There’s an overstated statue of the crucifixion in the middle of the campus of Fuller Theological Seminary. It looks ridiculous. It’s a guy with hammer held high over the agonizing, contorted body of Jesus. Behind him are a manicured lawn and the beautiful arts and crafts homes of Old Pasadena that Fuller has turned into offices. Students sit in front of Jesus and eat sandwiches. It’s Mel Gibson ridiculous. But I sat and stared at it today, eating a sandwich, and I appreciated it for the first time.
It’s a stark contrast to Professor Jesus, who most of the seminary students are getting to know. It’s almost an ironic contrast. Professor Jesus has taught the seminarians to behave civilly, respect other cultures, be nice, be green, think theologically, exegete the culture, and market the church. They will analyze Jesus, dissect him, reassemble him, and leave after three years prepared to pull him out of their pockets and hand him out to a world that needs him, like a tourist passing candy out the window of his car to children while waiting to cross back at the Tecate border.
In contrast to that, there’s a bloody mess right in front of you.