O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Choose Your Favorite Jesus Art

As has been discussed before on this blog, it’s hard to make good Jesus art. It’s easy to make bad Jesus art. It’s also challenging to discuss the goodness or badness of Jesus art, because people get defensive and use phrases like “heart is in the right place” and “to the glory of God” and “maybe Jesus DID have highlights.”

But at the risk of starting another art criticism brouhaha, this is a post about Jesus art. Specifically three different images of Christ. I want to know which one is your favorite.

Here are our options:

1. Hugging Jesus


Matthew Paul Turner discussed this image on his blog a few days ago, notably suggesting that maybe it’s not a picture of Jesus at all, but rather a drawing of Billy Ray Cyrus hugging his daughter Miley. Could be.

Only Billy Ray’s left hand seems to have moved a little too far, um, south…on Miley’s back for me to be comfortable. So I guess it must be Jesus.


All I know is this girl from the ’80s really is enjoying her hug from Jesus. And apparently Jesus has a giant piece of glitter stuck in his hair.

2. Projected Jesus

I need to get me one of these Bibles, because when you open it — or at least when your disembodied giant hands open it — a little projection of Jesus pops up into the clouds. Imagine using this in church.

It reminds me of when R2-D2 projected that image of Princess Leia asking for Obi-Wan’s help on Tattooine. Only instead of a cute Alderon princess with a weird hairdo, you get a white, blonde Savior wearing some sort of gauzy poncho over his bathrobe.


And Jesus’s outstretched hands seem to indicate that he wants something from me — maybe a hug? — but his eyes are weirdly looking off to the side of the image. And he looks annoyed. So I guess he’s not inviting Miley in for a squeeze. I’m pretty sure the stretched out hands are him gesturing a mildly irritated “What?” because someone off-camera just said something mean about his gauze poncho. Which sounds a lot like gazpacho. Which is delicious.

3. Jesus, Destroyer of Worlds


If I were an astronaut, and I blasted off into space hoping to be one of the few humans with the incredible opportunity to see the earth from space, and instead I saw this gigantic Jesus spinning the planet around like a kid with a beachball? I would seriously be glad I was wearing one of those NASA space travel diapers. Because, seriously. That would be scary.

Is Jesus supposed to be creating the earth in this picture? Is he spinning it into existence?

Or is he destroying it? Because that looks like fire. Jesus should be careful to keep his sleeve from getting too close to the flame.

Wait — is this how the End Times will go down? Jesus rotating the Earth so fast it flares up due to the space friction?

And why would a giant space Jesus still be wearing the same 1st-century robe-and-sash? Shouldn’t he have on something metallic or shiny? At least a helmet and oxygen tank?


And where are his legs? And why does the size of the planet — in relation to Jesus — make me wonder if perhaps he’s about to use it as an exercise ball? For some space crunches?

This image fills me with dread and questions.


So those are our options. Which Jesus image is your favorite? Vote and explain in the comments, or submit your own.


Related: Some of my (serious) thoughts about Christians and criticism can be found in this article by Scott McClellan from Collide magazine.

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posted August 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

Not one of these floats my boat:)I do not believe that Jesus got a haircut from Fantastic Sam's.

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posted August 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

It's fairly concerning to me that Jesus' trademark blue 'Beauty Pageant' sash is missing. You can argue the legitimacy of the pageant idea…but consider the flowing locks of hair and strong chin that Jesus has. Don't even get me started on his tan…and can you imagine what his 'talent' would have been during that portion of the event?I love Jesus; I'm less in love with corny depictions of him though.

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posted August 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

I'd really appreciate if any of the commenters know of some good sites for GOOD religious art – I know there has to be some out there (I've wanted some good religious art ever since I read "Girl Meets God" and Lauren Winner was talking about all her icons of Jesus – but especially the paper cutting of the story of Ruth…)(I know this isn't the place for such things, but I figured your blog readers would be as good of people as any to ask about that)for the record I can't stand any of those three… I'd probably have to go with number 3 if forced to pick – #1 is just creepy when you point out how low his hands are…

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Jason Boyett

posted August 21, 2009 at 11:55 am

It's hard to find good Jesus art for sure. When it comes to religious art, is a good source for Orthodox-style Byzantine icons. That's a particular artistic style, I realize, and not one that floats the boat of a lot of evangelicals (especially when it comes to depictions of Jesus). But personally I like it. I would guess some of Lauren Winner's icons are similar to these. Surely none of them feature Jesus with inappropriate hand placement.

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posted August 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm

@Anonymous: I know this isn't going to help much now, but years ago, Cornerstone Magazine had a link to a fantastic site where christian artists could sell their stuff. is just a shell of its former self, but maybe contacting them can lead you to some links.

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Holly Brennan

posted August 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I agree with Amarlenea, none of these float my boat. 1 is just too awkward. That hand placement just cannot be holy.2 is to iconic, really. It is also so Star Wars…no lie, that's the first thing I thought when I saw the picture…."help me….Jesus."3 makes him look like some kind of magician. Eeek.I'm right there with Thomas on his statement: "I love Jesus; I'm less in love with corny depictions of him though."Beautiful.

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posted August 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I think we all agree all three depictions are horrible. That said, I'll have to go with #1. I bet a lot of women in those days really wanted to be the one to sleep with the Savior! This girl looks like she's trying to seduce him by pressing her body against him in the guise of a holy hug. (tmi, I know. I'm sorry. I doubt it would work, anyway.)And on religious art, we don't know what Jesus looked like, right? That's why I favor either icons, because they serve a particular purpose, or somewhat abstracted figurative art. I have a painting of Jesus at Emmaus which is a reproduction from a mural in a church in France I once visited. I love it. You can barely see his face and he looks very ordinary. I think that's why I like it so much.

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Angela Hoffman

posted August 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

First of all, I have to say that I got tears from laughing so hard at Jason's comments on all 3 of these prints.I'll also have to echo Thomas' comment above. However, if I MUST choose I'll have to choose #3. To me, Jesus is depicted as a DJ and is tearing up a new jam on the turntable. (he's mixing a club version of "Jesus is My Friend")

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posted August 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Jesus is awesome and I love me some good Star Wars quotes in a blog. However, I have to point out that it's Alderaan, not Alderon (the geek inside of me just won't shut up about it).Anyways, #3 definitely reminds me of Galactus from The Fantastic Four.We have this picture:'s of Jesus holding up a man. Jesus has a white robe on and He's barefoot (maybe He's a big Jedi/Star Wars fan). The man is definitely from the 80's, doesn't wear an undershirt, and might be a carpenter. (I know the actual connotations of the picture; fyi)

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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I like the first one because I used it a few months ago when talking about the obsession of girls calling Jesus their 'boyfriend' which I think is kind of gross, and makes for dysfunctional relationships.

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Robert R. Cargill

posted August 22, 2009 at 9:40 am

i'm voting for #3: jesus, warming himself by the fire of earth's global warming. because they say it's cold in outer space, and if i were jesus in heaven, and heaven is in space, then i'd get cold. and i'd think to my self, 'jesus, it's cold!' so i'd float to earth on occasion just to say hi and warm my hands, which happen to be about the size of australia.

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posted September 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I vote for "hugging Jesus." I think it reflects his time on earth better than the others.

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Wesley Mcgranor

posted November 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I am going for the third one.

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