“New Portrait” : Asking the Right Question

Time and time again I hear people ask how some Christians can stand firmly against this president and his policies and others can stand firmly for this president and his policies. How can some Christians claim American patriotism is a key qualifier to be in the American Christian Club? How can white supremecists say they’re Christian? Is Franklin Graham a false teacher? Is Pat Robertson for real?  The question that is not being asked is the question that holds the answers. I always say, ” Ask what Jesus they follow. Is it Jesus of Nazareth, a brown-skinned middle eastern man who fed the poor, hung with the unclean, washed feet, said a rich man would have a hard time getting in Heaven, said blessed are those who mourn, said to forgive and love our enemies, and so many other acts to show love as an action. Is it white Jesus with soft flowing hair, who wants to fix or save us, who condemns those on the outside, who blesses the rich, who blesses politicians, who says,”Come to me after you are perfect or at least be perfect after you come to me”, who picks and chooses what sinner to love more than the other, who has placed white straight American males above all? 

I guess I could see why so many people think American Jesus is make-believe. I guess I can see why atheism is on the rise and church attendance is on a downward trend in America. I am so glad to hear KB ask the same question in his song New Portrait, from his album Today We Rebel. “What Christ do you believe?” I’d be silly not to point out the distinction between race and ethnicity at the end of the song. If it is not something you have ever pondered on, I hope this song helps spark an interest. Even if you do not agree with any of this, at least try to compare the Jesus that gives the Sermon on the Mount to the Jesus that’s prominent in American Christianity, Prosperity Gospel, and the conservative evangelical movement. 

“New Portrait” KB lyrics:

Look, was Christ really buried?
Is this whole story very fairy and I was just a man?
Did they really find His bones and they lied to keep the cold
Or did He walk out of His tomb to a throne?
Was He God? Was He not?
Did He buy us a spot in Heaven or is all of this a ruse?
Are we just delusional tools who refuse to believe in the truth or we fools?
Is all this the white man religion?
European invention to drive the weak to submission
How can an African like me get division
When these preachers owned slaves but taught that freedom was Christian
Christ to the culture
Christ to the vultures
Committed genocide with a cross and oldster
Christ of America
Christ of the system
That is not my Saviour, that’s a politician

Christ that the Lord knows
Christ that was foretold
Christ that’s shoulda come back in His war clothes
Which Christ do you believe?
You gotta know before you leave

Yes He did arise
Yes He was alive
Brown Middle Eastern definitely wasn’t white
No, He never married and never had any wives
But committed His life to an interracial bride
Yes He did rise days after He died
God of the oppressed and in it He still thrives
Died as a criminal from the hood part of town
What can I say?
Yes He is God
From the womb to the tomb to the throne
You can go to the moon but you can’t hold to His bones
Nobody owns a saint
Portraits have all failed
He made us in his own image
Da Vinci returned a favor
But He is still risen
He is still risen
He is still risen
Over guns and supremace
Over all the divisions
Over the wicked and tenacious
The real one is living
Christ of the Galilee
Christ of the Nazareth
Christ that will vindicate
He will make it right again
Christ that was worshipped by the ancient of Africans
Many men claimed Him
But then He overclaimed them

Christ that the Lord knows
Christ that was foretold
Christ that shoulda come back in His war clothes
Which Christ do you believe?
You gotta know before you leave

[Lisa Sharon Harper & Doctor Jarvis Williams:]
Now the thing I would argue is that race isn’t even real
It’s something that we create in order to determine how the polest of people will live together on this land it’s a political construct
What’s real is ethnicity, what’s real is the people groups who move through time, in space and land and are shaped by their experiences together
So I would argue we need to reclaim ethnicity
Yeah He is the Messiah and that what is prioritized and that these are the categories that we have to work at
But Jesus doesn’t sit nicely and neatly with our categories
And scripture tells us clearly if you are human then you are created in the image of God therefore called by God to help steward the world





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