Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Naked Christ against the Phallus

It is unfair & offensive to put a phallus or erect penis on an image of Christ, as what was done in a controversial art exhibit at the CCP. Jesus of Nazareth did not develop or acquire a phallic mentality, which pushes males to be “big, hard & up” in their physique, thinking & attitude & which spits at what is “small, soft & down.”

Jesus taught: “unless you change & become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). He also let a desperate non-Jewish woman to broaden radically his view about his mission of being “sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” For his initial inaction to her plea for the healing of her daughter, he offered the “hard” reason that “it is not right to take the children’s bread & toss it to their dogs.”

Jesus listened to & learned from the Canaanite woman's “soft” reasoning that “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall down from their masters’ table” (Mt 15:21-28). He let her broaden or change his mind. This is another important stage in the development of Jesus’ great faith in the heavenly Father who loves especially the downtrodden & little ones among the scattered daughters & sons of God (see also my 03 October 2010 blogpost).

Jesus became the clear opposite of the phallus when he died naked on the cross, stripped of clothes & bare of friends, as “all the disciples deserted him & fled” (Mt 26:56) & only women followers witnessed his death “from a distance” (27:55). The naked Christ on the cross is a historically true picture of the outward impotence of somebody who did not save himself, in order to save others. No wonder Paul wrote, “Christ crucified: a scandal to Jews & folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

While any image of Christ with a phallus is offensive, offended Christians ought to guard against the phallic reaction of self-righteous or arrogant rage against the artist and other blameworthy persons involved.

The exposure of genitals in an artistic work may be meaningful & not crude, vulgar or offensive. For example, an artistic depiction of a totally naked Christ dying or dead on the cross can be authentic & meaningful from the perspectives of history & theology. (See also my 31 March 2010 blog post; your comments are welcome.)

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