Fashion of The Christ: An Extreme Makeover for The Son of Man
by Annie Prada-Klein
Undeniably, the Christian core of this nation is under attack. From
the heights of Brokeback Mountain to our flagging moral Will-power
and lack of Grace, we’re being peered at by a Queer Eye indeed,
staring us down with the Armies of Darkness. The liberal elites force
their agenda down our throats and then give themselves Academy Awards
for the effectiveness of their iniquity.
With the glowering specter of such broadsides against common decency
as Tinky-Winky, The Book of Daniel, and Spongebob Gaypants,
how are the young to be brought to Jesus? How can a moldering old religion,
this old rugged cross of Christianity, be made relevant to a generation
of lost souls constantly jacked into the violent pornography on their
partial answer may lie in a simple change of wardrobe. Traditional depictions
of Christ are of two primary sorts: the living Jesus in some kind of
old-fashioned robe - most likely tan or a dingy white - wearing sandals
and sporting an unruly beard and indifferently-styled hair. The other
image is of Christ crucified, the classic ecce homo look on
all those depressing crucifixes painted by Giotto in the 14th Century.
Here, Jesus Christ is seen as emaciated and bleeding, clothed in only
a loincloth and with a thorny chunk of the landscape as His headgear.
While these images are no doubt theologically cogent, neither is likely
to appeal to a cadre of kids whose sense of style has been carefully
coiffed by neo-Jazz-age Sean Jean suits and a blinged-out 50 Cent. The
youth of today view a midriff-bearing, go-go booted Jessica Simpson
as the all-American girl, even as she seduces an obviously underage
boy in a Pizza Hut spot. What could be more off-putting to an image-conscious
“metrosexual” than a Lord and Savior who looks the part
of a bleeding-hearted, LSD-addled old hippie? Likewise, the young ladies
who are trained to respond to the Vin Diesels of the world are bound
to find a scrawny fellow with handmade underwear and a hat made from
shrubbery a bit unlikely for the role of Holy Warrior of the Armageddon.
In other words, in order to stay relevant, J.C. needs a makeover, and
I mean now.
Much in the same way that churches everywhere have traded in “My
Shepherd Will Supply My Need” for catchier, simpler, more rhythmic
Praise and Worship songs, Christian image-makers need to do away with
both the oddball flowing robes with the Bedouin-meets-Grizzly-Adams
look, and the buzzkill picture of suffering and despair. I mean, seriously,
this is 2006: if the message is too downbeat or the look not hip to
the street, kids can just change the proverbial channel over to the
dangerous likes of New Age mysticism or atheistic Secular Humanism,
both of which get dandied up by Hollywood types through seductions like
Star Wars and the Harry Potter series.
First of all, Christ’s hair. If we must have length, the least
we could do is go all one length: something more surfer hunk
and less Willie Nelson junk. Perhaps something chin length would be
appropriate, and make sure Jesus gets a good shampoo, conditioner, and
blow-dry: we want a Holy head with body and sheen. Next, the beard has
got to go. Period. And no goatees - that is far too ‘90s proto-emo
- and no stubble. We need a clean-shaven Jesus who shows a little self-respect.
How are we supposed to believe in Him when He doesn’t believe
in Himself enough to run a razor across His cheeks every once in a while?
To finish off the spa treatment, Jesus should get a nice facial massage
and an eyebrow pluck. The little things that are noticed the least make
the biggest difference. I would also personally recommend teeth whitening,
but chances are His glowing, Godly beauty will do enough to shine through
Next, the Heavenly body. I know that the lean look was meant to convey
a certain asceticism, a reflection of the paucity of faith of this world
and the sinfulness He died on the cross to correct. But really. Get
Jesus to the gym. How can a Christ with no pecs and no six-pack
be fit to fight the devil? You can sure bet Satan and all his minions
project a much buffer image than that! We need a Christus Victor
who can lift the Whore of Babylon and curl her with one bicep, not a
Redeemer who will crumple like a house of cards in a five mile an hour
A more updated Jesus takes to the town; His
style is casual but hip, street savvy, but approachable -- perfect
for today's teen.
|Last in the appearance department would have to be the Son of
God’s clothes. A strict adherence to tradition does us no
favors in a decontextualized postmodern age. Ask your average adolescent
if she knows what people wore in 33 A.D. and she will look at you
like you just walked out of a Steppenwolf concert. That is because
she does not know and she does not care: history is for boring old
people who like their movies in black and white. I’m thinking
Jesus needs something forceful and fit from Armani for more formal
occasions, something double-breasted and white, with a baby-blue
Fubu tracksuit and a few gold chains for gatherings at the flag
pole. He could even go with Abercrombie and Fitch or (if need be)
The Gap for church mixers and prayer groups. One could even envision
our Risen Lord in a pair of lo-rise jeans (all the better to show
off His gym-fresh glutes!) and a turtleneck ala J. Crew for lazy
days of miraculous healing and fishing for men.
Finally, whatever the Christian community in this country does, it
should not show Jesus dying! Of course He died for our sins, and that
is certainly important. But Generation Y does not like to dwell on the
negative; that’s for passe, Morrissey-loving Gen-Xers. Today’s
youth need an upbeat Jesus, one who can be envisioned enjoying a cappuccino
at the local coffee shop or maybe snowboarding at Aspen. We need an
X-treme sports Jesus, a Christ with an MP3 player blasting Jars of Clay.
We need a successful Lord, one who represents our values. If Christianity
is to survive, it must move upscale from a King of Kings with only an
ass to ride on to a King of the Benjamins riding on 24" rims in
a Cadillac Escalade. A Redeemer bivouaced on a mountainside delivering
bromides about flowers and stories about servants may have been meaningful
to a first century Hebrew crowd, but today’s youth will only listen
if Christ can invite the crew of MTV into his phat crib next to the
Family Research Council HQ in Colorado Springs.
Skeptics may scoff at what is being presented here, but it is not out
of line with what has already been accomplished by the wholesaling of
worship as big-box store that is the contemporary MegaChurch. What works
for value-conscious Baby-Boomers would work equally well for style-conscious
young people. We fighters in the culture wars must act boldly; if we
want to save souls, we must use any means necessary.