I want my black or perhaps brown Jesus back.
The white one looks too much like a cracker-church-lawyer in a hoodless white smock and rather too “pretty” locks of long blond hair. Ok, a surfer-cracker-church-lawyer. Regardless, it’s not working for me. He smells of racism.
The brown man who was so kind, strong, gentle and humble. The good man they hunted and then killed by clerical hierarchy and their pit bull-ecclesial-lawyers; men who wore vestments but were little more than scripture-holding-photo-ops in synagogue courtyards.
I want the real Jesus. The man, not the monk. The dark-skinned man whom secular first-century historians mention briefly as homely and short. After 20 years of tall, pale Trump-like-bishops, I want Jesus.
I want Jesus.
Not the tall, blond, pink, blue-eyed Jesus. No. I want the real one.
Not the crowned, enthroned Jesus. The real one.
Not the haloed Jesus, the real one.
Not the transactional Jesus. The real one.
I want the brown Jesus. Or perhaps he was dark brown.
A man of patience, not patriarchy.
A man of being, not Bishops.
A man of kindness, not clergy.
A man of acceptance, not attack.
A man of color, not collars.
A man of rags, not vestments.
A man of alleys, not isles.
A man of bread, not wafers.
A man of wooden crooks, not golden croziers.
A man of oiled, buff pecs, not jewell-encrusted pectoral crosses.
A man of restitution, not resolutions.
A man of consolation, not conventions.
A man of friends, not Fathers and Mothers.
A man of prostitutes, not prelates.
A man of drawing in sand, not throwing the first stone.
A man of walks, not seminaries.
A man of reconciliation, not Title Four grenades.
A man of oiled foot massages by sensuous people, not customaries by celibate priests.
A man of wandering wilderness-preachers, not calculating diocesan chancellors.
A man of….a man of…a black man. Or a brown man.
Unskilled in Canon Law.
Unconcerned about church politics. Uninterested in Bishop’s elections.
Unconcerned about vestments and clerical garb except that they were a warning sign of danger – then as now. A brown man.
I want that kind, humble black or perhaps brown man. Where has He been these 2,000 years? If I wipe off the plaster and paint of our statues will he be there underneath?
We have no data on the shade of beautiful.
We know only that he bled red – a red that, before leaving the body, was red and blue.
He bled from arteries and veins of both red and blue beneath that skin. A black man filled with red and blue in co-mingled miles.
A black man who began a movement which became this sad, wizened, diseased church; soon to be so gently, elegantly, quietly starved to death.
Christianity may survive and even thrive, as may Buddhism and other religions exposing kindness; but only the bits and pieces with gentleness-rags still evident. The lace will rot away. Generations X or Y or Z will not choose the pasty, pale, paid clergy of today’s Church. Rather, they will continue to leave our churches or grow up outside them; walking on beaches and through forests; looking for a beautiful black man whom they say walked the earth 2,000 years ago. A black man who still does inside so many. A black life mattered that day on Golgotha. Indeed, it mattered very much. And many like him in holiness and color still do.