothing impresses me more than someone who can participate in life's ups and downs with a solid sense of humor at their side. You truly have a gift!

  • Tim

    Even if Jesus thought it was as funny as Lucifer in a blue dress…would one of His children sobbing woefully over Jesusdressup.com make Him say, "Ahhh stop being such a GIRL for Me sake!! God up and speak a pair into existence!"

    I enjoy a nice glass of wine once in a while. Perhaps a stout ale on a hot summer day. But I need to be very careful about where and when I partake. If a fellow in faith takes my liberty as their excuse for their own license to have a drink, and they happen to be recovering alcoholics, what I saw as harmless, has just harmed one that Jesus died for. If Jesus' work on the cross delivers a body from the bonds of booze, I am a schlub to toss one back in their face. I say ignorance is no excuse. What we don't know CAN hurt us.

    OK Now you can call me Debbie Downer.

    Maybe Jesus with a propeller beanie is a hoot to me. That is between me and my Lord. But if I laugh about it and one who is newer or less mature in their walk is hurt by my amusement, I have to think I've done wrong to both my weaker fellow AND my Lord. That's my take at least. Like Johnny Cash sang, I WALK THE LINE. Sadly for me, I weave back and forth and the celestial highway patrol is about to write me up for an eternal DWI (Down With Idiots) Sooooo grateful for GRACE!

  • Rich

    I didn't see the choice blasphemous, insensitive and funny.

    I'm sure those that "dressed" Jesus up in mock regal outfit for his crucification would think it hilarious.

    But I there are more worse things done by those who portray Jesus too judgmental and unloving.

    So over all I find it a little sad . :(

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

    I don’t think God is going to be all that offended. Why? Because I firmly believe that God has a huge sense of humor. Look at creation. Take bumblebees for instance, they are fat and have these tiny little wings. Yes they fly, but clumsily so. Then there is Australia’s platypus, a creature that looks like it was put together using leftover parts. He made us. I sometimes wonder if we are the parody version of His image.

    Then there is a simple natural activity that likely all mammals do, and the sound thereof can be duplicated quite aptly by other things…the simple act of passing intestinal gases has been found funny for generation. IF we believe that God created us, then He created that chemical part of us, and He knew it would sound funny and be the source of hilarity .

    I can imagine Adam and Eve in the garden.

    Adam: (makes a noise that originates from his unclothed bottom)

    Eve: What was that?

    Adam: I don’t know, but boy do I feel better.

    Eve: Well I certainly hope so, whatever it was it stinks.

    Adam: (makes that noise again, this time louder and prolonged)

    Eve: EWWWW!

    Adam: (snickers) hmmm. I wonder if I can control how this sounds.

    Eve: That’s it Adam, Go make your noises over there.

    (Eve emits small noise from her bottom, Adam cracks up.)

  • Nathan W.

    While God may not be offended I don’t think he’d find funny either; there are more important things to be done than to look some crude website.

  • mark

    Your GOD must have a sense of humor………..he created humans.

  • Randy B

    John, lets pretend you and I are neighbors and best friends. One night you wake up and sense something's wrong. You look out your window and see my house engulfed in flames. Without thinking you run over straight into the house, somehow find me and drag me out. I'm unconcious so I'm not able to tell you that my wife and kids are out of town, so you run back in to get them but don't come back out. After the funeral I get a hold of a photo of your burned body and make a website where we can dress you up in different get-ups. Y'know, how about a fire extinguisher salesman, or on the beach with an empty bottle of sunscreen?

    Funny stuff.

    I don't think it's that difficult to imagine how Jesus feels.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Okay, so you're voting it's NOT funny. Gotcha.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      First, a photo of the real thing is far removed from an illustration with which considerable artistic license was taken, drawn from the imagination rather than from witness, producing a scene and figure quite unlike the real deal.

      Second, I get the impression though that John wouldn't mind. His surviving relations on the earth might–but John? What's he care anymore for that body or whatever images of it? It's not *his* body now–he's dead–and it hardly ever *was* his for more than the blink of an eye. Plus, you gotta know John's got a good sense of humor—I mean, he did make "Pinguins…" afterall ;)


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