The warped witness of Djesus Uncrossed

I usually turn to Stephen Colbert for religious-themed satire, but this weekend Saturday Night Live offered a doozy worthy of The Colbert Report. “Djesus Uncrossed” is a fake trailer for a Quentin Tarantino-inspired revenge fantasy in which Jesus rises from the grave to enact bloody vengeance on the Romans. (Be forewarned that the gore in the video is outrageously over-the-top.)

Billed as “the ultimate historical revenge fantasy” and featuring Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz as Christ Himself, the skit is as much an indictment of the limited vision of Tarantino’s films as anything else. In fact, the booming narrator tacitly admits that such a movie would be a reversal of the very heart of the Gospel: “He’s risen from the dead, and He’s preaching anything but forgiveness.”

What do you say: is this sacrilege or a warped form of witness?



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In my opinion, false idols are made to be destroyed. This does a good job of showing how the focus on revenge and bloody violence (as opposed to necessary violence - this is so over the top!) you see in some corners of society is at odds with the Gospel itself.

That line of being less bloody than the Passion of the Christ was pure gold. I kept thinking I should be outraged, but it seemed more about what we moderns do to Christianity, not the religion itself.

I don’t know that I’d share this with our kids for family devotions, but it definitely fits in the makes-you-think category.  Right now I’m reading John Eldredge’s “Beautiful Outlaw”, where Eldredge makes a case for how much of Christ’s humanity we’ve lost along the way.  While a spoof like this obviously clashes with biblical accounts on (so many) levels, it can prompt us to rethink some of our assumptions about the shock of Easter.

Thanks, Josh, for writing this. The sketch certainly caught my attention. I agree with Ron. I’m not so sure I would show it to my kids for quite some time, but it does make me think of the attempts of some in Christian circles to get away from a ‘hippy dippy namby pamby Jesus with limp wrists’ (or thinking along those lines).

We often hear the idea that Jesus’ first coming was as a weak and willing sacrifice but (and we gleefully smile) his SECOND coming, that’s going to be the powerful, conquering Jesus. I suspect that Djesus Uncrossed captures what so many of us are hoping for Jesus’ second coming (albeit in an exaggerated fashion) - what it misses is that the glory of God in Revelation 5 IS the Lamb who was slain BECAUSE he was slain. Jesus’ death and resurrection wasn’t the precursor to the vengeful Jesus - the cross always was and always will be the glory of God.

I found it very interesting that both Ron and KPlockmeyer mentioned their kids. I think this is a point people in Christian circles (and probably society generally) struggle with: the distinction between “okay for anyone” and “okay for adults.” SNL always struck me as entertainment for adults (I didn’t discover it until well into high school) and, while I don’t envy you parents trying to keep your youngsters away from things like this, I think at some level it’s worth asking: are there some kinds of entertainment that aren’t meant for them but it’s still okay for adults to watch?

I consider this to be a kind of meat/milk issue. Bits like this are actually thought-provoking for adults but clearly not good for people not ready for them, whether it’s biological children or people who need a “milk” approach to violence for whatever reason? (I can imagine an adult coming out of a warzone having a much harder time with the violence than I did.)

Interesting.  In some ways, the depiction here is the Jesus we would get if he had caved into Satan’s temptation in the wilderness.  As I understand it, the temptation for Jesus in those passages is basically to forsake the way of the cross and grab power the good ol’ fashion way.

Thanks, Marta. I think you’re point is an important one. This is where Wisdom and discernment is so important - and where, perhaps, the church could do well to rediscover the book of Proverbs. Each of us is wired differently and at a different point in our spiritual life and Proverbs helps give advice that is applicable to people of all ages and stages.

This clip also deconstructs the myth of redemptive violence as well. We like stories about how oppressors get their due vengeance. I think it’s right to be outraged about injustice. But we also have to check our response. We condemn slavery, but don’t condemn the total warfare used by the North to defeat the South. We condemn the Holocaust, but don’t condemn the firebombing of German towns. Can we really pray about oppressors, as Jesus did, forgive them, for they do not know what they do? That’s a hard thing. It doesn’t mean that we cease to work against injustice, but it means that the means by which we work must be in line with the way of the cross.

A thought not yet shared is that this clip portrays how some non-Christians see some prominent and vocal parts of the church.  In this vein, the revenge seeking Christ represents the Church and its view of who God is really.  Essentially, “I’m God and you’re going to pay”.  Perhaps we should see this as a wake-up call that the main message of the Church to the culture has ceased to be “in Christ, God was Reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us” and has become a more Pharisaic, do this or else message that, like the clip, isn’t the real Christ.

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