An interesting bit in next week's Radio Times, about the various screen images of Christ. Apparently this is going to be explored in a Channel 4 documentary by theologian Robert Beckford.
He has put down eight different types of Jesus, represented on the screen.
The Rock Opera Jesus - See Jesus Christ Superstar
The Marxist Jesus - See The Gospel According to St Matthew
The Evangelical Jesus - See the Jesus film
The Hollywood Jesus - See The Greatest Story Ever Told (That's the one with John Wayne as the Centurion at the foot of the Cross)
The Official Jesus - See Jesus of Nazareth (The one with Robert Powell and a favourite of mine)
The Not-the-Messiah Jesus - See Life of Brian (and he wasn't even called Jesus, he was called Brian Cohen, who was mistaken by many as the genuine article and who was a very naughty boy)
The All-Too-Human Jesus - See The Last Temptation of Christ
The Fundamentalist Jesus - See The Passion of the Christ (Which was not anti-semitic, or indeed as provocative as was stated! Very violent though, and you have got to hand it to them for doing the dialogue in the original aramaic and latin!)
One of the things that comes to my mind, and does bother me when looking at all of this, is that we all have a habit of making Christ in our own image. We also tend to read the Bible on face value, or read it to suit our own agendas. For example, many point to the violence in the Old Testament, whereas one could also point to The Good Samaritan in the New Testament, or indeed the Psalms in the Old Testament. All complex and thought provoking nonetheless, but what is the crux of my faith is not whether Jesus was marxist or fundamentalist in the way some in the US believe, it is the fact that I believe that two-thousand years ago, God in human form decided that he would take the rap for all the bad things you and I have done. Whether we accept that is another matter, and then one goes into the realms of theological debate, but that is what I simply but firmly believe, whether you find it offensive or not!