Friday, June 01, 2018

No Jesus Please, We're Baptist!

 Baptist church removing Jesus statue it deems too “Catholic”

Why am I not surprised. At all. A Baptist congregation in South Carolina has informed a sculpture whose image of Jesus has been in their church for a decade that it will be removed. The seven-foot image of Jesus with outstretched arms has been deemed --wait for it-- "Catholic in nature." God help us!
I wrote once about the question of our then teen son Isaac about images of the cross in Protestant churches. Many congregations displayed multiple crosses, but no crucifixes. He wondered why Protestants are so averse to depictions of Jesus on the cross even though we have plenty of hymns such as Beneath the Cross of Jesus which remind us of the sacrificial love of Christ. It was a good point then, and still is. 

There is an original painting of the crucified Christ by a French artist at Bridge St church, the last congregation I served. I found it quite moving. Yet in was in the seldom used chapel, on the back wall, sometimes obscured by piles of chairs.

The sculpture in the Baptist church isn't a crucifix though. Jesus' arms are raise in a pose of blessing, or even welcome.

Perhaps Jesus, the Jew. should be depicted as shaking his head in dismay. Or perhaps with arms tightly across his chest, as a reminder that in some churches those "outsiders" to whom Jesus responded  really aren't accepted. How is that for "southern welcome"!?

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