new Jesus icon “survivor”

"Jesus, Survivor" painting by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Jesus, Survivor” painting by nakedpastor David Hayward

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Right from the start I want to insist that I don’t think Jesus taught submission to abuse. I feel strongly about this because I hear the argument used quite often that people should submit to authority, even if it’s abusive, because that’s what Jesus modeled for us. Like sheep to the slaughter. I used to believe this because that’s what my leaders taught me. Convenient, isn’t it? I don’t believe it any longer.

It is a trick of the Christian mind to believe that Jesus submitted to his abusers as if he had a choice. We tend to employ our magical mindset to assume that he could have escaped at any time, called 10,000 angels, or blown all his aggressors to smithereens. We like to imagine that our superhero did all this on purpose: provoked authorities to get himself arrested, turned himself in, incited his torture and even induced his own death. All to fulfill the Old Testament and get raised from the dead in three days anyway.

I don’t think this was the case. I believe an unarmed, radical, itinerant preacher was captured by the heads of church and state who dragged him into a hopeless situation because he was threatening their power structures. This is why I painted a target behind him.

He was probably tortured for hours if not days and no one does well under such extreme conditions. I do guess he held onto his dignity as long as he could. It is suggested that his last breath was one of helpless surrender. That to me indicates a kind of courage.

I have many friends who are survivors. Once they were victims. But they are rediscovering, or maybe discovering for the first time, their sovereignty, their independence, their dignity, and their courage. They’re getting their lives back.

They’re even learning how to laugh again.

In fact, they’ve become intelligent and articulate advocates for the abused, for victims, and for survivors.

Would you like to meet some of them? Join The Lasting Supper!

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12 Replies to “new Jesus icon “survivor””

  1. When I see that picture, all I can think of is domestic violence. It is shocking, but sometimes that is what it takes to get a message across.

  2. Amen David! Spot on…that so many of the Christian leaders teach submission to abuse (and label folks who refuse factious, deceived, destined for Hell, unsubmissive, and bitter).

  3. “called 10,000 angles”. I hadn’t realised till I read your post today how many assumptions I have about the crucifixion story that hang on a belief that Jesus could have stopped his own abuse. You call it magical thinking David. It really IS, isn’t it. I bought it!

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