Christ: Stained-glass or Subversive?


Pasolini’s Jesus
Originally uploaded by smh00a.

Here are a few amazing excerpts from our conversation with Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch Friday night. Prior to this excerpt, they had spent about 30 minutes illustrating the fact that the church has focused so narrowly on its 15% of the population to the complete detriment of the un-reached 85%. Now they are beginning to focus on why that is, and offer a solution:

Hirsch: American Evangelicalism, but focusing narrowly on a very small segment of Jesus’ life, it diminishes all the rest of his life, which actually adds substance to his death and gives it meaning, so that you’ve got the humanity of Christ, which means more.

Frost: The incarnation is absolutely central, and I would suggest, the most disturbing of all doctrines. Really, in abandoning the genuine nature of the incarnation, you’ve got a God-like person who isn’t really that human at all. The reason why I think it disturbs us this much is that it challenges us to be Christlike, and to be Christlike is to be completely faithful to Yahweh, while at the same time thriving in the host empire. Fully human, fully holy. A lot of times we like the fully holy Jesus, but we don’t like the fully human Jesus.

Jesus has basically become the picture book Jesus – the alabaster Jesus, the stain-glass Jesus. But the Jesus of the Bible is actually a radical, Middle-eastern subversive, actually calling us to the same kind of lifestyle. That is a very, very distressing thought to many Americans.

[Recommends Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew — says Jesus wears a hood and is always lurking in the shadows, worried someone would find out about him]

I don’t want to follow the Jesus from the Jesus movies. He doesn’t excite me at all. The real man Jesus gathered together a band of disciples and radically changed the world. Who could do that, looking like he just stepped out of a shampoo commercial?

So the solution to the church’s woes is a more orthodox Christology, eh? What do you think about the Frost/Hirsch diagnosis and their image of Jesus Christ? Is it accurate? As Christ-followers, what does this mean for us?

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