On Faith
My Melanin coloured, Kinky haired, Activist, Feminist Jesus
April 30, 2017
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Because it is Sunday! 

 (photo cred: the fantastic Kiptoo Koimett) 

 I was going to update this post over Easter but life happened.  But since it is still Easter month let us think of it as a belated Easter gift. I’m going to talk about the Jesus I believe in. A Jesus who combats the blonde/brown hair blue eyed legalistic narrative that has been used as an excuse to colonize and opress for centuries. That Jesus who is so far removed from me as a person.

*first disclaimer. I am not a theologian so take my words with a grain of salt. You are allowed to disagree. I am simply sharing what I have been learning in the different aspects of my identity which include my faith, africaness, and feminism*

This semester one of the courses I have been doing is a unit called Hip hop and the Bible (which I’ll speak more about in another post). However, one of the classes in the course was, “The Life and Times of Jesus.”  Fam it was beautifully eye opening. We were studying Jesus in context and this Jesus was so much cooler than the white Jesus who condones partriarchy and doesn’t care about opressiom because he’s too busy saving souls. 

  1. This Jesus in context was brown skinned with curly hair. Why does this matter? Because for far too long Jesus has been made to be as far removed from people of African descent as possible. Jesus was used as a colonizers’ mascot, as a slaver’s sympathizer. And if you tell us that the one man whom we are all to aspire to become is white. You’re telling us the holiest thing we can be is white. You’re telling us that blonde hair blue eyed Jesus didn’t come to save Kamau, Ntinyari,  or Oragah because he was too busy being a symbol for Nate, Amy,  and Stanley. No. Just no.
  2. This Jesus was hella poor. Not,  “omg I can’t afford Java today poor” but soweto/kibera type of poor. He wasn’t actually a carpenter which is the translation we have gotten in English. Him and Joseph were “Tecktons” which is a more broad term meaning handyman. You know the guy you hire to come unplug your toilet? Yup. A Teckton was a very looked down upon and degrading job. In fact when the Romans were abusing each other they’d call each other a Teckton. Almost like how you’d call someone today a piece of sh*t. Jesus came from Nazareth. John 1:46, “can anything good come from Nazareth?!…” this shows how low of a place Nazareth was. Stinking public bathrooms shared by the population, over squeezed and unsanitary in every form of the word. Poverty in every direction you turn. Jesus wasn’t some rich politician’s spoilt brat of a son. He came to understand the oppressed masses so he was born into their world. 
  3. Jesus was a feminist. I was recently asked a very interesting question, “does my feminism contradict my faith?” Well the long and short of it is no. No it does not. My faith finds its basis in the personhood of Jeshua and he was a hella radical feminist. The word itself may not have existed in that time period but a person is not defined by the word, the word is defined by the person. You merely have to see the life of Jesus, the women who followed him not because he was physically attractive – Isaiah 52:3b “he has no form or comeliness, and when we see him there is no beauty that we should desire”. So this cancels out the possibility that Jesus was some fit jock who had hoardes of women droolong over him. I think the women became his followers because he loved them, and truly saw them as whole individuals. You have to understand the Bible was written in a highly patriarchal period in a highly patriarchal society. All the men had been raised to know that women had their place. Jesus never treated a woman in a specific manner merely because she was a woman. If anything he spoke up for her when the others were disgusted by her. He taught, chastened, listened to, respected, and loved women fully not because he had to but because he wanted to. If you’re interested, read this article for a bit more explanatory information  Why Jesus is my favorite feminist. Jesus challenged the conventional partriarchy of His day and culture which is why if a Christian man comes today with some misogynistic belief system convincing you it is inspired by the Scriptures, honey just be like, ‘boy, bye!’ 
  4. Jesus’ Gospel was justice, his mission: freedom, his listemers: the outcasts and rejected of society. The ones the church calls heathen/sinners. Jesus did not condone oppression of any kind. He criticized the oppressors, even if they were the highest authority in the church. He called them hypocrites for saying one thing and living another. One time he was so mad, he called them whores or stinking dead body tombs. Almost as mad as we get when our political and church leaders seek power more than justice. The Jews were to the Romans what black people are to white people in America. Jesus fully understands oppression so he used his words as a form of activism. That’s why everyone was so threatened by him. Almost like MLK he died for preaching a radically reformed way to live, a way inclusive of freedom. Where love was/is Revolution. 

    Any thoughts, responses? 😊 Please share in the comments below. 

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    About author

    Shingai

    Going on twenty something Black Girl with chubby cheeks,fat lips, big hips, and a really kinky twa (Teeny-weeny-afro) Believer People Watcher Storyteller Favorite color blue, boo!

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      Shing bear, i love your work maa. So enlightening, deep and clear. I love truth

      • Thank you so much for reading Mtush! I’m excited the message sank in. Blessings

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