Fifty shades of Jesus

What color was Jesus? That’s an easy question to answer. All you have to do is figure out what color his father God is.

*sigh*

I believe sane people everywhere can agree that the best answer to the question of what color Jesus was is … “Yes.”

Unless you’re online. Then the best answer is the song “Some Children See Him,” off the album James Taylor at Christmas. (The whole album is awesome; my wife Catherine and I have a ridiculously huge collection of Christmas music, and James’s is one of the two or three we play most often. I’m not a big fan of attaching pictures to songs, but … YouTube-wise, this is all I could find…):

As to the question, “What color is Santa Claus? Speaking personally, I can only say that included amongst the Christmas decorations at my house are two Santa figurines, each about a foot high. We bought them some twenty years ago. Here’s one of them:

Whoa. I see Santa’s belt needs gluing. Yikes! That’s just … wrong.

Anyway, here’s our other Santa:

So, as you see, on this issue, too, I vote “Yes.”

I hope all of you are having the very best Christmas/Holiday season ever.

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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.

  • Dave-n-TN

    Yes!

  • Scott Amundsen

    Love it.

  • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

    Amen.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    Thanks, guys!

  • Jen H.

    Yes!

  • Alliecat04

    On the one hand, Saint Nicholas was an actual historical person, who was from Anatolia, and had, like every other person on earth, only one set of physical characteristics. Not Anglo, as Santa is usually depicted, but not black, either. On the other hand, Claymation portrayed Santa as a friggin elf and no one complained. If people all over America don’t have any problem depicting the man as a supernatural member of a different SPECIES than human, I think they should be able to deal with him being black sometimes.

    • L L Bennett

      Did Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore describe Santa as an elf?

      • Jill

        Yupper. Just re-watched ‘Twas cartoon for the zillionth time last night. “He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.”

    • lymis

      Hey, the definitive description of Santa, Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” calls him “a right jolly old elf.”

      Even if that’s metaphor, I can’t think of any other historical bishops with flying reindeer. That’s certainly a sign of SOMETHING going on.

    • Michele N. Morgan

      Well, when going through the Mediterranean, you have a wide blend of shades that could mix with other blends because various peoples do come through. The landscape does change.

      You can be fairly dark to fairly fair skinned and still be from the same area.

      http://ibbio.pbworks.com/f/1299229086/polygenic_skin.jpg

      All the same, certain people are more sympathetic to imaginary creatures than they are to people who have funny colors in their skin.

  • Amy Butler

    Thank You–Some Children See Him–I have been trying to remember the name of that song for DAYS!!!

  • Diane Bourg

    FYI, “Some Children See Him” was written by Alfred Burt. And my favorite version is by George Winston.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Diane: I LOVE Winston’s album “December”–and you’re right: his version of that song on that album is just sublime. That whole album is.

      • Diane Bourg

        :-) Now I have to find the album on my computer and listen to it…. Cheers!

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          I was just thinking: I think that album is a lot older than I tend to think it is. It sounds so fresh every year that I tend to forget that I think I’ve had it for, like, THIRTY YEARS. What a freakish thought. But I swear I bought the album in, like, 1982–and then bought the CD later. But I think it’s that old. Yikes.

          • Diane Bourg

            Yup. We were living in N. Calif. at the time, and a friend of a friend worked at Tower records and brought “Autumn” to a housewarming party that we attended back around 1980. So we have both Autumn, December, and Winter Solstice on LP, as well as CD.

  • Robert McHenry

    Hi. As a contrarian, I believe sane people everywhere can agree that the best answer to the question of what color Jesus was is … “Jewish”.

    I am always surprised at how many “christians” forget that Jesus was Jewish.

  • Robert McHenry

    You know what I completely copped out… John your song is a nice song… but side stepping the issue of JC nationality, race, etc… plays into the hands of those that want to continue to “white wash” history.

    SInce you all accept that JC was a real person that lived and died (and rose again)… in the first century AD… then he was a Middle Eastern, Jew. Not some Nordic god created on the template of Apollo.

    Historically, Christians have used their bible and their belief system to say how superior they are over the “Other”… this Other has changed through time… Irish, Italians and Greeks have all been the other in this country and the exact same words “drunks, lazy, stupid, primitive, criminal, oversexed” were used at them as were used on african american, mexicans, hispanics.

    By not challenging the white washing of JC… we allow the “other” to exist. If christians can recognize and accept the “fact” that their savior looks like a palestinian and was a jew… then maybe they can begin to accept all the other “others”…

    and isn’t this what JC meant when he said… “love thy neighbor as yourself.”

    Seems lots of “christians” forget the words of Jesus as they bow to a God they think looks and acts just like they do.


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