"To My Coworkers"

Today a couple well-meaning coworkers showed me something I suppose I should consider offensive (or hilarious, from my coworkers' perspective). It was an online computer graphic dress-up set... with a cartoon Jesus on a cross, with goofy Halloween garments to drag onto him.


I actually totally understand making fun of Christianity. Back in college, I made fun of Christianity all the time. I mean, what else are you supposed to do when you feel somewhat oppressed by the moral majority of the country - all those people who want to shove their religion down others' throats, and make all the laws match their particular beliefs? And perhaps, like me, you grew up with so-called Christians who were just as mean and nasty (if not moreso, due to their self-righteousness) than anyone else? People who'd rather "throw the first stone" than stop, listen, put themselves in the other person's shoes, live and let live. The ones who do unto others as they hate having done unto themselves. Hypocrisy at its finest! Oh yes, I felt resentful of the powerful Christians, and when you are the underdog, you will naturally tend to mock the ones perceived to have social power. Or, just think of how Democrats and Republicans in the US fling mud on each other every election year - this is just human nature.

But now for the irony. Let's look at the nominal core of Christianity - Jesus (where "Christ" is not actually the last name, despite popular misconception). This was a man who was reviled by the religious establishment of his day for ... yes ... lambasting the religious hypocrisy of his time. Here was a guy who told it like it was - that the religious leaders cared more for wealth and prestige than they cared about doing the right thing. Hey, not only was he a rebel, but he did more than I did when I was making fun of the Christians - he was out there doing something about it and making noise in public, AND helping the downtrodden little guy.

But wait, there's more! This radical activist, who denounced the power structure of his day, was then (according to the accounts we have) murdered, in part because he didn't toe the line, stay quiet, and support the religious establishment. So, if you think about it, he was in part killed for going several steps beyond my quiet back-room mockery of hypocritical religion.

In this day and age, we are still shocked (deep down) when well-meaning journalists and humanitarian care workers are kidnapped and murdered by religious militants in nasty ways when they were doing their jobs, trying to help the little guy. So here we have Jesus, who was (according to the accounts) murdered for standing up and basically doing the same thing. And now we have the cartoon dress-up set of Jesus on the instrument of murder.

Now then, if you've had bad experiences with Christians, I totally understand being cynical and sarcastic about that (though I think it's unhealthy in the long run). But this guy Jesus - does he deserve this treatment? Or was he actually more like the underdog good guy than most of us realize?

Just a thought.

Spirituality Learned the Hard Way