Indiana Wilkins

I feel like I’m at the beginning of a great adventure, maybe the greatest adventure of my life.  The outcome, even though I’ve only just begun, and taken but a few steps on the path to its completion, seems certain.  It’s the steps that are not.  How long is the road?  I don’t know.  But the fact that I’m walking on it at all is a miracle. 

And I’m grateful.

I bought a CD

I bought a CD on September 11th, 2001.  I remember hearing about the attack on the World Trade Center early that morning, and hardly being able to believe it.  How could something like that happen?  And at the time, I remember listening to the Howard Stern radio show on the way into my office, and it made sense–he was in New York, and would be able to give it a New Yorker’s perspective.

All day long that day, my boss let us listen to the radio, and the things that were happening seemed almost beyond belief.  People were jumping from windows to avoid the fires.  Buildings were falling, and planes were crashing all over the place, it seemed. 

We listened to the news all day.  A woman in my office who was a believer, was permitted to have a prayer time in her office, and anyone who wanted to could join.  I thought it was awesome that my boss allowed this, considering how politcally and “religiously” sensitive it seemed like you had to be at the time.  I had become a believer less than a year before, and was already struggling in my walk.  That was a great opportunity to reaffirm my new faith, and to pray.  It was in Lucy’s office, behind closed doors, with no one but a couple other believers.

But I didn’t go.  I chickened out.

Instead, I listened to the news, and I tried to make sense of what was happening in the country.   Obviously, it wasn’t exactly a rousing success.

 That night, I had to go to my part time job–I was a projectionist at an 18 plex movie theater inside Parkway Plaza.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  On the way in, I stopped at a Target, and got a couple snacks and a CD–Satellite, by P.O.D. (Payable on Death–a San Diego Metal, Rap, punk, reggae band, that would finally hit it big with that record).

I entered the mall through the food court, and found all the businesses closed, and the theater closed as well.  No one knew of any further attacks, but law enforcement had been closing places where large groups of people would normally gather all across the county, because nobody knew anything, and it seemed better to be safe and alive, than sorry and dead.

So I went to Claim Jumper with a coworker, and everyone was talking about what would happen to the country, to gas prices, to the military.  It was obvious someone would be getting a return call from the United States Armed Forces in very short order.

After that, I went back to my apartment and listened to the CD I’d purchased earlier that afternoon.  It was just in March of the previous year that I’d first began to seek Christ, and had recognized Him as Lord.  The struggles began immediately, and on September 11th, doubt joined the fight as well.

But that CD, strange as it sounds, got me to turn to God about it, and to begin to get some of the answers I sought.  It talked about appreciating God.  It talked about loss, and love, and hope.  It was awesome.  I’d know that P.O.D. was a Christian band (or at least did not not seem to hide their hearts for God), but I had never really listened to them before, other than the one or two songs on the radio.

That CD, like Born in the USA had done when I was a teenager, helped me through a pretty difficult time, and also helped me to seek out other believers to fellowship with.

Here’s a couple Youtube videos.  If you have a chance, pick up the CD.  It’s worth it.

1.  Alive.  Just listen to the lyrics (and try to ignore the video–very cheesy).

2.  The Messenjah.  Someone thought it was a good idea to crib images from The Passion of the Christ. Still, the song is good:

3. Thinking about Forever:  great song…great imagery

4. Satellite:  just rocks…

The Face of Jesus

So today I got this email, and it was full of really nice, valid sentiments, and several really good points I need to be reminded about on a regular basis.  But that isn’t what this is about.  I just noticed something and I was wondering if anyone else notices the same kind of thing I did…

at the bottom of the email, there was a picture of Jesus–well, more like a copy of a painting, which looked very much like any of probably a million paitings you see in Catholic churches and households all around the world.  The part of that which I found interesting was that the Jesus in the painting did not look like someone born in Bethlehem, and noted as being a Nazarene Carpenter (“can anything good come from Nazareth?”).  No.  He looked like a white guy about 6 feet tall, with blue eyes and honey-colored hair, who could have been a starting point guard for the Jerusalem Globetrotters.

But if that isn’t what Jesus looked like, what did he look like?   And does it even matter?  It doesn’t matter to me.  I couldn’t find anything much in the Bible that described him.  But take a look at Isaiah 53: 2 ” 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
       and like a root out of dry ground.
       He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
       nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him…

Does that sound like the guy from Jesus Christ Superstar?  Not to me.

I think he would have been of average size.  I think he would have probably been dark complected, or at least very tanned.  It’s the desert, for pity’s sake.  His hands would have been callused and strong from his work.  His feet, and robes would probably have been dirty from walking across his corner of the world.  If the above quoted old testament prophecy is to be believed, he would have been a perfectly ordinary-looking middle eastern man in his early thirties.

But this passive-looking gentleman with blue eyes?  I really doubt it.  I wonder who first came up with this “version” of Jesus?

You don’t see the man who upended tables in the temple, and made a whip from cords in those kinds of pictures.  You don’t see a man who weeps desperately for the people he’s come to save.  You don’t see a man carrying the heaviest of burdens.  No. 

If I may turn again to Isaiah:

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

How in the world would you depict a man like that?  Do you create features, and assign personality to them?  Do you represent the Light of the World solely as a mild-looking shepherd with a sheep across his back, or walking along patting little kids on the head?  How can you convey what he really looks like?  The answer is, you can’t.  You just can’t.

I saw a picture of a statue a few years ago, by some Danish or Northern European sculptor whose name escapes me.  I don’t know what the sculpture was made of, but it depicted a perfectly normal looking man, sitting on a stool and teaching.  His head is slightly bent, as he is speaking to a few children sitting in a semi-circle around him at his feet.  You can see the man’s entire body as he sits on the stool, except for his face, which is obscured by his longish hair hanging in front of it.  The children gaze raptly up at him, and the caption at the base of the statue reads:

If you want to see the face of Jesus, you have to sit at his feet.”