I Hate Pictures of Jesus

I hate pictures of Jesus. Always have. Don't get me wrong... I'm not a Jesus-hater. Actually, quite the opposite. I just hate pictures of Jesus... or should I say pictures of what we think Jesus looks like. Maybe it's that whole "no graven images" thing that gets me.
My grandmother use to have a rather large (and I do mean large) size picture of "Jesus" in her living room. I loved grandmother's home but hated the picture in her living room. Once I even took it down and hid it somewhere hoping she wouldn't notice. Somehow, someway it got hung again later.
One of the churches I use to serve in had a picture of Jesus hanging in the sanctuary. And yes, I always wanted to take it down. I casually mentioned it now and again to see if someone would take action but it never happened.
We don't know what Jesus looks like (even though scholars might say "well, we have a pretty good idea") so why do we try and mock-up some kind of portrait of him? We try so hard as followers to wrap our minds around who He is... and put him in our little box. This is one of the reasons I think I loved the book "The Shack" so much. William Paul Young said he wanted to help readers think outside the box when thinking about our redeemer. I loved it!
Are pictures of Jesus a sin? I'd venture to say "no." Is the worship of the image of Christ a sin? I'd venture to say "yes." We don't know what Christ looks like but one day we will. Regardless of how "off" we are, one thing is for sure... everyone will stand in complete AWE of Him and every knee will bow and confess Him as Lord.

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9 Responses to “I Hate Pictures of Jesus”

  1. # Anonymous Faye

    I've always had an issue with Jesus looking so WASPish. I think He was more Jewish-looking, though we see Him in most portraits with very un-Jewish features.

    I wonder how many people will be surprised when they realize He doesn't look that way?  

  2. # OpenID thoughtswithth3rd

    Somehow i think using the Shack and how you hate the whole making pictures of Jesus being graven images thing to be ironic. Since the Shack has some of the worst graven imagery I have ever seen. The Holy Spirit is not an Asian women and God the Father is not a big black MOTHER!! I'm sorry if i seem angry, but I can't sit idly by and let someone teach heresy. I honestly don't care much for pictures of Jesus, but they are in no way graven images because Jesus was actually a man! Its when someone comes along and tries to show us a picture of God the Father, that then I start to cringe (i.e. the Shack)

    just my 2 cents  

  3. # Blogger Terrace Crawford

    @ALL - Thanks for your comments.
    @ThoughtsWithTh3rd - You can't really label Young's book heresy if it was never intended to be a theological work. 'The Shack' is a novel... and a fiction work. By the way, have you read it? Most people that hate the book have never actually read it.


  4. # Blogger Matt

    I think thoughtswithth3rd might have a point... the Shack incorrectly portrays God the FATHER as a black woman... and then there's that one story about a woman looking for a lost coin where God is compared to a WOMAN! HERESY! Or that story where God is portrayed as gathering up HER chicks like a MOTHER hen... I think any book that contains such images should be BURNED!

    wait... crap... those other two stories are from the bible... and Jesus told them... opps...

    thoughtswithth3rd, when was the last time you referred to the Holy Spirit as a female? At least the word for God's Spirit in Hebrew is feminine... so... (gulp)... umm... speaking of heresy...  

  5. # OpenID mynameisbrandon


    This kind of post is bound to catch folks interest. Not to pimp my own blog, but I made a similar post almost 2 years ago and it continues to grab a HUGE number of hits.


    I think a lot of our struggles stem from the fact that we have (in Anne Lamott's words) "made Jesus in our own image."  

  6. # Anonymous CoryT

    While I agree with your thoughts on pictures of Jesus, I don't think it's wrong to attempt to understand who Jesus is in terms of his race or culture, so long as you recognize that those things weren't the predominant shaping force in who Jesus was.

    As for your stance on the Shack, and heresy in general, you are incorrect. Anything that teaches or declares something false about God is heresy by definition, regardless of whether the work is intended to be theological or fiction. And, before you ask, I've read it. My issue with the book has very little to do with the way that the Trinity is represented, although it's horribly wrong, and is mostly centered around the incredibly emergent undertones that permeate throughout. It pushes forward ideas such as personal experiences over divine revelation, which God teaches counter to. and when Jesus tells the main character that His life "wasn't meant as an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to ‘be like Jesus’”

    Come on man, fiction or not, that's 100% counter to Biblical truth. And anything that runs counter to Biblical truth is heresy, plain and simple.  

  7. # OpenID thoughtswithth3rd

    I have also read the Shack. and yes you are correct Young didn't mean for it to be Theology, so we erred in letting preachers begin teaching it as such and the crys of 'O now we understand the Trinity'.

    The picture that Jesus uses for the women who finds a lost coin is a parable, so we should now base all truth we know off of a story that Jesus used to portray a thought that God rejoices over a lost person. If you are going to base the fact that God is actually a mother on that story you need to get your head on straight.

    Im not saying we cant reference God the Father as a Mother since God is Spirit. But Jesus does pray to God and call Him Father. If anything I think Jesus got it right.

    I also agree with CoryT in everything he said... I think using the Shack to decry against graven imagery is horrible... that was my whole point  

  8. # Anonymous Shane Kennard

    My favorite picture is the bearded-woman Jesus. I'm sure that is what he was like.  

  9. # Blogger Terrace Crawford

    @Thoughtswithth3rd @coryT - agree to disagree. If 'The Shack' was a theological work... or a book on doctrine I'd agree with you... but its not. Pastors who teach it as such are teaching heresy. Nuff said.
    @Shane - LOL. Thanks for bringing the comedy relief.


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