Book explores the color of Christ

On this week's Interfaith Voices, I interviewed Edward Blum, the co-author (with Paul Harvey) of a new book, The Color of Christ: the Son of God and the Saga of Race in America.

As we approach our annual remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., it's always provocative to ask ourselves how religious art, especially depictions of Jesus, have influenced our history, our culture -- our own attitudes -- toward persons of color. 

Blum notes that the norm for most of American history has been a "white Christ," and much of that imagery has tended to create associations between whiteness and godliness and even divinity. On the other hand, he notes that black slaves in American history took heart from the fact that this great white Christ could -- and did -- suffer injustice. Native Americans, he notes, challenged the white settlers with comments like, "But you killed your own white God! How can you be spiritually trustworthy?"

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

I was, however, delighted to find in the book Janet McKenzie's "Jesus of the People," which was named by NCR as the image of Jesus for the new millennium. 

To find out more about the book, click here.

To hear the interview on Interfaith Voices as well as a second interview about the Dead Sea Scrolls coming to a computer near you, click here.

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