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Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean,
The world has grown grey from Thy breath. - Swinburne
The Sterilized Jesus
A look at how Christendom has sterilized Jesus
The above complaint by Swinburne was made because he felt that in his society Christendom had taken
much of the romance, color, passion, eroticism, pathos, carnality and drama out of his world. In the context of the artificial and
suffocating effect that the Mariology, Puritanism, pietism, sacrificial
attitude, church going and Holy day suppression of normal free time activities,
along with the arbitrarily proscribed erotic activity, and the encouraged "missionary position" sexual behavior, etc., we
However, let's also take a look at the sterilized concept of Jesus
that most—probably all—Christians have. Right from his birth there is a
tendency to NOT
think about his having the normal aspects and experiences of human male beings. We don't like to
think that he went through a diaper stage, and we don't like to think that he
developed rashes, and we don't like to think that he fussed if he was
uncomfortable or hungry or thirsty. What? He never caught a cold? Never had a
runny nose? Never wet the bed? Never spit out food that he didn't like?
Of course he never
cried when being teased or hurt by his older siblings, never got
possessive about his toys or belongings. He miraculously never tore his clothes,
never lost a sandal, never skinned his knees or elbows, never burned his fingers
nor even stubbed his toes. When cutting vegetables or carving wood, the knife
never slipped. I would guess that we can visualize him getting stung by a
bee, but did he then swat it and crush it?
As a child, we can't have him ever being petulant, ever disobeying his
parents, ever whining about taking a bath or being put to bed while others were
staying up and having fun. He never even dropped a cup or broke a dish through
carelessness or accident, never lost a spoon or fork. Of course he never spilled
his drink or slopped his food on the tablecloth.
Our more delicate sensibilities can really get traumatized when we consider
Jesus and sexual development and activity. As a pre-pubescent, did he ever get a
"stiffy" and fondle himself? When a precocious little girl wanted to "explore",
did he always decline? As a teenager, did he have erotic
wet dreams, maybe even masturbate? Did he ever look lustfully at a sensuous girl
or woman? Did he ever try to sneak a peek at the female anatomy? Did he ever
listen to an off-color joke and snicker? Maybe even retell it in the right circumstances?
Did he even have a sense of humor?
As a young man, was J ever crude or vulgar? When working in construction did he
ever smash his finger, hop around in pain and exclaim, "Damn, and double damn!" Was
he ever defeated and discouraged, disparaging aspects of life and saying
that they suck?
Did he ever get irritable or short with people. Did he ever get angry? Well, we
know he got irked with Phillip and Peter and angry with the Temple merchants
of sacrificial offerings, even after his baptism, but that is considered to be justified. He didn't begin his public ministry until
he was about the age of 35 years. Maybe it took him that long to not only
understand his mission but to mature to a point where he could adequately
represent the ideal person and uncontaminated character.
But one obvious point is that by sterilizing Jesus to whatever degree,
Christendom has made him unreal, non-genuine, and that much harder to understand, relate to and believe in.