How Jesus Became White

How an iconic painting of Jesus as a white man was distributed around the world

After being printed a billion times, the image came to define what the major figure of Christianity looked like for generations of Christians in the United States – and elsewhere. According to Carr, the director of ministry and administrative support staff of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Maryland, Sallman’s Jesus “expressed the image of God” for many years before his death. When she grew up and began to study the Bible on her own, she began to have questions about that artwork and the message it was sending out to the world around her.

Not for the first time, Sallman’s portrayal of Jesus and the influence it has had on not only theology but also the wider culture have been called into question.

Beginnings are modest.

As William Grimes of the New York Times put it in 1994, “Sallman was a Christian painter and illustrator whose most iconic work, ‘Head of Christ,’ attained a worldwide notoriety that makes Warhol’s soup look delightfully esoteric.” Sallman died in 1968.

Sallman, a Chicago-based commercial artist who grew up in the church that is now known as the Evangelical Covenant Church, was a member of the denomination that is now known as the Evangelical Covenant Church.

His strategy was successful.

A replica of the original “Head of Christ” was painted by Sallman for the school, but the original “Head of Christ” was sold to the religious publisher Kriebel & Bates, and so was born what Lipan refers to as a “Protestant icon.” According to Matthew Anderson, associate professor of religious studies at Concordia University in Montreal, “this specific picture of Jesus coincided with the start of the ‘Mad Men,’ of the marketing agency.” With little time, the picture traveled swiftly, being printed on prayer cards and distributed by a variety of groups, missionaries, and churches of all denominations: Catholic and Protestant; evangelical; mainline; white; and black.

  • During World War II, copies of the Bible were distributed to soldiers by the Salvation Army and the YMCA through the United Service Organizations (USO).
  • A variety of products with the picture were sold to the public including pencils, bookmarks, lamps and clocks.
  • What the scholar David Morgan has described as a “picture of Jesus” came to pass as a result.
  • Historically, according to Anderson, it has been usual for individuals to represent Jesus as a member of their own culture or ethnic group.
  • Some of the earliest depictions of Jesus showed him to have “extremely dark complexion, maybe African origin,” according to him.
  • The Chicagoan had been influenced by a long heritage of European painters, the most renowned of whom was the Frenchman Leon-Augustin Lhermitte, who had lived in the city for many years.
  • “It’s impossible to overlook a very Nordic Jesus,” he asserted.

It was during the civil rights struggle that Sallman’s picture of a Scandinavian savior came under fire for perpetuating the idea of a white Jesus in the minds of subsequent generations of Americans.

This week, the activist Shaun King called for the removal of sculptures representing Jesus as a European, as well as Confederate monuments, since the representation is a “form of white supremacy,” according to the activist.

she said on Twitter.

Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) is a social media influencer.

Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, has also expressed concern about the negative impact of images of a white Jesus on the African-American community and other communities.

According to her, Jesus looked “like the folks who were beating you up in the streets or setting dogs on you.” she added.

“If Jesus is white and God is white,” she asserted, “then authority must also be white,” she continued.

Blum, co-author of the 2014 book “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America,” have shown reluctance to abandon the picture of Jesus as being white.

Using solely white to represent Jesus, according to Tisby, has religious ramifications.

To say that Jesus is black, or, more broadly, to say that Jesus is not white, is to say that Jesus identifies with the oppressed and that God is not alien to the experience of marginalized people, but rather that God is on the side of those who, in Matthew 25, Jesus refers to as ‘the least of these,'” he explained.

  • Almost a decade after Sallman painted his “Head of Christ,” the Korean artist Kim Ki-chang developed a picture cycle depicting the life of Christ in traditional Korean clothes and surroundings, with figures from Korean folk religion as supporting characters.
  • Blum expressed himself.
  • “This one appears to be simple to give up.” More recently, Sofia Minson, a New Zealand artist of Ngti Porou Mori, English, Swedish, and Irish background, recreated Sallman’s Jesus as an indigenous Mori man with a customary facial tattoo.
  • Furthermore, there are various popular representations of Jesus who is African-American.
  • McKenzie’s design was picked as the winner since it was based on a black woman.
  • Carr says she is attempting to avoid pigeonholing Jesus into a single picture these days.

According to her, “It’s not so much the painting as it’s my query about who Jesus is.” “It’s more accurately a representation of the person who I view across the aisle as representing a different Jesus.”

The long history of how Jesus came to resemble a white European

The post was published on July 22, 2020, and the update was published on July 22, 2020. By Anna Swartwood House, [email protected], University of South Carolina No one knows what Jesus looked like, and there are no known photos of him during his time on the earth. According to art history professor Anna Swartwood House’s article published in The Conversation, the depictions of Christ have had a tortuous history and have had a variety of functions throughout history. When it comes to portraying Jesus as a white, European guy, there has been heightened scrutiny during this era of reflection on the history of racism in our culture.

  1. Prominent scholars, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have urged for a reexamination of Jesus’ image as a white man in the gospels.
  2. 1350 to 1600 and how it has changed through time.
  3. However, the image of Jesus that has been replicated the most is from a different historical period.
  4. Sallman, a former commercial artist who specialized in creating artwork for advertising campaigns, was successful in marketing this photograph across the world.
  5. Sallman’s painting is the culmination of a lengthy tradition of white Europeans who have created and disseminated images of Christ that are in their own image.

In search of the holy face

Several first-century Jews from Galilee, a region in biblical Israel, shared the same brown eyes and skin tone as the actual Jesus, according to speculation. No one, however, is certain about Jesus’ physical appearance. In addition, there are no known photos of Jesus during his lifetime, and whereas the Old Testament kings Saul and David are specifically described in the Bible as “tall and attractive,” there is no evidence of Jesus’ physical appearance in either the Old or New Testaments. Even these passages are in conflict with one another: The prophet Isaiah writes that the coming messiah “had no beauty or majesty,” yet the Book of Psalms states that he was “fairer than the children of mankind,” with the term “fair” referring to physical attractiveness on his person.

that the earliest representations of Jesus Christ appeared, amidst worries about idolatry.

Early Christian painters frequently used syncretism, which is the combination of visual formats from other civilizations, in order to clearly show their functions.

In some popular portrayals, Christ is depicted as wearing the toga or other qualities associated with the emperor.

Viladesau says that Christ’s mature bearded appearance, with long hair in the “Syrian” manner, combines elements of the Greek god Zeus with the Old Testament character Samson, among other things.

Christ as self-portraitist

Portraits of Christ that were considered authoritative likenesses were thought to be self-portraits: the miraculous “image not formed by human hands,” or acheiropoietos, which means “image not made by human hands.” This belief dates back to the seventh century A.D., and it is based on a legend that Christ healed King Abgar of Edessa in modern-day Urfa, Turkey, through a miraculous image of his face, now known as the Mandylion.

  • The Mandylion is a miraculous image of Christ’s face that was created by the Holy Spirit.
  • If we look at it from the standpoint of art history, these objects served to strengthen an already established picture of a bearded Christ with shoulder-length, black hair.
  • Some people did this to express their identification with Christ’s human suffering, while others did it to make a statement about their own creative potential.
  • In this, he posed in front of the camera as if he were an icon, his beard and luxurious shoulder-length hair evoking Christ’s own.

In whose image?

Interestingly, this phenomena was not limited to Europe: there are 16th- and 17th-century paintings of Jesus that include elements from Ethiopia and India, for example. The image of a light-skinned European Christ, on the other hand, began to spread throughout the world as a result of European commerce and colonization in the early centuries. The “Adoration of the Magi” by the Italian painter Andrea Mantegna, painted in A.D. 1505, depicts three separate magi, who, according to one contemporaneous story, came from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, adoring the infant Jesus.

However, Jesus’ fair complexion and blue eyes show that he was not born in the Middle East, but rather in Europe.

Anti-Semitic beliefs were already widespread among the majority Christian population in Mantegna’s Italy, and Jewish people were frequently divided into their own districts of large towns, according to Mantegna.

A move toward the Christianity symbolized by Jesus might be signified by even seemingly insignificant characteristics such as pierced ears (earrings were traditionally connected with Jewish women, and their removal with a conversion to Christianity).

Much later, anti-Semitic groups in Europe, especially the Nazis, would strive to completely separate Jesus from his Judaism in favor of an Aryan caricature, a move that was ultimately successful.

White Jesus abroad

As Europeans conquered ever-more-distant regions, they carried a European Jesus with them to share with the people. Jesuit missionaries developed painting schools where new converts might learn about Christian art in the European tradition. It was created in the school of Giovanni Niccol, the Italian Jesuit who founded the “Seminary of Painters” in Kumamoto, Japan in 1590. The altarpiece, which is small in size, combines a traditional Japanese gilt and mother-of-pearl shrine with a painting of a distinctly white, European Madonna and Child.

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Saint Rose of Lima, the first Catholic saint to be born in “New Spain,” is shown in a picture by artist Nicolas Correa from 1695, in which she is seen metaphorically married to a blond, light-skinned Christ.

Legacies of likeness

Edward J. Blumand is a scholar. During the decades after European colonization of the Americas, some say that images of a white Christ were connected with the logic of empire and could be used to justify the persecution of Native and African Americans. Paul Harvey makes this argument. Although America is a mixed and uneven society, the media portrayal of a white Jesus was disproportionately prominent. A huge majority of performers who have represented Jesus on television and in films have been white with blue eyes, and this is not limited to Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ.

  1. It is true that representation matters, and viewers must be aware of the intricate history of the pictures of Christ that they see and absorb.
  2. See the source article for more information.
  3. Raphael is an artist who creates collections.
  4. Inform your social network connections about what you are reading about by posting on their pages.

The Surprising Story Of How Jesus Became A White Guy

It is in the public domain. Carl Heinrich Bloch’s painting of a white Jesus Christ, painted in the nineteenth century, is on display. For over 2,000 years, the person of Jesus Christ has been a source of respect and worship. Christ is revered as the major figure in Christianity, and representations of him adorn the walls of churches, houses, and museums across the globe. But why does Jesus appear to be white in the majority of these depictions? Throughout western Europe, as Jesus’ followers extended out of the Middle East, sometimes by committed missionary labor, sometimes through more violent ways, people began to fashion Jesus into their own image.

Although researchers have a better understanding of what people looked like in the Middle East during this time period, they do not believe they were light-skinned in the first century. Despite this, a white Jesus continues to be the paradigm in most contemporary representations. Why?

Early Depictions Of Jesus

Although the Bible recounts the life of Jesus Christ — whose given name was Yeshua — it has little information regarding his physical appearance. The prophet Isaiah characterizes Jesus as possessing “neither beauty nor grandeur,” according to the Old Testament. The Book of Psalms, on the other hand, explicitly contradicts this, describing Jesus as “fairer than the sons of mankind.” Several other descriptions of Jesus Christ in the Bible provide only a few further hints. As recounted in the Book of Revelation, Jesus’ hair is described as being “white wool,” his eyes as “flames of fire,” and his feet as being “burnished bronze, purified as if in a furnace.

  • Unsurprisingly, considering the persecution of early Christians, one of the first recorded images of Jesus Christ is a mocking of the historical figure of Jesus Christ.
  • The inscription says, “Alexandro bowing down before his deity.” It is in the public domain.
  • Illustrations of Jesus Christ with a more favorable connotation have been found dating back to the third century.
  • the good shepherd lays down his life for the flock,” numerous early images of him with a lamb have appeared.
  • It is noteworthy that he does not have a beard in this portrait.
  • It is in the public domain.
  • And when Christianity began to spread throughout Europe, pictures like this one began to emerge on walls all throughout the continent.

Depictions Of Jesus’ Race Under The Romans

However, even though early Christians worshipped in secrecy, passing along illicit images such as the ichthys to convey their religion, Christianity began to achieve widespread acceptance in the fourth century. After that, the Roman emperor Constantine turned to Christianity, and representations of Jesus Christ began to appear in more places than ever before in history. It is in the public domain. A representation of Jesus Christ found in a catacomb near Constantine’s Roman home, dating from the fourth century.

  1. Jesus has a halo, he’s in the top-center of the composition, his fingers are clasped together in a benediction, and he’s definitely from the European continent.
  2. A significant feature of Jesus’ appearance is that he possesses the wavy, flowing hair and beard that may be found in many contemporary portrayals.
  3. The reason for this is that white Christians were spreading vigorously around the globe, invading and converting as they went, bringing with them visions of a white Jesus.
  4. When it came to colonizers, white Jesus had a dual role.

His race had a role in the establishment of caste systems in South America as well as the repression of indigenous people in North America.

The Modern Look Of The White Jesus

As the ages passed, representations of Jesus in white grew increasingly common in popular culture. Because early artists wished for their viewers to identify Jesus — and because they dreaded being accused of heresy — identical pictures of Jesus Christ were repeated over the course of history. In 1940, the concept of a white Jesus received a significant boost from American artist Warner E. Sallman, who depicted Jesus Christ as having white complexion, blonde hair, and blue eyes in a series of paintings.

  • Twitter The Head of Christ by Warner E.
  • For example, according to New York Timesjournalist William Grimes, his ” Head of Christ” has gained widespread recognition, “making Warhol’s soup appear positively esoteric by comparison.
  • While frescoes may have fallen out of favor, modern-day depictions of Jesus may be seen in films and television shows, among other places.
  • Jeffrey Hunter (King of Kings), Ted Neeley (Jesus Christ Superstar), and Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) were all white actors who appeared in the films mentioned.
  • In fact, even Haaz Sleiman, a Lebanese actor who starred as Jesus Christ in National Geographic’s “Killing Jesus,” has pale skin color.

Some activists have called for an end to the association between white Jesus and white supremacy, with one stating that “the Jesus you saw in all the black Baptist churches was the same as those who were beating you up in the streets or setting dogs on you.” Others have called for an end to the association between white Jesus and white supremacy.

Various artists, like Korean artist Kim Ki-chang, have painted Jesus Christ in traditional Korean garb, while others, such as Robert Lentz, have shown Jesus as a Black man.

Their portrayals of Jesus Christ as a person of race are a little more accurate than the historical record.

Despite the fact that it is almost inevitable that pictures of Jesus in white will continue to exist, many people are receptive to fresh representations of the Savior.

It is, without a doubt, a text that leaves lots of opportunity for interpretation. Consider looking into the myth of a white Jesus, learning about the tomb of Jesus, and learning about the actual tale of who authored the Bible after that.

Peter Lang Verlag – White Jesus

Loading. The Architecture of Racism in Religion and EducationbyAlexander Jun (Author) and Tabatha L. Jones (Co-Authors). Allison N. Ash is the author, and Christopher S. Collins is the author of the text book. Textbookxxxvii,120 pages. Jolivet, Allison N. Ash, and Christopher S. Collins


White Jesus is conceived as a socially constructed apparatus—a mythology that animates the architecture of salvation—that operates stealthily as a veneer for patriarchal White supremacist, capitalist, and imperialist sociopolitical, cultural, and economic agendas. In White Jesus: The Architecture of Racism in Religion and Education, White Jesus is conceived as a socially constructed apparatus—a mythology that animates the architecture of salvation—that operates stealthily as a veneer for It took the combination of empire, colorism and racism to establish White Jesus; the result is a distortion that reproduces violence both in terms of epistemic and physical violence.

  • It is important to distinguish between White Jesus and Jesus of the Gospels because Jesus of the Gospels is seen as the one whose life, death, and resurrection calls for self-sacrificial love in return—a love ethic—and White Jesus is not.
  • This book is about recognizing the falsehoods, recovering the person of Jesus, and reasserting a vision of power that places the Jesus of the Gospels in connection with the easily disposed of the population.
  • It is possible to apply White Jesus in a range of academic fields, including as educational studies, religious studies, sociology studies, and cultural studies.
  • If you are looking for a book to use in your educational institution or religious group that is devoted to merging justice and diversity initiatives with a Jesus ethic, White Jesus is an excellent resource.


  • Cover, title, copyright, information about the author(s)/editor(s), and information about the book Preliminary Applause for White Jesus
  • This eBook may be referenced
  • Section I: Table of Contents
  • Figures are listed in alphabetical order. Foreword
  • Tabatha L. Jones is a woman who lives in the United States. Jolivet
  • Locating Ourselves
  • Alexander Jun
  • Allison N. Ash
  • Christopher S. Collins
  • White Jesus
  • About the Cover
  • Notes
  • 1. The White Architecture of Salvation
  • Introduction to the White Architecture of Salvation
  • The White Architecture of Salvation
  • Black Jesus
  • Chapter 1. Notes
  • Chapter 2: White Civil Religion, Empire, and Dominance
  • Introduction to Myths and Empire
  • Chapter 3: White Civil Religion, Empire, and Dominance
  • Conclusion Bringing Christianity and government together
  • Notes
  • Chapter 3: How Christianity Became White
  • Introduction
  • Christianity and Whiteness, Reconstruction, and Concluding Thoughts on “Giving to the Emperor”
  • Concluding Thoughts on “Giving to the Emperor” (Giving to the Emperor)
  • Concluding Thoughts on “Giving to the Emperor.” Laws that discriminate against African-Americans
  • Segregation and the White Christian Mind
  • Segregation and the White Christian Mind Introduction
  • White Individualism
  • White Silence
  • Political Packaging and Marking
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. White Saviors Proclaiming “Pagan” Adoption
  • Missionaries in Hawai’i
  • Indian Boarding Schools on the Continent
  • Chapter 5. White Saviors Proclaiming “Pagan” Adoption
  • Chapter 6. White Saviors Proclaiming “P Origins of White Christian Higher Education
  • White Christian Exodus
  • Racist Policies, Practices, and Climate
  • Racist Policies, Practices, and Climate Introduction
  • Decolonizing Music in Korea
  • Evangelical White Out
  • Roots and Fruits
  • A Way Forward
  • Chapter 7: White Worship. White Worship
  • Decolonizing Music in Korea Amazing Grace
  • The Musical Tradition of the Black Church
  • White Worship at Christian Colleges
  • Worship Normativity and Paradox
  • Prior to Jesus Becoming White
  • Reclaiming a Biblical Vision of Justice
  • Chapter 8 The Radical Vision of Jesus’ Open Table
  • The Radical Vision of Jesus’ Open Table In this edition: The Tower of Babel, Demons on the Other Side, Do You Love Me, A Way Forward
  • Afterword
  • Index
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| ix FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES Figure 1.1: Mural of Jesus Figure 1.2: Mural depicting “Knowledge Over Time” Figure 2.1: A church with an American flag draped over it American Progress (Fig. 5.1) courtesy of Gaston, John Figure A.1: A view of the mural, América Tropical, by David Alfaro Siqueiros, seen from a viewing platform. | xi xi xi xi xi xi We begin this journey by sharing our personal experiences.

  • Tabatha L.
  • As Ash Wednesday approaches, it is appropriate that I (Jones Jolivet) reflect on the formation of “White Jesus” and the development of racism, religion, and education.
  • Today also marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald J.
  • As we live in the age of Trumpism, I can sense the heaviness of death choking the oxygen we all breathe.

Scheon, a journalist, correctly observes that the message was “a speech full with promise—and promises.” And, based on the number of times President Trump said the phrase, he carried through on his promise to put the United States first.” “When someone reveals you who they are, believe them the first time,” says Dr.

  1. When President Trump commands screaming crowds with phrases like “Make America great again,” I believe him because he is appealing to well-known kinds of tribalism and nationalism.
  2. xi |
  3. My usual tradition is to attend an Ash Wednesday mass, and this year I chose to attend a service in the evening that was near to my residence.
  4. The parish was packed with individuals from a variety of different ethnic origins, which was a wonderful surprise to me.
  5. The sermon conveyed a concise but deep message about the need of living what is most essential “now” and the necessity of doing so.
  6. As we burn with our life and the world around us, White Jesus takes center stage and demanding attention.
  7. I choke, both metaphorically and spiritually, like the miner’s canary3as a result of the toxic fumes that threaten to irrevocably damage my lungs and the environment that we all share with them.
  8. Inevitably, the presence of White Jesus will be felt.
  9. As the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
  10. Our saccharin-laden diet has brought us to this point.
  11. We worship in a variety of religious organizations, but we all seek to exemplify the same Christian values, and we pursue professional careers in Christian schools and institutions (xii |

Our complicity “in the sinful entanglements” that have engineered not only the current sociopolitical terrain,5but also the nation’s founding and its most treasured institutions—including Christian colleges, universities, and churches—many of which are beholden to White Jesus, is something that we, as members of the Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, are willing to acknowledge and confess.

We have all become too accustomed to forgetting that “no institution or government can require the degree of commitment that can only be demanded by God.” We feel forced to situate ourselves in this debate by disclosing prominent features of our social group identities that impact how we “see” the world as we unravel and make sense of the architecture of salvation as it is expressed via racism, religion, and education.

  1. I (Jones Jolivet) credit my forefathers and parents with providing me with a solid religious foundation in Christian doctrine and practice from a young age.
  2. My paternal grandmother, Lola Jolivet, gave me a set of pale-pink rosary beads when I was a young child, and she would kneel with me while I prayed the “Lord’s Prayer” before going to bed.
  3. I grew up in the southern cities of Houston and Austin, Texas, and came of age in the 1970s and 1980s, at a period when many of the important triumphs made during the contemporary civil rights struggle were still being discovered.
  4. apartheid and racial domination, which has had contemporary expressions that are still active in subtle ways now.
  5. Eighth generation Black Catholics 8 Members of Churches of Christ, like Catholics at the time, felt that they were the only Christians on the planet.
  6. We adhered to the “five acts” of worship prescribed by Scripture, and we shared the “Plan of Salvation” with others, which had been “made clear” via Sunday school, Sunday morning and evening worship, Wednesday night Bible studies, pamphlets, and gospel meetings, among other venues.
  7. in a Church of Christ, and only in a Church of Christ.

It was white domination that served as a constraint on our spiritual imagination and experience of God, as shown in our traditions, rituals, and biblical readings.

In my ten-year-old mind, after hearing Evans’ lecture, being saved sounded essential, and acknowledging that Jesus Christ was the son of God and getting baptized (“before Jesus returned”) was rational.

As soon as I heard the “invitation,” I leapt out of my seat and ran to the baptismal font, completely oblivious to the fact that I should first acquire my parents’ permission.

Those songs from the red book that we sung as part of our a cappella tradition have stayed with me to this day: “Just as I am without a plea, but that Thy blood was spilt for me.” And that thou hast commanded me to come to Thee.

Will you be willing to come to the fountain for free?

A fountain is available to anyone who wishes to use it.

Identifying as a Black woman from the southern United States, I manage what Patricia Hill Collins refers to as the interwoven structure of oppression, which is particularly prevalent inside academic institutions.

Having come from the inside out of academe, my critical religious testimony is rooted in the Black prophetic tradition, particularly intersectional Womanist thinking and praxis.

I am heterosexual, middle-class, physically able, legally documented, and well educated, to name a few characteristics.

In my professional life, I have worked in Christian colleges with a preponderance of white students. As a result, I am actively involved in a decolonization initiative of my own design. Alexander Jun is a Japanese actor who was born in Japan.


| ix FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES FIGURES “Knowledge Over Time” Mural (Figure 1.1) Figure 1.2: “Jesus Mural” (Figure 1.2) American flag draped over a church, as seen in Figure 2.1. Progress in the United States (Figure 5.1) In the person of John Gast Figure A.1: A Photograph of the Mural, América Tropical, by David Alfaro Siqueiros, taken from a viewing platform. THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF THE EXAMPLE.

  1. Each of us will share our personal experiences and contacts with the subject matter in the pages that follow.
  2. Tabatha L.
  3. As Ash Wednesday approaches, it is appropriate for me (Jones Jolivet) to reflect on “White Jesus” and the formation of racism, religion, and education.
  4. Moreover, today marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald J.
  5. As we live in the age of Trumpism, I can sense the thickening of death smothering the air we breathe.
  6. Scheon correctly observes that the message “was a speech full of promises—and more promises.

Maya Angelou guides my assessment of reality: “When someone demonstrates their identity, trust them the first time.” When President Trump commands screaming crowds with phrases like “Make America great again,” I believe him because he is appealing to well-established strains of tribalism and nationalism.

  1. Writing today is an act of spiritual activity that compels me to contemplate closely on not just White Jesus, but also the cross of Christ of Bethlehem (modern Palestine), all the while renewing my commitment to fasting, prayer, and almsgiving during this Lenten season of penitence.
  2. On my way to the church, I sat in one of the rear rows, which gave me a better sense of perspective.
  3. Music such as “Lamb of God” and “Mercy, Lord” were sung by the choir and accompanying musicians, and they brought back memories of my grandparents’ old church mass.
  4. During the service, children and elderly alike received the ashes that had been burnt off palm branches, and parishioners enjoyed “the peace of the Lord,” which had been sprayed with holy water and lighted by candles.
  5. Although this symbolic representation of a cross-hung White Jesus fills the sanctuary and overshadows its counterpart, the tabernacle, where holy communion awaits, pollutes the air like a fog, and my heart suffers as a result of its overwhelming presence.
  6. The menace of White Jesus continues to loom over the church and the air we breathe, even after a member confessed loudly in prayers of supplication the agony of communal sin—racism and xenophobia.
  7. No one can escape the presence of White Jesus.
  8. Surely, the “spiritual death” that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  9. We’ve arrived thanks to our sugar-filled diet.
  10. Christian colleges and universities (xii |

Our complicity “in the sinful entanglements” that have engineered not only the current sociopolitical terrain,5but also the nation’s founding and its most treasured institutions—including Christian colleges, universities, and churches—many of which are beholden to White Jesus, is something that we, as members of the Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, are willing to confess to.

Unfortunately, we have all too often forgotten that “no institution or government can demand the kind of loyalty that can only be demanded of those who serve God.” We feel compelled to situate ourselves in this discussion by revealing salient dimensions of our social group identities that shape how we “see” the world as we unpack and make sense of the architecture of salvation as it is expressed through racism, religion, and education.

  1. 6 In Christian belief and practice, I (Jones Jolivet) credit my ancestors and parents for a religious formation that began at a young age.
  2. My paternal grandmother, Lola Jolivet, gave me a set of pale-pink rosary beads when I was a small toddler, and she would kneel beside me as I prayed the “Lord’s Prayer” before I went to bed.
  3. Born and raised in Houston and Austin, Texas in the United States’ southern states, I came of age during the 1970s and 1980s, when critical victories achieved during the modern civil rights movement were still being discovered and consolidated.
  4. apartheid and racial control, which has had contemporary manifestations that are still insidiously at work today.
  5. Seventh generation Black Catholics 8 Members of Churches of Christ, like Catholics at the time, believed that they were the only Christians on the face of the planet.
  6. Following the “five acts” of worship prescribed in Scripture, we shared the “Plan of Salvation” with others, which had been “made plain” in Sunday school, Sunday morning and evening worship, Wednesday night Bible classes, tract distributions and gospel meetings during our tenure.

in a Church of Christ alone—received the “blueprint” of salvation—the path to eternal life with God—received the “blueprint.” I never came across any representations of White Jesus in a Church of Christ setting (as I had done in mass), but I did come across the ominous logic of Whiteness in the traditions of my all-Black church (see also: White Jesus).

  • A gospel meeting at Fifth Ward Church of Christ in Houston, where Jack Evans, Sr.9 was a guest revivalist and prominent preacher among the circuit of Black male evangelists in Churches of Christ, was where I was baptized as a young boy.
  • To my surprise, I was alert throughout the service (I was prone to falling asleep during long services).
  • In the balance, my salvation was in jeopardy, and it was imperative that I secure my place in eternity.
  • I’m also grateful that you’ve requested my presence.
  • Will you be willing to come to the fountain for no charge?
  • An open fountain is available to the public.
  • 10 I am shaped today by my religious and cultural influences from the Black Catholic Church and the Black Churches of Christ, which also informs my epistemological scaffold.
  • I am also a woman of color.
  • Moreover, the enormous advantage I derive from privileged dimensions of my identity is advantageous to me as well.

We are both physically fit and well-documented. Professionally, I’ve worked in Christian universities with a majority white student body. I am actively involved in a decolonization project as a result of this experience. Alexander Jun is a Japanese actor who has appeared in several films.

Biographical notes

Tabatha L. Jones (Author)Alexander Jun (Author) Christopher S. Collins (Author)Alexander Jun is a professor of higher education at Azusa Pacific University, where he works with Allison N. Ash and Christopher S. Collins. While at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, he received his doctorate in educational administration. Tabatha L. Jones is a woman who lives in the United States. The Department of Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University is home to Jolivet, who is an assistant professor in the department.

See also:  When I Think About The Goodness Of Jesus

Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life at Wheaton College, Allison N.

Azusa Pacific University awarded her a Ph.D.

In addition to being an associate professor of higher education at Azusa Pacific University, Chris Collins also holds a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles in higher education and organizational development.


For many years, I surrounded myself with white people and worshipped in white churches. I understood how to flee and hide and move my body in such a manner that white folks felt more safe and less racist, as well as more godly and less aggressive as a result of my actions. Whatever I did on the football field or in the pulpit, my performance instilled in them something they had never had before: the assurance that everything would be all right. It all started when I was a freshman at Clemson University, where I was a member of the nationally rated football squad.

  • As a result of Bible studies and church excursions, our worlds became white, and our Jesus took on the appearance of an angel with blond hair and blue eyes.
  • As the weeks, months, and years passed, I found myself becoming more and more accustomed to being among white people.
  • During my quest to become a better person, athlete, and Christian, I regarded black lectures and black songs and black buildings and black yelling and black love with suspicion, whereas white sermons and white music and white buildings and white clapping were regarded with reverence.
  • And far too many of the good white individuals in my immediate vicinity didn’t appear to notice or care.
  • The 5th of July, 2016: I recall my hands gripping my phone, my stomach churning, and my gaze fixed on Alton Sterling, who appeared to be dead.
  • I felt chilly, alone, and terrified.
  • Another Black fatality occurred the following day: Philando Castile.

His breaths were heavy and feeble, and they were patterned.

“Please stay with me,” she instructed him.

A supplication of this nature received no response.

Sterling and Mr.

I recall not having the guts to express my feelings to myself, my wife, or the others in my immediate vicinity since I was not a hero, an activist, or a preacher.

I recall the question that I couldn’t seem to get out of my head, my heart, or my body: How do I be Black, Christian, and an American?



It was the first time I’d ever heard of Mr.

“Please try to remember that what they think, as well as what they do and make you to endure, does not speak to your inferiority, but rather to their inhumanity and fear,” he wrote in “A Letter to My Nephew.” I’d always been concerned about what other people thought of me, what they would do to me, and what they would make of me, so I avoided social situations whenever possible.

  • Baldwin struck me with a sense of mercy and grace, as if the almighty God himself were speaking and reaching down to touch my wounded flesh with his words.
  • Dr.
  • “Liberation and Reconcilia­tion,” by J.
  • “Deeper Shades of Purple” by Stacey Floyd-Thomas was one of the books I read.
  • I listened to a lot of Black music.
  • Without reading Black theology in conjunction with the Book of Lamentations, as well as accounts of prophets and Jesus, I couldn’t find a way out of the dark fight.
  • With each reading, I let them to teach me more about how to love and be loved in return.

The kind of love that Toni Morrison describes in “Paradise” is as follows: That Jesus had been liberated from white religion, and he wanted these children to understand that they did not need to ask for respect; it was already inside them, and all they needed to do was demonstrate it.

Their conversation revolved around Jesus’ personal experience, namely how he understands what it is like to live in an occupied country and what it is like to be a member of an oppressed people.

Cone spoke to me about his own spiritual journey.

Du Bois called “the world of the white man” like me was.

Sterling and Mr.


Nonetheless, by the time I began reading Dr.

At these locations, I had met some wonderful folks.

As a result, I made the decision to return to the Black people and Black worlds that helped shape me and love me.

Morrison describes it, I was “growing up Blackagain.” As long as the white people with whom I worshipped, went to school with, and shared dinners with had the imagination to see Aslan the lion from C.S.

It was later revealed to me that many people could see the symbol of divine goodness and love in an animal before they could ever see the sign of divine goodness and love in Blackness because they were looking at an animal.

It was not necessary for me to despise myself or my people, our inventiveness or our beauty in order to be human or Christian.

They were oblivious to the fact that I was fleeing racial supremacy.

What a terrible, awful thing to have happened.

A poem written by poet June Jordan stated, “I am black living and staring back at you.” I recall the first time I had the sensation of inhabiting a living Black body.

I recall what I told myself, and what I continue to remind myself, and what I attempt to tell people in a variety of artistically Black ways: We do not just die.

We don’t simply suffer; we also endure in silence. We don’t merely fall short. We don’t merely lament; we also act. We are alive. We get up and dance. We adore it. We raise our voices.

Was Jesus Black Or White? How One Church Leader Just Changed The Debate

Was Jesus of Nazareth, one of the most important characters in human history, a member of a race other than the Jewish race? There is no way to know for certain, but recent statements made by the leader of the Church of England indicate that it is past time to reconsider whether or not Jesus should be shown as a white male. When asked about the way the western church presents Jesus’ race in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby responded affirmatively.

“Of course it does,” Welby responded, stressing that Jesus was already depicted in a variety of ways other than as a white guy in various areas around the Anglican church.

As many different representations of Jesus as there are cultures, languages, and understandings, you will see a Fijian Jesus.” This comes at a time when a national discussion over institutional racism is raging in both the United States and the United Kingdom, with questions of race and class taking center stage.

Getty Images’ image of Jesus Jesus’s color and ethnicity have long been a source of contention — since the beginning of the spread of Christianity, the manner in which the faith’s primary figure has been depicted has been a source of both historical and aesthetic conflict.

“Jesus of Nazareth likely had a darker complexion than we imagine, similar to the olive skin common among Middle Easterners today,” wrote social psychologist and theologian Christena Cleveland in Christianity Today in 2016.

The Eurocentric image of Jesus, according to many opponents, has been utilized to propagate white supremacy and reinforce racist tropes that deify whiteness while denigrating Black people.

Recent days have seen a deterioration of the dispute about the race of Jesus, with political activist Shaun King igniting controversy when he tweeted on Monday that “the monuments of the white European they believe is Jesus should also come down.” “They are a manifestation of white supremacy,” he asserted.

It’s true that King expressed himself in a much more nuanced manner regarding the image of Jesus in other places, but it was his early Tweets that grabbed the public’s attention and turned the discussion into a political tempest.

Perhaps, by engaging the discourse concerning Jesus’ race, the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes that the subject should be explored through the lens of religion rather than politics, and that delicacy rather than flame-throwing should be demanded.

In actuality, even the world’s most brilliant minds will never be able to determine whether Jesus was of African or European descent.

by starting a conversation about how the representation of Jesus can be more inclusive to those seeking faith and fortitude, the Archbishop of Canterbury is expressing his hope that the conversation about Jesus can shift from a fight about what should be torn down to more of a discussion about what can be constructed.

In such case, it would be worthwhile to place confidence in Jesus, regardless of his physical appearance.

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