There’s another direction that the faces of Jesus can go, too; people frequently report seeing Jesus’ face (usually the bearded, long-haired Caucasian Jesus) in a variety of unexpected places. Buzzfeed lists some, and shows us how much and how little some of them look like faces, let alone how we might expect the face of Jesus to look.
Many people have found a week of creativity and community in the desert to be a spiritual experience, but not always one associated with organized religion. Here are a few examples of Burning Man attendees, or “Burners,” who find parallels between their experiences in the desert and the philosophy of the Gospels.
This article from The Atlantic last year looks at the shift in ways that Jesus has been popularly depicted in film since 1970. It considers the film version of Godspell rather than the stage production, but gives some insight into the context in terms of religious movements and the media landscape, then and now.
“Hippies and their religious analogue, the Jesus People, defined themselves by experimentation. … For the latter, it meant relating to Jesus in new ways. Their ‘buddy’ Jesus ‘took a bad rap.’ The new vernacular even had a new Bible, The Way, which translated biblical texts into what seemed then a ‘cool’ idiom.”
Burning Man creates a city in a desert every year that lasts for a week, and then is completely removed. Among the many structures that Burners erect for the week of Burning Man each year are temples. The Huffington Post looks at ten years of temples and the spirituality of Burning Man that they reveal.
It’s an hour long, but this panel is full of great discussion of the different ways that Burning Man, and groups influenced by Burning Man, create and nurture communities.
Here’s a gallery of images that show many sides, not of the characters in Godspell, but of Burning Man. Like Olney’s Godspell, Burning Man is about the formation of a community, intact only briefly but with long-ranging impact on its members. While Burning Man didn’t exist when Godspell was first produced, its cultivation of creativity and free-spiritedness is a good match for the hippie culture with which Godspell is associated. If you’re interested in a scholarly look at spirituality and ritual at Burning Man, check out Lee Gilmore’s book on the subject.