by Brian Bantum

In the last year I have been pressed more and more to ask what do we Christians mean when we confess Christ. The seemingly never-ending news of people’s lives disregarded, murdered, criminalized is almost too much to take in. Trans, gay, lesbian, black, Muslim, women. Do we not worship a God who was desperately, unabashedly, scandalously for our bodied lives?

Guido Rocha's "Tortured Christ"

Tortured Christ, by Brazilian sculptor Guido Rocha

Today my Jesus is not a placid Jesus who quietly allows himself to be pinned to the cross taking punishment for transgressions of ideology or theological phantasms of right thinking. Today my Jesus is Brazilian sculptor, Guido Rocha’s Christ. One who identifies with the pain and suffering and totalizing terror of sin manifest in society’s structures. He is nailed to the cross for his opposition to terror and hate. He is nailed to the cross because his love is transgressive.

And upon that cross, his body pulls against the torment of society’s refusal of God, his emaciated and suffering body struggles against the evil that courses through creation’s veins. His screams of agony are mingled with a rage and anger that emanates from the very beginning of time, that his creatures would kill and destroy and dehumanize one another so. This Jesus calls to me to struggle in my everyday, to not let a single muscle in my life not work against this tyranny. This Jesus calls me to a transgressive love and a perpetual call to confess, to make right, to speak truthfully.

Brian Bantum teaches theology at Seattle Pacific University, and is author of Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity. You can read his blog here.