Black Spirituality Religion : JESUS AS A MAN OF COLOR

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Aqil, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nigerian-born priest says he is convinced that Jesus was a Black man born of an African mother. It's especially important, he says, that Black Christians regain their heritage.

    By Darryl Dean
    Toronto Star
    Feb. 21, 2004

    Was Jesus a bearded white man with flowing blond locks and blue eyes? Or was the Nazarene, whose face has become an icon of hope and salvation, a person of color? The Bible makes no mention of his skin color, but Father Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, a Roman Catholic priest who has just finished writing his doctoral thesis based on the gospel of Matthew, says the historical Jesus was not white. “Nor was he of Hebrew blood,” he adds.

    The Nigerian-born priest, who has been exploring the African heritage of the Bible and re-reading the Scriptures in light of modern scholarship, is convinced that Jesus was a Black man born of an African mother. Ezeogu acknowledges that many fellow Catholics – including some Blacks – have difficulty accepting the idea of a non-white Jesus. But he says many others are eager to learn about the Jesus of history.

    The Spiritan priest, who has been conducting study sessions on an Afrocentric re-reading of the Bible, says that Jesus, his mother, Mary, and earthly father, Joseph, were Jewish by faith. “But that does not mean that they were all of Hebrew blood,” he contends. “Jesus became Jewish by adoption through Joseph, who was of the bloodline of Abraham,” he says, “and my journey of inquiry has led me to the understanding that Mary was of Egyptian – and not Jewish ancestry.”

    Ezeogu, who has been studying the Greek text of the gospel of Matthew, says that he (Matthew) was trying to answer one important question: "How was Jesus, who was not of the bloodline of Abraham, able to fulfill the Jewish expectation of the coming of the Messiah?" Citing the scriptures, the gospel writer noted the fulfillment of the prophecy that, 'out of Egypt I have called my son.'" (Matthew 2:15)

    He also says that Matthew brought to the church the message of multiculturalism. “He was writing for a church in Antioch that was Jewish, and what he was saying to the Jews was, ‘open up to these guys (the Gentiles).’ In a sense, he was asking the Jewish leaders to dismantle every barrier of discrimination; to give up any favoritism, and any attempts to treat the Gentiles as not being equal to them.”

    “Matthew’s message is particularly relevant to Black Christians who are struggling for total acceptance,” Ezeogu says. “One question has been plaguing Christianity down through the ages. How come some people are Black? There are those who have misinterpreted the Scriptures, saying that ‘Blacks were cursed by God.’”

    Ezeogu says that in order to clear up some long-held misconceptions, people need to get the correct information about the historical Jesus because the Christian faith is based on history, not mythology. “Of course, after you’ve spent your whole life imaging Jesus in a certain way, and somebody comes and says your image needs to be changed, that’s demanding a lot,” he concedes. “But it's especially important that Black Christians reclaim their heritage, since many of them still regard Christianity as foreign…or the ‘white man’s religion.’”

    He says that during his years of study in his native Nigeria and in Rome, no one ever told him about a Black Jesus. It was when he came to Canada to do his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto that he discovered that “the Jews in Biblical times were non-white. “They were people of color like most of the people at that time in what is now called the Middle East. The white Jew, I was to discover, was a later development. “And it was that discovery which sent me on a personal journey of inquiry.”

    Some researchers suggest that Jesus may have been of an olive complexion. But as Ezeogu explains: “If you're olive-colored and you’re African, you’re considered Black.”

    The Rev. Dermot Doran, a Roman Catholic priest with a largely black congregation, agrees that many people are conditioned to think that Jesus was white because of the images they have been seeing. Doran, the recently installed pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, says that on many cards and other religious materials, “Jesus is usually portrayed as a white person. So many Catholics may not have even thought of Jesus as a person of color.”

    University of Toronto Professor John Kloppenborg, who lectures on early Christianity, notes: “The gospels are uninterested in describing what Jesus looks like.” It would be safe to say, however, that he did not look like the pictures you often see in churches of a longhaired, very Anglo-looking person complete with the halo and so forth. “The historical Jesus probably looked like an Eastern Mediterranean person. And depending on how you classify Mediterranean people, one might reasonably say they are people of color,” says Prof. Kloppenborg.

    Ezeogu, who has preached in several churches in ethnically diverse Toronto, says he has never seen a statue of Jesus as a person of color in any of them. But he says one striking image of a non-white Jesus is at Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham. Adorning the chapel of the high school is a " multicultural Jesus" in its stained glass windows.

    Pointing out the school is one of the most “visibly diverse" in the GTA, principal Paul Walsh, who commissioned the image, says, “we wanted to have a Jesus with whom all the students in the school could identify. “If you’re from the Middle East, you’ll find that the image is of a person from the Middle East. If you are from the Caribbean or Africa, you’ll notice that this man is Black. If you’re from Ireland, he is Black Irish. “The only way we can find Jesus is when we look in the face of all of those who are created in his image,” Walsh adds.

    Ezeogu agrees but notes that one has to make a distinction between the Christ of faith and the Jesus of history. “Although every group has the right to appropriate the Christ of faith according to its own cultural values, there was the one and only Jesus of history, and he was a Black man.”

    (Darryl Dean is a Trinidadian journalist based in Toronto.)
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    “The question is not where are the Black people in the Bible...but where are the white people?”

    (Cain Hope Felder, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Howard University.)
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    "America is a Jesus-haunted culture, but, at the same time, it is a Biblically illiterate culture. When you have that odd combination, almost anything can pass for knowledge of the historical Jesus."

    (Dr. Ben Witherington, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary)
     
  4. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Interesting article,

    thanks for sharing brotha!
     
  5. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You're welcome, Sekhemu...
     
  6. Dual Karnayn

    Dual Karnayn Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ofcouse Jesus and probably all the prophets were men of color....various colors...but of color none the less.
    There may have been some white prophets, but I haven't heard of any who are legitimate.

    What most people don't know is Christianity was in Africa before it was in Europe.

    What most Africans got through colonialism was a white supremist garbled version of Christianity instead of the Coptic and Ethiopic kind practiced through out East and North Africa.
     
  7. Music Producer

    Music Producer Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Any form of worshipping Jesus is evil and against GOD. That's why the white man is drawn to him. GOD had to give the heathen a god also.

    Ps:2:8: Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

    To confess Jesus is to confess being a heathen.
     
  8. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Neither have I.
     
  9. spicybrown

    spicybrown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My .02.......

    Of course he was a Black or Brown man, the same racial injustice we witness today, is relatively the same as was then. This "JESUS" figure was being persecuted by the Romans/Whites. Whites, collectively, did/do not oppress other whites. Plain&Simple.
     
  10. Music Producer

    Music Producer Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    So Aqil, you preach Jesus but do you believe Jesus is GOD and your lord and saviour and messiah and son of man and David the king and Son of GOD and Holy Spirit and what ever else?
     
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