February 21, 2013

“Djesus Uncrossed” and America’s violent version of Jesus

I recently watched Saturday Night Live’s “Djesus Uncrossed” parody (which I thought was rather hilarious) and was reminded of this David R. Henson piece:

[E]ven though the sketch satirized Tarantino, it also said something quite profound and revealing, if unintentionally, about how Americans have remade Jesus in our own violent images.

Because, if truth be told, we’ve been trying to uncross Jesus for decades in this country, long before SNL got their pens into him.

[…]

The SNL sketch reveals the paucity of American popular theology with its camouflage and flag-draped Bibles that segregate the story of God for American patriots only. It pulls back the curtain and shows us just how twisted our Jesus really is: We want a Savior like the one SNL offers. We want the Son of God to kick some ass and take some names. Specifically, our enemies’ names. And maybe the names of a few godless Democrats. Definitely the Muslims. And the atheists. And the … I could go on.

And you know The Slacktivist wouldn’t leave this one alone. Although I don’t often agree with him, I did appreciate what he wrote regarding “Djesus Uncrossed” and how it compares to the theology put forth in the Left Behind novels.

It’s understandable if someone thinks the SNL skit goes too far — that’s what it’s trying to do. But the premise of the sketch is far more reverent than the premise of Tim LaHaye’s scene of mass-slaughter.

LaHaye revels in gushing entrails and melting eyeballs, his blood-smeared face breaking out into a pious grin as he cheers. “This,” he says, “this is what Jesus Christ is really like! This is the real, true Jesus!”

The SNL skit, by contrast, presents itself as offering the most over-the-top, ludicrous idea it could conceive. “Nothing,” it says, “nothing could be more absurd than to imagine Jesus like this.”