To the editor:
A comment in your Dec. 19 issue from a Baldwin reader concerning the Dec. 14 "Jesus makeover" article (with a companion photo showing a slightly feminine and ethnic Jesus) was given the heading "Offensive image." The reader appeared to be offended that "the church" would try to sway the public's conception of Jesus in such an obvious manner. Well, "the church" has been doing just that for 2000 years. I mean, from where do people think the current fundamentalist Christian "picture" of Jesus originated?
This "makeover" is a splendid example of "the church's" ability to sense and then adapt to changing mores. As our society becomes less fearful of alternative lifestyles and cultures (read: more loving and less judgmental), "the church" knows intuitively that it needs to adapt to survive. But no institution, including a religious one, wants to just survive -- it wants to grow. Growth calls for the ability to shift paradigms, which is what we're witnessing, slowly but surely, in organized religion now.
We don't need a picture to know what Jesus really looked like. He looked passionate and compassionate, he was happy and loving, carefree and responsible, humble, and when you looked into his eyes you saw complete peace and acceptance -- acceptance for who you are rather than for whom public opinion says you should be. Jesus looked through physical characteristics and past actions and saw the loving goodness inherent in everyone. A religion that does that is truly following in his footsteps.
So, I'm not offended by the "Jesus makeover." On the contrary, I see it as yet another of our small steps toward the goal of finding and meeting Truth.