Macho, Macho Messiah!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, so to speak. There is plenty of weird to go around in the far-right, Christian circles, and mostly not in the good way, but I think Jerry Boykin’s assertions about Christ may take the cake. He is, of course, not the first to make such statements. I once owned a book called the Lexicon of Stupidity, full of quotes from speakers who were not quite all there at the time they were speaking. There were at least a couple of quotes rejoicing Jesus’s manliness. It is too bad that people like this are missing several points.

Leaving aside the admittedly hilariously homo-erotic nature of comments coming from unrepentant homophobes, I have to wonder where they get their idea that “modern” Christianity views Christ as wimpy. By modern, of course, they mean “liberal.” Never mind that whole “the meek shall inherit the Earth” nonsense from the Sermon on The Mount. Liberals focus too much on that softy garbage and should instead focus on Christ the manly man. Christ the carpenter or mason (or whatever they feel the need to fill in the twenty year blank with. They hate Martin Scorsese, except when they don’t.)

I really have not ever heard a liberal, Christian or otherwise, get into a discussion of Christ’s physique or penchant, or lack thereof, of physical activity. What is it about the kinder, gentler, Christ that makes them think this view of him is a picture of a weakling? The answer, of course, is not blowing in the wind, but right smack in our faces.

To the hyper-patriarchal, radical conservative, Christian Right, kindness IS weakness. “Do unto others,” “however you treat the least of mine,” “it is easier for a camel to travel through the eye of needle,” these are all signs of weakness and ideas certain Christians would rather do without. Being tough means being mean, and being anything but tough is not worth being, at least in the mind of the willfully destructive, and self-destructive, misogynist. The Christ that put the smack down on slut-shaming has no room in their narrow, poorly read, interpretation of the Bible.

The wonderful irony of all this is they do have their proof of Christ the bad-ass right in there, they just choose to ignore it. Christ, the rogue who upended the tables of the money changers and greed mongers in the temple. Christ who stood in the face of two armies and accepted his fate to bring a message of hope. Christ who accepted a terrible fate to get the job done. It is exactly what they want. Only it isn’t.

Because that Christ would not leave the weak to wallow in the mud. He encouraged us to turn the other cheek. He hoped we would treat even our enemies with a certain amount of dignity and love. That is the Christ who shared the tale of the Good Samaritan with people who hated Samaritans. The Christ who told us to leave childish things, you know, like antiquated notions of what it is to be a man, behind.

Hey, I’m just a grubby non-believer. I don’t know which of these guys, if any of them, were real. I do know that there are plenty of Christians that believe in the open, loving, Christ, and who know that made him no less a manly man, than the brute some would have him be. Those that want the other Christ, the ripped, sweaty, tough guy, don’t want divine guidance or love, they want an excuse to keep on with their misogynist ways. Too bad for them there is little scriptural basis for it, if there is any at all.

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