So, imagine this – an “artist” has created an “anatomically correct sculpture” of Jesus crucified. Yes, fully naked, out of chocolate as if on a cross. I am generally pretty laid back about such things – artists should be able to do whatever it is that artists want to do. I may object, I may be horrified, but art and art and art should be as free as art can be. As such, let this “artist” do what he wants.
If art is free to express itself, however, so to the public is free to declare judgment. It must declare judgment because art is open to all critiques. And so with this piece of “art” I think it can be freely said that it is simply absurd… but not surprising.
In some ways it is actually the perfect piece of art for holy week because it reminds all of those who follow Jesus of how he was mocked and ridiculed, how he was scorned and beaten, how he was humiliated… and all because of his love for us. Those are good things for his followers to remember. Jesus’ story isn’t nice, it isn’t neat, it isn’t comfortable. It is the opposite of all of those things. In so many ways we want a sort of “chocolate Jesus” of our own – one that is sweet, one that demands little from us, one that we can mold into our forms – perhaps politically conservative, perhaps liberal, maybe happy with just a few of our dollars given to the poor every now and again, perhaps content with those who simply say they love him and then lead lives little different from anyone else.
Instead of having religious/political leaders getting all amped up over this “art,” they should be spending time facing the real and very challenging Jesus found in the Gospels and encouraging others to do the same. I know that is what I need to do.