Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skip-To-My-Lou Jesus

I have a really negative reaction to some of what passes for religious "art."

The sentimentality and vapidity of the accompanying text messages, combined with visuals that I find loathsome, really get me going.

Recently, SFC McG and I were at an outpost that had just renovated their chapel tent, spraying a foam on the outside which hardens and provides some stability and insulation, as well as putting up plywood walls inside. All in all, a really nice job, and a huge expenditure of effort on the part of everyone involved, I'm sure.

Someone felt the need to adorn the space with poster art, however.

One of the posters, which I espied as soon as I walked in, looked amazingly like what I'd imagine a 'Skip-To-My-Lou' Jesus would look like, though thankfully not with all the Aryan features he's normally given. (Why does so much Western religious art insist upon portraying Jesus as a member of the "master race"? He was a Semite, after all. Almost certainly NOT blond and blue-eyed. Sheesh.)

Try as I might, I don't find this sort of thing conducive to a deepening of my sense of spiritual connection to the Divine....

SFC McG guffawed as I described the 'artwork' while directing his attention toward it.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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Pete said...


I'm with you. I really can't stand all of the Jesus junk that is out there. Turns Jesus into a cheap action figure, an a poor one at that!


Anonymous said...

Fr. Tim,
I agree with you about "Skip to my Lou" Jesus. However, Catholics aren't immune to bad religious art either. I've seen some truly horrid depictions of Christ in Catholic churches, too. Dreary dark sepia toned depictions of a pasty skinned big eyed Jesus (you those big eyed puppies or kittens that were popular in the 60's and 70's) pointing to a big valentine shaped heart crisscrossed with thorns in his chest are a particular pet peeve of mine. Ick and double ick!

Just say "no" to all bad religious art. Shudder!

Anonymous said...

I, too, have my favorites in religious art, and my "ick" responses. Yet, it occurs to me that each piece meant something special, connecting the artist to the great "I Am That I Am" as that artist understood It in the moment. Perhaps the artist saw G_d dancing with joy in the Now... or suffering the angst of a drunk who then prays for help and is able to henceforward be resurected into Love. It's just a thought...

Love 'n hugs
msg :-) MaryShields

admajoremdeigloriam said...

Fr. Tim, I agree about the new "religious art" that is popping up everywhere. My first visit to one of our chapels on this cob left me quite disturbed as, in an effort to keep the chapel neutral, they placed a "welcome to all who enter" sign behind the altar where one might expect to see the Tabernacle in a Catholic chapel. While I understand the lack of tabernacle, I was quite disturbed by the sign because it was green with a giant pineapple on it. It almost felt like people come to the chapel to worship a fruit. Very disturbing...

Anonymous said...

Isnt it snobbish to comment on the art like that? I mean, someone thought it was important enough to share with others and from my view he looks black, not Aryan. Anyway the words certainly sustained me 20 years ago whe I needed it. It never ceases to amaze me how Godly people who "love" everyone are so quick to judge others.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Army must really be hurting for Catholic priests. Take about anyone these days.

Marne said...

Just a thank you to everyone who is honest and confident enough to give their opinion, pro or con, and SIGN THEIR NAME.

Anonymous said...

Yep, not like the Huffington POst eh?

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