52 thoughts on “Historical Accuracy”

  1. If you think Jesus was pretty/attractive/etc., then you haven’t read Isaiah 53:2, and you might be a fundamentalist – or some other denomination, for that matter.

    And now for something completely different…

    I’m amazed that some fundies have such a hard time with facial hair. Whether Jesus had long or short hair on the back of his head, we can be pretty sure that he had some good growth on the front. Yet one would be denied membership in numerous fundy churches and organizations for mirroring our Lord’s [lack of] shaving habits.

  2. That is so funny. My husband got huge amounts of grief when he decided to grow his beard back. He wore it any ways, much to the anguish of church leaders.

  3. ok. Im going to send you a picture derrell. It’s a head statue of Jesus. looks just like this picture but it has WWJD engraved on the front. he has blue eyes and long wavy hair. I was teaching youth and it was a wellspring of jokes.

  4. Charlene my husband has the same problem. He has a big beard and wears jeans and sneakers on Sunday morning. When he said he was looking for a ministry some churches were recommended prefaced with “you’d have to get rid of the beard first”. With the clothes, beard and Calvinistic beliefs needless to say we are still looking 🙂

  5. @Dan Keller as of 5 years ago they were forbidden at my alma mater.

    As for the topic of the post, I think Derek Webb summed it up well:

    “There are two great lies that I’ve heard:
    “The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
    And that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
    And if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him”

  6. Ha, I shave my head, and I get strange looks.

    Don’t know if people think I’m weird, or are looking at my scars on my head, or think I am a Nazarite.

    It is funny, though, how hair can quickly set a Fundy off.

  7. Just for giggles, I searched Amazon, and sure enough, what did I find? “Jesus Had Short Hair! Is the Homosexual Sick or Sinful?: Two Messages by Dr. Jack Hyles” Yep, I remember seeing that in a library at a certain church…

  8. Wait a minute…Where’s the halo? Oops, wrong site. I thought I was in the ex-Roman Catholic forum…but on the other hand there are so many similarities between fundies and RC’s…they both have their popes and their saints.

  9. Dan, you have (fortunately) been out of Fundyland a verrrrrrrrrrry long time.

    Two basic tenets of Fundamentalism are (1) that nothing ever changes and (2) externals rock. So, 8 million years ago, when hippies roamed the earth, their hair length and beards were often a political or social statement. So, way back then, there may have been a teensy valid argument for non-hippies to shun that appearance. But the fundies aren’t going to throw away a perfectly good rule about external appearance just because it’s no longer applicable (since hair hasn’t made a political statement in decades).

  10. I can’t remember exactly when, but it was somewhat recent when BJU lifted the ban on facial hair. I found it extremely amusing that alumni who had been clean shaven for 20 years suddenly felt they had ‘permission’ to grow a beard.

  11. My husband’s alma mater recently lifted the beard ban as well, but for years if you could prove you were participating in an Easter or Christmas play at your church you were permitted to grow one but it had to come off as soon as the play was over.

  12. My alma mater banned facial hair, and sideburns could only grow to the middle of the men’s ears. Hair could not touch the collar of their shirts. The editor of the college newspaper published a picture page with all of the founders and early teachers of the college circa late 19th early 20th century in all of their masculine glory: long beards, moustaches, long sideburns and longish hair. I think he got in trouble.

  13. I don’t think this is a very good painting. There is no left cheek bone and the hair on top is not symetric, the left side is much further forward than the right.

    I remember seeing this painting 40 years ago on the Egermeier’s Bible Story Book I think, does anyone know it’s origin?

  14. Make fun of me if you want, but I find nothing more comfortable than jeans and a flannel shirt. Years ago when I first attended a fundamentalist highschool (that was attatched to a fundamentalist college) the rule there was no flannel shirts, even on casual days, which I thought was really odd. The answer they gave was the danger of hippies, much like long hair and what not.

    When I asked if the rule could be changed as it was a little outdated, the answer was no, that rules like those were for are protection and that rules couldn’t simply be taken away or added.

    I then pointed out that the school had no rules against bringing weapons to school like knives or even guns. I argued that the culture when the rules were established didn’t need such rules, but todays culture might demand a change in rules. The principles response was simply, “Oh.”

    The next week there were new rules against weapons in school, but I still wasn’t allowed to wear flannel shirts, which apparently were just as dangerous as knives. Ah well, at least I can say they named a rule after me and I actually did make the school a little safer. Still I am glad that now that I am not there I can wear my flannel shirts.

    Does anyone know of a picture of Jesus in jeans and a flannel shirt? That would make me happy.

  15. The picture was popular in the late 19th century thanks to D.L. Moody. If you think about it, it looks like Moody’s take on Jesus — loving, approachable. I’m in bed with the flu, when I’m better enough to go get my Marsden, I’ll get the artist’s name.

    But yeah, this was da bomb in evangelical homes in the 19th-20th centuries. My grandparents had one up next to their pic of FDR! Go figure. . . .

  16. I’ll never figure out the beard thing. As fanatical as fundies are about making sure “women look like women” they don’t seem to care whether “men look like men.” What’s more masculine than facial hair?

    Also – I think a lot of fundy preachers need a good beard to cover up their second and third chin.

  17. When I was a little girl I had a night light in my room with ‘Sallman’s Head of Christ’ in it. We also had a a star for our Christmas tree with this picture in the center. My family still has it and use it every year. It’s in a cheap plastic star-shaped frame with a hook behind to hold a bulb from the strand so the light can glow through, and it probably cost a buck in 1954. But I’ve never seen another one like it and would hate to see anything else on the family tree. It always reminded me what Christmas was about even when I was greedily ripping into presents. The plastic translucent picture in the night light frame melted long ago, but it was always a comfort to me as a kid. Of course, I later learned that artists tended toward depicting Jesus from a European point of reference, not Middle Eastern. The artist also did the old standby picture of Jesus knocking at a door.

  18. Actually, I’m not surprised to see a white artist depict Jesus as white. You go to to Africa, you see black Jesuses. You go to Mexico, you see brown Jesuses. You go to China, you see yellow Jesuses. People tend to picture him as one like them.

  19. >>Does anyone know of a picture of Jesus in jeans and a flannel shirt? That would make me happy.<<

    The author of The Shack depicted Jesus in words as wearing jeans and a flannel shirt.

  20. I’m actually curious if anyone has any info on a picture of Semitic Jesus, you know, like he probably looked? Think about his profession and his day. Jesus was probably not a pale thin guy. Man chopped, split, and shaved wood, probably out-of-doors, for 15, 20 years. Already you’ve got the darker olive skin for a native of that part of the world, which would have ended up tanned from the outdoors work, plus an undoubtedly ripped physique (courtesy of his profession). No blond hair and blue eyes, either.

    Of course, nowadays, suggesting that Jesus Christ of Nazareth probably looked like any other Muslim terrorist suspect you see on the evening news would floor most American Christians, fundy or otherwise. The venom of ethnocentricity runs very deep these days.

    1. No Power-Tools either, just lots of Muscle power. I read part of a book recently written by a Christian guy who who was a carpenter before he turned to bodybuilding. He said that the very fact that jesus was a carpenter spoke volumes to him. Even with power tools today, working with wood full-time until to are 30, carrying it around etc, develops a lot of strength in the upper body. Jesus was no weedy wimp.

  21. @mounty: I used to work in the famed art gallery of a certain fundamentalist institution. As I recall, Rembrandt was one of the first to actually use a Jewish model in his painting of Jesus.

    1. Yes!!!!!!! One of the main reasons I adore Rembrandt so much. In a culture of serious, ingrained, everyday anti-Semitism, he hung out with Jewish people. He lived in a Jewish part of town. And when he decided to paint Jesus, he was the first artist to actually think about who Jesus was rather than how Jesus had always been portrayed. ‘Going to paint Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. Going to need a model for my painting. Hey, how about, I don’t know, a JEWISH GUY’.
      <3 Rembrandt

  22. The Bible college I graduated from has just recently (within 2-3 years) begun to allow facial hair other than a mustache. Those have always been okay for some reason. You can’t look like Jesus but you can look like a porn star. We were also told that it was a hippie thing. Most of the profs agreed that the rule needed to be changed but it was in place from the schools foundation in 1945 until around 2007 or 2008.
    I have a B.A. in biblical studies, I’ve been teaching the Bible for 10 years, and when I told my former pastor I was looking for a full time ministry, he gave me a list of churches that were looking and told me I would need to shave first. Thanks but no thanks.

  23. That’s a pretty good photograph that you posted and it actually is very close to the one that was hung just above the piano, except that this one had jesus out in the field that was “white unto the harvest.”
    I think that the hair sensitivity started about the mid 50s with the concern over Elvis and his devil music. because if you go back about a century, hair was not an issue. It would be interesting to trace the origins of all the items we consider to be sinful. My church preached against women cutting their hair because the Bible says that her glory is in her hair.
    Today we even have preachers focusing on the proper posture for men to pee.

  24. @Mark – I know, I worked in the same building for almost four years. 😀 And now that you mention it, I do remember that nugget.

    @Josh: O_O That’s amazing. I need to invent me a time machine, though, and go back with an HD camera.

  25. From the Todd Agnew song, “My Jesus” :” Who is this that you follow, This picture of the American dream . . . .Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins. But the Word says He was battered and scarred or did you miss that part?”

    I think we also tend to miss the part where He looked like a Jewish rabbi, because after all, that’s what He was. Not to mention a Jewish carpenter.

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