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Your and my personal Jesus

By Pedro Fortunato ~

The series American Gods portrayed the figure of Jesus in one of its episodes in a very intelligent way. In the episode, there were several actors who looked very differently -- only the purple shirt guy is not representing Christ). I think the episode was clever because every one has a vision of one's own about Jesus. A vision that somehow reflects much of one's own worldview.

Thus, some people tells us about a loving, inclusive Jesus, who champions social justice above all (including religious morality). These people, however, seems to ignore that not so inclusive and very authoritative part in which the savior decrees that if yu do not believe in him, "you are already condemned" (John 3:18) and that Jesus, as a Jew preacher from the first century, would probably sound kind of sexist and homophobic if we could go back in time and interview him.

Meanwhile, some more conservative people love to point out how Jesus taught about hell, denying one's own flesh, and the need for holiness and repentance. These people, though, as the first group, seem to ignore some of Jesus teachings, usually the ones involving forgiveness, love and grace. It seems that people see Jesus as their convenience. And, speaking of it, something interesting happened here in Brazil in this Christmas season.

A well known comedian named Gregório Duvivier called Jesus a "comunist", what led to other well knwon comedian named Danilo Gentilli reply that since Jesus taught you to share "your" belongings, he could not be a comunist, as the posssessive pronoun indicates private property. It is funny because the first one is known for his left-wing comments and the second for his right-wing comments (although, many argue that there is no right and left in Brazilian politics as we are a crazy country in these matters). So, it is yet another example of how people imagine Jesus according to their own expectations and worldview.

In Jesus' world there was no capitalism or socialism, no right or left in politics. But in our world today there is such things and, therefore, Jesus is reinterpreted. Any type of Jesus is possible, as the American Gods episode showed us. He may be capitalist, socialist, revolutionary or conservative. In this sense he truly is omnipotent.

But the historical Jesus, the apocalyptic prophet of Judea, from the 1st century, this one is just for academic speculation. He cannot justify anyone's arguments, so let's leave him there, dead, in the first century. The Jesus who has resurrected has so many more possibilities, just look at the number of churches we have.

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