The eerie accuracy of SNL’s DJesus Uncrossed

Show me your Jesus, and I’ll show you your life’s mission.

We see this clearly in our response to SNL’s ‘DJesus Uncrossed’ skit. It portrays Jesus as rising from the grave with a deadly grudge, viciously killing his enemies right and left (It’s an offensive skit, so I’m not going to link to it). Christians across the nation were understandably upset by the violent depiction of Jesus exacting bloody revenge.

In fact, we were so offended by the inaccurate portrayal of Jesus as a revenge-seeking murderer that we… attacked its creators. We leveraged our power to cajole Sears and JC Penny to pull their advertising from SNL. We may not have plunged our sword into SNL’s flesh, but we tried to bleed their coffers dry, drawing blood by reaping a financial revenge.

Not that this is anything new; fighting tooth and nail and taking revenge where we can is simply what we do. The very companies who are presently being lauded for pulling their adds are the same ones we mercilessly boycott practically every Christmas.

I’m quite confident that Lorne Michaels and his writers aren’t missing the irony.

They’re also probably chuckling over how closely their blasphemous depiction of Jesus mirrors our own Christian depiction. Can we really distinguish between SNL’s parody and this quote by one of the most famous Evangelical preachers in the world? “In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.

I don’t expect SNL to grasp the message of the Bible. But I do expect any pastor, famous or not, to understand that the dominant Christological theme of Revelation isn’t a pride fighter. It’s the Lamb who was slain.

You show me your life’s mission, and I’ll show you your Jesus.

If you unleash cultural violence every time your delicate religious senses are offended, if you seek vengeance and recompense for every slight, if you wield your power as a means of forcing others to bow to your will or ideology… then it’s at least worth considering whether you’re following Jesus Christ or DJesus Uncrossed.

Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, meek, and peacemakers. Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and to separate ourselves from the pagans by loving our enemies. Jesus reserved his violence (both verbal and physical) for the religious rulers who used their power to prey on the powerless.

SNL’s skit was definitely offensive, but it also doesn’t matter. Time is too precious. How do we have time for SNL when there are 20-30 million slaves throughout the world? When there are still over 3000 languages that the Bible hasn’t been translated into, leaving 209 million people without a Bible in their native tongue? When the divorce rate still hovers around 50%, with every statistic representing a ruined family? When there are an estimated 153,000,000 orphans worldwide? When America, the world’s leading ‘Christian’ nation, leads the world in arms trafficking and pornography production?

Our Father in heaven, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Show me your Jesus, and I’ll show you your life’s mission.

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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11 Responses to The eerie accuracy of SNL’s DJesus Uncrossed

  1. Alan Demers says:

    Excellent post, Tim!! I knoq I often find my thoughts leaning on the revenge side!! It really does feel terrible..until I forcibly evict those nasty thoughts ( because they always get nasty!!! It’s hard to gently exact revenge… although if I think abouit it I probablty could think of a scenario where revenge is exacted in an apparently “cool”- non-hateful way… but I’m not going to go there today for the reasons mentioned earlier! I love your Blog, Tim… it really gets me thinking!!

  2. Daniel Vance says:

    I hear where you’re coming from, Tim. And I don’t totally disagree. There are more important things. On the other hand though, it seems a little hypocritical to complain about America’s problems with pornography and the pastorate’s faulty Christology and then condemn Christians for peaceably leveraging their lawful power in protest of abominable media that openly mocks and refutes our Lord and His teaching…

    • Tim Owens says:

      I’m not meaning to sound hypocritical, so I’ll try to explain my thoughts a bit. I don’t see financial boycotts as ‘peaceful.’ Taking money from people is a form of cultural violence. Yes, it’s legal, and perhaps even ethical. But it’s the opposite of a peaceable response. As far as the abominable media that openly mocks and refutes our Lord–i doubt they’re worse than the oppressive Roman government of Jesus’ day. Jesus explicitly spoke about how to handle insults from abominable people who openly mock and refute God. When we feel insulted, we should turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and give them our cloak as well as tunic. These weren’t metaphors!

      Paul helped clarify what Jesus meant when he told us not to repay anyone evil for evil, but to feed our enemy when they’re hungry and give them something to drink when they’re thirsty. If there’s any vengeance to be had, God will take care of it.

      Evangelical Christians are starting to look more and more like 1st century Jews–we miss the Messiah because we’re looking for a warrior king. The Jews had a clear example of someone who fought against blasphemers. When the Maccabees led the revolt after the desecration of the temple, and eventually defeated the Seleucids, Judas Maccabee rode victoriously into Jerusalem while the people shouted his name, waving palm branches and throwing them at his feet. They tried to do the same thing with Jesus several centuries later, convinced that He would use his power to protest against the abominable mockers.

      Instead, Jesus chose and modeled a shocking, radical love for his enemies.

      Boycotts, smear campaigns, and the rest seem more in line with the way of the Maccabees than with the way of Jesus.

      • Daniel Vance says:

        Hmm. I’d like to clarify first that I don’t think you are a hypocrite, Tim, even if I don’t agree with the internal logic of some of your arguments. I disagree with you pretty severely that a boycott is a form of “violence.” First, corporations are not “entitled” to any transaction in a free market economy, so unless someone actually robs them, you cannot “take money” from them. Second, in the case of a corporation, I don’t find that there are “people” to offend. Indeed, I am surprised to find that you agree with the Romney logic that “corporations are people, too.” It doesn’t seem to fit with what I’d guessed were your politics. 😉 As to the more meaningful stuff: sure, Jesus did say love your enemies, go the extra mile, etc. And I agree with you that it wasn’t figurative. He also drove out those who blasphemed his Father’s house with a whip of cords. Now it’s true that evangelicals share many shocking similarities to 1st century Jews–but we are generally in the Pharisaical stream. The Sadducees, who were almost certainly in charge of the money-changing, were the privileged, moneyed, cultural elite. Their religious power was pretty nominal, just a bygone product of a time when there was no real division between church and state. I know you know all this: the point I am trying to make is that Jesus got pretty direct–violent even–with the cultural elite of his day. Few people would make the argument that evangelicals constitute the cultural elite today; SNL writers and their target audience on the other hand…
        In conclusion, there are accounts of the apostle John leaving a bath when a known heretic teacher came in, lest he and his audience be destroyed by God’s soon coming wrath. Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and James seemed to have no problem calling their generation(s) “wicked and perverse,” “stiff-necked,” and counseled, among other things, “avoid destructive heresies” and regarding blasphemers and false teachers that “their condemnation is assured.” I put myself in the pacifist stream of Christian thinking–though I certainly hope it is never tested regarding my wife and children–but Christians organizing economic resistance to outright blasphemy is, in my opinion, a perfectly acceptable, legal, and moral response. You are right to point out that there are more worthy causes…but this becomes self-defeating; another person could point out that your criticism of a Christian response to an unworthy cause is therefore doubly unworthy and a “waste” of your talents when there are more pressing needs; still another could point out that my commenting on the whole kerfuffle is triply wasteful…never catching the irony that the putative commenter too is feeding into the waste. It’s a geometric progression when you make that argument, with no end possible. Anyway, my kids are getting up from their naps, so I have less wasteful things to do. 😉 I certainly don’t mean for this exchange to be contentious–but I also hate how on the internet all disagreements either resolve in pretend equivocations (“we’re both saying the same thing in different ways!”) or comparisons to Hitler and/or Satan. We disagree, there may be a resolution and there may not–but we are not saying the same thing, and I can still respect you as a person, as well as your right to hold your own opinions. God bless!

      • Tim Owens says:

        Love much of what you said, especially the whole ‘we can disagree and still get along’ part. thanks.

        also enjoyed the romney dig–well played!

        Here’s what I see as a hinge-point for our different perspectives: I tend to draw a huge distinction between how we are called to treat Christians and non Christians. Jesus was violent to the Pharisees and Sadducees, the two ruling parties of the Jewish people. He was never violent to ‘outsiders,’ such as the Roman empire, etc. I would never identify today’s cultural elite with the Jewish elite. To me, the primary distinction is that both the Pharisees and Sadducees claimed they had the best understanding of Yahweh, and following them was the only way to follow Yahweh. Jesus freaked out on them, but not on the pagan, blasphemous, oppressive, non-people of God Romans. We see that same theme expanded by Paul, Peter, and others who wrote to Christians suffering severe persecution, telling them to simply submit, and live holy lives.

        So, far from being surprised or offended, I expect to see non Christian writers telling jokes about a Jesus they don’t claim to worship to a non Christian audience in a non Christian country dominated by a non Christian culture. Once the joke has been made, what’s the best way I can be all things to all people, that I might win some? Sure, I might be able to use the laws of capitalism to get some non Christians to avoid making jokes about Jesus. But my goal isn’t to operate according to the laws of capitalism. My goal is to act according to the laws of the gospel.

      • Steven Cress says:

        I think your message is too rarely said in this day and age, and so rare that it actually comes across as quite shocking or left field for many Christians, even though it rings so true. We live in a very tit-for-tat world, but that’s not the way the Kingdom of God works. I will try my best to respectfully disagree with my neighbor while treating them with love, dignity, and respect. Imagine if Christians boycotted all the business owners who were atheists or Muslims and went out of their way to buycott their Christian friend down the street. If I were that non-christian, I don’t think I’d be feeling too much neighborly love.

        I take it you’ve read some Greg Boyd. I liked this better than the article he linked to about the same subject.

  3. Daniel Vance says:

    Also, and I’m not saying you do this, I weary or people prefacing their justifiable critiques of Driscoll with, “Well he does some good things but…” The man is disgraceful, and IMO–based on how I read the qualifications for an elder–has long ago forfeited his right to hold a teaching position in any church.

  4. Chris says:

    Dont’ complain and still watch the show! The best way to take something from shows like that is for us to not watch. But I question how many people would really do that. Even Christian people! It’s the same with sports. Want to complain about Joe Flacco’s 120 million dollar 6 year deal with the Ravens? Then don’t go – don’t watch – don’t buy NFL merchandise. Can’t do that — then don’t complain. I’ll show you my Jesus anytime! Just be ready to show me yours too!

  5. Barrett says:

    I cannot see over the obvious ‘shot over the bow’ attempt to shove propaganda at the young minds already under the barrage of CHRISTIANS CLINGING TO THEIR BIBLES AND G U N S!
    The bigger point of the DHS and the bank supported libs etc. is to state Christians with guns are the threat, period. At least we don’t have Raile Odinga (O’s cousin) burning churches w/ the people in them, as he did in Kenya around 2006 to force shared rule. cute

  6. Pingback: DJesus Uncrossed vs Jesus of the Cross | inexhaustible significance

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