Jesus’ Many Faces

Jesus has been depicted by numerous artists across the world and throughout history.

Some ask, from a historical perspective, “What can we really know about Jesus?” but here, we look instead at examples of what Jesus and his ideas have meant to artists.  Others have compiled their own galleries; what images would you include?

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.

Christian Spirituality at Burning Man

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.

Pastor Phil Wyman’s Blog

Christian Scientist Michael Morgan’s “We Are All Prophets

Interview with Lee Gilmore, author of Theater in a Crowded Fire: Ritual and Spirituality at Burning Man

Whatever Happened to Hippy Jesus?

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.”

The Rebel Jesus

“Jesus’ political climate is our political climate, and therefore we must not forget the revolutionary reality of our religious roots.”

Rev. Starsky Wilson of St. John’s United Church of Christ in St. Louis

There has been a lot of debate over what Jesus would think of various contemporary social issues.  In St. Louis, and many other cities, that question has brought people from churches out to protests.  Godspell emerged out of a time of civil unrest and an active struggle for social justice, and its reflections on Jesus as a rebel—carving his own path and upsetting the religious status quo—remain topical.  The connections are there without having to venture far from the Gospels themselves.

Have lovely holidays, with whatever religious or social significance you prefer, and keep an eye out for more thought-provocation and context as we approach Godspell in the new year!

(I don’t believe that the song functions as a generalization against all Christians, but rather as a social critique; however, this is the internet, so here’s an opposing point of view!)