Exactly What DOES Jesus Look Like?

I am reading a book right now called “Untamed” by Alan and Debra Hirsch. In the first section, they make a case for “Untaming” (our perception of) Jesus. I thought this was very interesting. (For the record: I think Mark Driscoll is the man! But I also agree with this excerpt).

A recent example of reimaging Jesus was supplied by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll. He has become somewhat infamous for his portrayal of Jesus as some sort of ultimate fighter. But in attempting to “butch up” [our perception of] Jesus and make him appeal to “real men,” has Driscoll come close to creating Jesus in his own image? Consider this from one of his sermons:

“Latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers do not represent biblical masculinity, because real men — like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist — are dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes. In other words, because Jesus is not a limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie, the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”

Now we don’t believe Mark’s original intention was bad. What he was trying to do is rescue Jesus from the overly feminized ways in which Jesus has been portrayed. We would agree and also want to rescue the image of Jesus from this. … But the problem with Driscoll’s ultimate-fighting Jesus is that Jesus has been freed from one distortion only to be captured by another.

It cannot be but a distortion. Is Jesus really some “punch-you-in-the-nose-type dude”? And is that really the model and type of Christlike masculinity to which every man should aspire? We think not.

I’m in full agreement. I prefer not to sweat when I work. I’ve never been in a fight. And I like lattes.

Was Jesus a manly man’s man? – You bet. But he was also kind and gentle. What if an effeminate man (with or without same-sex attraction) wanted to find salvation through Jesus? Does this demonstrate that our Jesus isn’t okay with him?

Jesus came to identify with all of mankind. Let’s be careful never to tame that.

2 Replies to “Exactly What DOES Jesus Look Like?”

  1. Once again – for the record – I LOVE MARK DRISCOLL. He’s the bomb. But as the post stated – I do think he’s put Jesus in a box of perception. We ALL do this sometimes… and we all oughtta be careful to assume that Jesus doesn’t look just like me. We were made in HIS image, not the other way around. Okay that’s all. Hope you enjoyed this.

  2. You knew I would chime in on this. 🙂

    I think you’re spot on. Jesus was certainly kind and gentle, especially to those in need. But he also turned over the tables of the moneychangers. When a group of armed men came after him, he taunted them.

    I think Driscoll’s characterization of Jesus answers a deep need in a lot of men. For the last 50 or so years, Christianity and our society in general has basically downplayed masculinity. I can’t think of a single time in my upbringing, and quite often recently, in which the masculine “stand strong for what is right, don’t back down” has been emphasized. Instead, it’s “oh, turn the other cheek, be nice, be a doormat”.

    Jesus wasn’t a doormat. He wasn’t a jerk either. He was a strong man (and God!), secure in Himself and His relationship with the Father. Not a troublemaker, but He sure didn’t back down from the evil around Him.

    And, He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my commander. He’s my brother. He’s my God. But not my boyfriend. Let’s make that clear.

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