Different colors of the Gospel

Andy Rau

Peter Chattaway at the FilmChat blog has some comments and links about Color of the Cross, an upcoming Gospel film that features a black Jesus. He points to a Variety article about the film, in which we learn that

One of the producers is the Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray, who during his 27 years as pastor at L.A.'s First AME Church used his pulpit to become a national religious and civil-rights leader. He said he hopes the film will reverse negative stereotypes of African Americans.

"We really need to do something about the negative imaging of black America," he said. "Black America is the only culture that worships in the form of foreign symbols. The good that can be done is that it can help lift people's interest and combat racism and discrimination."

This comes on the heels of Son of Man, a South African film that also features a black Jesus character, and which is currently stirring up a controversy with its political and theological interpretation of the Gospel story.

Son of Man seems a bit too controversial to garner a lot of support from the Western evangelical church--it paints Jesus as a Gandhi-like political figure advocating peaceful revolution against corrupt rulers, which isn't how his ministry is described in the Bible accounts. (In fact, wasn't Jesus' very refusal to engage in anti-Roman political activity part of what caused many of his countrymen to disbelieve his claim to be the promised Messiah?) But I'm quite curious to see whether the church embraces or ignores Color of the Cross. The latter film is being compared to End of the Spear, in that it's a low-budget but professionally-done film that could sink or swim depending on the reaction it gets from churchgoers. What do you think?

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