THE WORKING MAN'S JESUS

March 2006

 When I was working in Mexico in the 70s, Corona was the working man's beer: the Bud of Baja California, the brew that you'd find being drunk after a hard day by the local fishermen and farmers in a cantina on the shores of San Quintin Bay. A few years later, it was the Yuppie beer, ordered in upscale restaurants in Chicago, San Francisco and New York by upscale movers and shakers at $7.50 a glass. Corona hadn't changed, but its image had.

   According to the Christian bible, Jesus was always been the working man's Savior: we find him spending much of his time with the poor, the weak, the downtrodden, and even "the sinners." It isn't that he doesn't like rich and "successful" people; he's just found it hard to relate to them, as they have found it hard to relate to him. Today, we hear a lot less about Jesus and the poor, and a lot more about him and politicians and corporate executives. We hear his name associated more with money and power than we do with weakness and need. Jesus hasn't changed but, believe me, somebody is working really hard to change his image.

  A beer is a beer, and I guess a change in marketing doesn't really matter that much (unless the demand for the brand increases so much that the working man can't get it any more, or can't afford it anymore). It seems to me that there is much, much more of a problem with the current marketing of Jesus - like, maybe trying to reshape the image of Jesus into a greedy, moralistic, and mercenary deity goes just a wee bit too far? Doesn't it seem a bit wrong to you for the one known for his Sermon on the Mount and his "beatitudes" to suddenly be the darling of K Street, where all the professional lobbyists do their business with our Government?

   Who gains by this re-creation of Jesus? I think it's easy to see that it isn't the poor, the old, the ill, the needy, or the middle class family man and woman. If not them, then doesn't it make a mockery of Jesus' message to the world, as folks find out that people who call themselves "Christian" have had a major role in this Jesus face-lift?


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