In the children’s library annex of my wife’s church where they hold the Sunday school classes there is a picture on one of the doors of Our Lord and Savior, Mr. Jesus Holy Christ, which would be deeply moving if it weren’t utterly ridiculous. I’ll try to describe it to you.
Jesus stands about a foot and a half tall, depicted as an unthreatening cartoon, as benign as a newborn puppy dog. Although he has longish hair that’s about the same shade of red as Judas’ and a full beard, he is otherwise infantile in appearance. He wears a white robe with a red sash emblazoned with a cross, supernaturally savvy to the power of marketing and self-promotion.
Christ also has no nose, big glistening eyes that are all pupil, white skin, and no teeth in the black hole of his O-shaped mouth. His green crown of thorns is drawn as a chunky branch of lightning that appears not to be inflicting any pain on the babyish lad.
Finally–and here’s the capper–his arms are outstretched to engulf any child who happens to bear witness to him like a friendly octopus, never letting go until the victim is nothing but a dilapidated jumble of clattering bones. The most effective religious rackets are always scrupulous about hooking people while they’re still young, lest they learn the sinful art of thinking for themselves and questioning inane fairy tales they’ve been spoon-fed virtually since birth.
Moreover, this holy pose shows he’s ready for his starter cross, although his surprised look and toothless maw suggest he may also be startled about the betrayal and excruciating fate that awaits him. But don’t worry, kids. Jesus died for your sins, so if you drink his blood and renounce all thought of dignity and self-respect, then spend the rest of your life going around browbeating others to do likewise, you’ll not only go to heaven after you die, you’ll receive an autographed photograph of Jesus himself dying in agony, so you can enjoy the cruel hopelessness of his suffering forever.
Because that’s how much he loves you.
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