Jesus was not white or why I am disapointed with Fisherman Warf’s Wax Museum

When I was a pre-teen I belonged to a Christian church called the Church of Christ. I was never sure what denomination we were as I was always told we were just Christians. It was a small unassuming church and congregation.  There were no pews; we sat on uncomfortable folding chairs while the pastor Larry Wilkenson stood before us behind a small podium.  It was a pleasant experience is some ways. I remember eating lunch with Larry and his wife after the Sunday service. They had no children of their own so they doted on me as if I were their only grandchild.  The members of the church were country folk who had strong ties in the community and with each other. The down side of this church was their unwillingness to consider other denominations as true Christians. I was not allowed to play with the Catholic children near us, nor was I to in anyway admire Mother Teresa or Gandhi (who is my ultimate hero).  This and other reasons are why I gave up the faith. I do not know what I believe now, but I do believe if there is a g-d then I doubt he would bare people who do good from entering heaven simply because their dogma was “off’ somehow.
Anyway, one day as Larry spoke I became bored like most 12 year olds are apt to do. I sat staring at our large Jesus on the Cross above Larry. It struck me that Jesus looked awfully European for someone who supposedly came from the Middle East; I have family who are descendant from the area and do not look like Jesus did. Because I was 12 and came from a small American town I assumed all people started out white and over time became darker. This was my only explanation for Jesus’ look.
The question of “which color came first” stuck with me in my early twenties. Because I flunked out of college (not because I was not college material, rather I made poor choices in life) I did not know about evolution or human migration. When I found out we most likely started out in Africa the question then turned to “when did Middle Eastern people become darker than Jesus? Being a waitress I had a lot of time to think about this and try to form an educated reason for a white Jesus that seemed to be in every picture and cross I saw.
One day while home I turned on the Phil Donahue show (for those of you too young to know him, he was the Oprah of his day). On this particular show a professor of Middle Eastern studies was on arguing his case for a darker Jesus.  He was trying to educate the audience on how Europe “whitened Jesus. A light bulb came on: Jesus was not white we in the west made him in our image! Duh!!!  We want our savior to look like us so we can identify with him. Other cultures do the same; there are African Jesuses and Asian Jesuses. Each culture portrays him in their own image.  I know that now but it still bothers me to see a very European looking Jesus. Here is why:
As a nation we tend to view darker people as “others”. We are suspicious of them and tend to treat them as inferior. We did this in the past and now see our nation divided on whether our 44th president is black, white, Christian or Muslim.  We are scared Hispanics will take all of our jobs or that they will be outsourced to India.  Many Americans try to place personal woes on these “others”. But what if we had always seen Jesus as darker than us? What if we accepted the fact that our savior was non-white? Would we be as suspicious or would be a lot more tolerant of other cultures? I will never forget a caller on the Donahue show who screamed “Jesus is white, he is white!!!” Her obvious fear that her personal savior might possible be an other, tells me we may in fact be a different nation had we always accepted that Jesus was darker than we are. In this day in age we should know better.  This is why when I saw these wax figures at Fisherman Warf’s Wax museum I was disappointed.  Jesus and those who followed him do not look Jewish, nor do they look Middle Eastern. These figures are very European looking. We need to teach our children this is not really the case.  They need to know darker people are not other and that the man behind the Christian religion was not white.

Easter and Renewal; a brief look at the name Easter and its symbols

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year
The exact origins of this religious feast day’s name are unknown. The  English historian know as the Venerable Bede (673-735) wrote the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter
It seems probable that around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the traditional symbols.
Easter Symbols:
Easter Eggs
The Easter eggs represent the beginning of a new life. This was symbolic of the advent of Spring which brought with it a new life for flora and fauna. Easter eggs were first colored by the pagans to resemble the rising sun and announce the return of light. The northern lights were also painted on the Easter eggs.
Later, an ancient Christian legend spoke of Mary giving the eggs to Roman soldiers and begging them not to kill her son. Subsequently, Easter eggs became a popular gift to give on Easter to bring luck and welfare to the family.; though we have to admit, this did not work out to well for Mary.
In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved (pickled eggs anyone?) Eggs were prized Easter gifts for children and servants; I am sure because eggs were plentiful after Lent they could be given out to servants as “gifts of food”.
Easter Bunny & Chicks
Rabbits and chicks represent the rebirth of Earth. Spring is a time when the Earth is literally reborn. Barren fields become lush green, trees get new foliage and flowers and fruits abound. The Easter bunny is definitely the most beloved symbol of Easter and extremely popular with children.
History indicates that it may have been the hare and not the rabbit that was associated with Easter. The hare is legendary because it is believed to never close its eyes – not even to blink. Rabbits on the other hand are born blind. Hares were thought to be staring at the full moon all through the night. The hare was also a symbol of fertility linked to the Greek goddess of fertility  Eostre. However, rabbits are more fertile than hare and far more prolific reproducers, and far cuter.
Easter/Peace Lily 
The white lily is thought to be pure as Christ and a symbol of the purity of the new life that comes from being resurrected. Here in the West we call these peace Lilies because, let’s be honest, the name Jesus Lily would only sell to a certain marketshare.
Early Spring is a time of renewal and is scared to almost all religions. I love this time of year because it is time of renewal and new hope. Spring fever has hit, and though we have more snow on the way I am ready for change. I am taking this time to clean out my closets and purchase new herbs. My closets will be thinned while my garden beds will be full of edible goodies; at least I hope so, the snow may hamper my dream. 
Whatever holiday you are celebrating I want to wish you all the very best.
Thank you to the History Channel and Monster.com for the source.
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