Being born into the body I have been born into means that when I see certain images of people or entities I am supposed to emulate that I will have different perspectives than those who look exactly like them.
Even though I am aware the Jesus was not a White man, but was probably tan or brown and Middle eastern & African or some kind of POC mix the White images of Jesus are so prevalent that it is very hard to un-see and undo the frequent images that I have already been indoctrinated with. In fact, within my grandfathers home there are images of White Jesus or Colonizer Jesus as I would prefer to refer to him as on the walls.
Because it’s his house and I respect his right to decorate his home as he pleases I will not take any of those images down even though they are toxic.
I understand that some people won’t understand what the big deal is. For the longest time I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I personally did not care what color Jesus was, it didn’t matter to me. However I would note that whenever I spoke to my White friends about what Jesus could have looked like, whenever I proposed that Jesus could have been Black there was so much push back like “Oh hell no, there’s no way in hell that Jesus could have ever been a Black man!”
Even though I pointed out the fact of the geography and the major unlikelihood that anyone from those areas would have been blonde with blue eyes they were absolutely convinced that Jesus looked exactly like them.
I was so convinced by this constant denial that I started thinking to myself, maybe I just want Jesus to be Black so badly so that I won’t feel so isolated as a minority. Maybe I want the superhero savior that I worship to be just like me so I will know that he not only cares for me but understands what it is like to walk on Earth in a targeted Black body.
I resonated very much with crucifixion because society crucifies Black bodies daily. It’s tragic and unjust. Instead of resonating with something so awful, I desired to resonate with something powerful. I wanted to resonate with Protestant Resurrection Jesus, not Catholic suffering martyr Jesus.
The Protestant church is good for promising immense prosperity, to the point that they completely ignore the reality of suffering within a Christian life. In fact bringing up suffering is so stigmatized that people sometimes will insist that people are suffering because they aren’t simply praying enough, they have done something bad, or they aren’t believing hard enough and their doubts are causing their downfall.
The Catholic church however focuses on suffering. It focuses on sacrifice. In that aspect some people get in their minds the idea that they deserve to suffer. To minorities this means forgiving and not fighting back. However this is quite unrealistic to some of the fighting back that Jesus did. Jesus did fight back several times and so did God.
Actually there have been some very harsh backlashes in the Bible like when God took the first sons of the Egyptians when Pharaoh wouldn’t free the people. When I heard that story at first I thought, but that’s not fair to kill an innocent child. The Egyptian children were simply born into an evil Empire. At the same time it also wasn’t fair that he Hebrew sons were slaughtered. I know that God has vengeance, but even though it is forbidden for humans, if I’m being truly honest, I desire it too, very much so.
I thought to myself well, when is our Exodus going to happen? Where is the Moses of Black people? I want to witness a sea split in two. I want blood on the river. I want those magnificent things. In my mind I think, I know there are people who are reading this thinking, wow, what a religious fool. However, these are my feelings, my own exploration and my own perspective on what I have been taught. If I don’t take the time to critically analyze it I won’t grow. I don’t want to just up and leave. I want to consciously think things through first before making any concrete decisions.
So getting back, when I realized that my friends were wrong and that Jesus is not in fact a blonde haired, blue eyed European, I started to wonder why they were so opposed to the idea that Jesus could be and is POC? If they would insist that race didn’t matter, that I was somewhat racist for insisting that he was POC and that who cares if Jesus is purple?
(I hate those analogies by the way, purple isn’t even a human color nor a color of marginalization gtfo with that mess!)
There are still people who absolutely avow that Jesus is White, all over the world. I know why this was done. It was done so that White Supremacy would remain deep in the hearts and minds of Christians worshipping a White savior.
Since I am also aware that this is a false narrative, I figured, I will worship the Jesus that I know to be true, POC Jesus or Black Jesus.
So I searched for images of Black and POC Jesus and on top of that I incorporated African Adinkra symbols from Ghana of “GyeNyame” making Jesus cultural.
I much more enjoyed drawing and being surrounded by GyeNyame’s then crosses and crucifixes. In fact the crucifix is such a grim reminder of how Jesus suffered. I don’t like looking at crucifixes, it has always freaked me out, which, is very un-Catholic of me.
I was honestly frightened by the giant life size crucifix at mass I would see every other Sunday. It just looked so awful and I’d think to myself honestly, I know God loves us but I don’t think a flawed humanity is worth the sacrifice of his only son. Honestly I don’t think we are worth it. We don’t deserve it. I am disgusted with humanity most days.
I certainly wouldn’t have sacrificed my only child for humanity, hex naw!
Anyway I recall a friend of mine posting a question that rocked me to my core. He asked, “Does praying to Black Jesus make your prayers get answered any faster?”
For me prayer has worked sometimes, and I know that prayer isn’t magic, it’s not like wishing on a genie. However sometimes I feel like God takes too long to answer prayers if at all sometimes and it’s incredibly frustrating. Sure, I live a great life, but what about all of the other people who aren’t?
It’s hard to accept that we live in a broken world, and it is especially difficult to accept that it’s due to two human’s mistake? I mean I don’t get it, if you’d punish us for what Adam and Eve did so harshly but then sacrifice your only son to save us, do you love us or do you hate us?
I know there are people who hate, you know who, because honestly I can’t really even write that. Not out of fear but out of respect. I know there are those who think, how can you respect such a cruel, fickle God?
Because even though I don’t understand everything and never will, there were times in my life that God really came through for me. It wasn’t my own strength saving me and I know that.
I need to be honest about what I feel and tune out what others are trying to tell me, on both sides, the religious and non-religious. In the end, I want to know what I feel without those influences. One is in the right ear, one is in the left, but really I want to listen to what is in the center of my head and my chest.
And I will find truth, I will find love, and I will figure this out, no matter how much time it takes.