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.