An offensive depiction of Jesus?

Interesting problem with one of the icons in a Catholic church in Oklahoma.  Their main crucifix is in the style of a San Damiano cross, which depicts Christ with a distended stomach.  In this instance, a bunch of people are seeing a huge erection instead.  Some have even left the church over it.

The poor artist, an orthodox Catholic, sounds really torn up about it, and will alter the icon.  According to a fellow artist, sounds like it’s a problem of contrast when the art is viewed from a ways back – something which would have been very difficult to see upon painting it up close.

Regardless: does it seem crazy to anyone else that many are more easily offended by the notion of Jesus having an erection than of Jesus’ death by crucifixion?

Warr Acres Crucifix

The Warr Acres Crucifix, in the San Damiano style

San Damiano Crucifix

A traditional San Damiano Crucifix

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7 Responses to “An offensive depiction of Jesus?”

  1. Tasha Says:

    does it seem crazy to anyone else that many are more easily offended by the notion of Jesus having an erection than of Jesus’ death by crucifixion?

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. Christians are horrified at the thought of a deity with a sexual side — hell, they’re often afraid of a deity with emotions and a human side, considering the insistence that Christ couldn’t have had a wife or family of his own. Christ is even purported to have forsaken his earthly parents. I get that this is supposed to show Christ’s allegiance to his heavenly Father, but I think it’s also an interesting detachment and stunting of emotion.

    I find it so very strange that people are fine with the idea of their Savior being crucified (and relish it, really, considering some of the Good Friday services I’ve been witness to). I guess that in a very cold and very real way, it’s a means to an end. You can’t have a resurrection without a death. We know that the capital punishment for political rabble-rousers at the time was crucifixion, but why the stories about Jesus breathing his last and getting speared in the side? Is it really a “lookit what Jesus went through for you” or is it something more?

    Anyway, I think the “erection” looks like a butternut squash.

    • Tom Ryberg Says:

      “Anyway, I think the “erection” looks like a butternut squash.”

      Now THAT’S completely unacceptable. I, for one, am horrified that Jesus’ penis is being depicted as a vegetable!

    • Tom Ryberg Says:

      Also:

      “why the stories about Jesus breathing his last and getting speared in the side? Is it really a ‘lookit what Jesus went through for you’ or is it something more?”

      This is an interesting question in light of how Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ came off to me (“WTF was that???”).

      Well, for me, it does make Good Friday more ‘real’ or ‘serious’ or something…I’ll have to think more on this.

  2. Fran Says:

    It is an incarnational faith. Why is that so hard for so many? I am ever mystified by my co-religionists (for those who do not know me, Catholics) who should really be aware of this, but are not.

    I do not have the time but one day would love to address the theology that gets put forth as Tasha has experienced it. Tasha, so many miss the point, it is really sad.

    Butternut squash – hah!

  3. Fran Says:

    Somehow this brought to mind my friend Shannon’s blog. She is a Catholic prison chaplain; she gets incarnation.

    http://findinggracewithin.blogspot.com/2010/04/im-just-saying.html

  4. Fran Says:

    Some day, some day, I will get myself together enough to write and address the whole Mel Gibson Passion of the Christ movie. One day…*sigh*

    • Tom Ryberg Says:

      Can’t wait to hear about it – I feel I have a pretty good idea of what you might say, only you’d say it more eloquently and wisely than I can imagine in my head!


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