Megyn Kelly wins the &%#@ Idiot Award

One of these days, I’m going to start another blog and call it The &%#@ Idiot Award.  Every day, I will accept nominations, let my readers vote, and at the end of the week hand out the prizes.  This week, however, there is simply no competition.  Congratulations, Megyn Kelly.

Just to set the record straight:  The myth of Santa Claus has its origins with Saint Nicholas, who was Turkish.  Jesus of Nazareth was from, well, Nazareth.  If you want to know what color Jesus and Saint Nicholas were, get out of the studio and go make friends with some people from Nazareth and Turkey.

St_Nicholas

He just doesn’t look that white to me.

And now, I will do my best to put my evil snarky twin back behind the filter and return to my usual pastoral self.

Reza Aslan, author of Zealot, makes a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of contemporary Christian movements.  He points out (with a smile) that the Jesus of history, being Galilean, would have looked like a Galilean; that is, the same hair, eye, and skin color as Reza Aslan.  The Christ of Christian movements, however, looks like whatever a particular Christian culture projects upon him.  In China, Jesus looks Chinese.  To Guatemalans, Jesus is a migrant worker, and to many white American suburbanites, the Christ of the prosperity Gospel is an affluent white man.

And, Aslan says, that’s O.K.

I have to disagree.  There is a third way.  Whereas the search for the historical Jesus has focused on the man from Nazareth who stands behind the scriptures, and the malleable Christ of culture takes the shape of wishful thinking of Christians, the Christian scriptures describe Jesus as the Jewish Messiah (Christ) with specific and uncompromising theological claims.  Whether those claims are believable or not, they are not malleable.  My agenda here at The Bible Is My Crazy Uncle is not to talk anybody into agreeing with any of these theological claims; rather, my agenda is to discern what those claims are and state them clearly.

My boredom with the quest for the historical Jesus, from the Jesus Seminar to Reza Aslan, grows out of its speculative conclusions.  While it would be fascinating to travel back in time to the first century, shoot a lot of video, audio, and photos, maybe take a selfie with Jesus and a few of the disciples, that’s science fiction.

Once we move upstream from the collection of manuscripts we have inherited, we have to make a huge leap to get back to the historical Jesus.  Though there may be only 30 years between the earliest Christian texts (1 Thessalonians, for example) and the death of Jesus, those 30 years incubated a radical transformation.  A small community of Jews who believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah transformed into a multicultural community of Jews and Greeks and North Africans spread out over a huge geographic area.

The New Testament authors wrote to particular communities of Christians with particular concerns about how to live and die as disciples of Jesus.  None of the New Testament authors wrote with the agenda of describing what Jesus looked like, or describing accurately or exactly by contemporary standards what Jesus did, or even exactly what he said.

Here’s the question of the day:  Do the words of the historical Jesus, to the extent we can discern them, hold more importance for you than the words of New Testament writers?

5 thoughts on “Megyn Kelly wins the &%#@ Idiot Award

  1. Don Gordon says:

    How can we choose?
    Without the words of the historical Jesus, all we have is the take of the New Testament writers on whatever was happening. However, without those writings we don’t have any real sense of the actual issues Jesus was addressing when he was speaking and acting.

    It seems to me that adding facts to context gets us closer to the truth. And like he said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

    So my answer to your question is my usual “I dunno”.

    Neill, this blog is fantastic.

    Don

    • Neill Morgan says:

      Thanks, Don. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m with you on the context. That, in my experience, gets us to a meaningful encounter with Scripture more than anything else in our own power.

  2. Alan White says:

    While I don’t really care how Santa is depicted since he’s a myth, i suggest you read or hear the full context of Ms. Kelly’s remarks. My assessment of that is that she was countering an equally idiotic assertion by a guest on her program and it was tongue-in-cheek, but in the Fox-hating media circles, they excerpted the text that they wanted to focus on. Now back to your real topic, I believe that it is probably good that we don’t have an actual picture of Jesus. Since he must have some distinctive features as we all do. These features, while not important to his message, would have been a distraction from the message. I guess his heritage was important to fulfill the prophesy, but is otherwise probably unimportant.

    • Neill Morgan says:

      Thanks for your reply, Alan. It was uncharitable of me to call Ms. Kelly a name, not at all pastoral. I did, however, watch the entire segment before writing that post. I found each minute more cringe-inducing than the one before. I realize that Megyn Kelly plays a character designed to provoke. I don’t think many people would describe me as humorless, but when she plays a character who shows no sign of ever having given a moment of thought to what it would be like to experience our culture, and Christmas time in particular, as a black child, it didn’t strike me as the least bit funny. Perhaps if there had been an Abbot to her Costello, she could have pulled it off. As it was, especially with the “Jesus was a white man” remark, the most charitable response I can muster is to be embarrassed for her.

  3. Stephen Smith-Cobbs says:

    Neil,
    Love your blog and especially this particular post – which is made even better by your comments to these comments. 🙂 I’ve long appreciated your thoughtful reflections … I still remember a long conversation we had in a pub in London during Jan Term about how faith and science are not mutually exclusive. Judging from what you’ve written so far on this blog – and a few of your sermons you’ve posted on FB – you have some really good books in you that I look forward to reading.
    Blessings!
    Stephen

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