My desk is a little blasphemous. I'll admit it. Almost three years ago, I went to the Minneapolis apartment of a friend of a friend named Chris. He and his roommates had done something that was at once inspiring and sublime, overwhelming in its cheesiness. They had found dozens of images of Jesus and lined the walls of their bathroom with them. They henceforth called the bathroom, "The JC Lounge." None of them were religious, or even spiritual, as far as I know. They were just playing off of the cultural kitsch value of representing Jesus. As a college student working his way through an art education, I thought it was brilliant.
When I got a job at a Christian organization, I found my personal desk space to be a bit lacking in zazz. (Zazz, incidentally, is a copyrighted Nickism. Just so you know.) My mind recalled the wonderful feeling of the JC Lounge, and I decided I could get away with it. As it turns out, the internet is just chock full of Jesus images. Who knew?
Slowly I started to build my collection, and it has become quite extensive to this point. I have pictures of Jesus merchandise, such as Jesus action figure, Jesus air freshener, and the wrong-on-so-many-levels Jesus on the cross corkscrew. I have Jesus pictures that show us a side of him we never knew, like boxing Jesus, Super Bowl MVP Jesus, and rifle-toting Jesus. Then I have the inevitable fluff shots, like Jesus with cute baby, Jesus with small child, and Jesus with young women (I call that one "Mackin' and Attackin' Jesus"). It got to the point where people started bringing me the Jesus images they've found.
My favorite one has to be the completely inexplicable... I don't even know what to call it, so let me explain it to you. It's an ethereal background, like a starry night in the Judean countryside. Jesus is dressed in his traditional garb, replete with hood, robe, and signature beard. He's crying. Not like silent weeping, but like vocal anguish. His head is upturned, his perfect white teeth visible. A tear is running down his cheek. Now here's the kicker. He's holding a rather bored-looking sheep. I know he's known as the "Lamb of God," but isn't this mixing the metaphors a little bit? Why is he crying so hard? Is he outside of himself and crying over the impending death of the metaphorical lamb? Doesn't he know that he eventually comes back to life and defeats death? Is he sad over the atonement of the sins of the entire world?
The point is that I have many, many pictures of Jesus at my desk. I even have a few religious kitsch items to fill out the collection. It's funny though, the people who aren't familiar with the sarcastic nature of the art department come through every once in a while and are actually convinced that my collection shows how much I really, really love Jesus. Now, yes I do love Jesus. But this isn't how I'm showing it. It's funny to see when the humor is completely lost on somebody. Oddly enough, nobody has accused me of being blasphemous yet, even the ones who take my display seriously. Hmm.
Anyway, my stated purpose of this whole thing is to always remind myself that nobody has the perfect, complete idea of who Jesus is, even me. We all have it at least a little wrong. I (by which I mean all of us) should never believe that I have the Son of Man pegged.