A Child is Born

We don’t know exactly what Jesus looked like, in the Occident most portrayals of Jesus are blond haired and blue eyed. Some scholars are describing him as Afro-Asiatic in descent given his background, geography, and the common ethnic mixing of that particular time. While we don’t know exactly what he looked like, I always appreciate various African and Black expressions of Jesus.  While many are offended by such pictures (while never giving a second thought to European depictions of Jesus), I think it is important for those who have been oppressed (socially and psychologically) to be able to identify with the God who came down and incarnated to identify with us.  It is not a visual message of colonial oppression, power, and dominance, but rather of liberation, empowerment, redemption, solidarity, and love.

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3 comments

  1. JasonS · December 24, 2010

    It’s a nice picture, and a nice sentiment.
    I wonder why we don’t see pictures of a homely, normal looking Jew anywhere? That’s what Jesus was.

  2. Drew Hart · December 24, 2010

    That’s a great question… honestly, Christianity historically has done everything it could divorce itself from Jews ethnically and culturally. Much of today’s watered down theology can be at least connected to if not completely traced back to the West’s severing Jesus from his Jewish body, culture, religion, and context of the time. After that was done, he could be recreated anyway we liked. While I think we can have some artistic and theological freedom to imagine Jesus now in our time and context, it ought to only be done after careful and thoughtful reflection of who Jesus truly was. Then and only then can we have a more faithful understanding of Jesus’ relevance now. Thanks for the comment and stopping by.

  3. arajrao · December 24, 2010

    Its interesting Drew. A long time ago, I read somewhere that the earliest paintings of Augustine depict him as black. It makes sense – he was an African. The thing is … so many later paintings depict him as white.

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