I think I’m in a minority. I consider myself to be a Christian with conservative theology but often liberal views. So when I saw this BBC article about Americans being up in arms over an artist’s sculpture of Jesus crucified done in chocolate, it made me giggle. You see, I think art is art. It’s a means those creative-type people use to make a point, get people to think about things in a new way, or just express beauty as they see it. And by the way, I don’t think this particular artist was trying to express beauty with this sculpture. I have a feeling he was making a point. Or just trying to get some headlines – and it worked.
And honestly, the more people get upset about it, the more relevant that point is. If it wasn’t relevant, no one would really care and it wouldn’t be on the BBC. But it is, and so…
Maybe, just maybe… this artist was making a commentary about how we’ve turned Easter (which should be celebrating the resurrection of Christ) into a Hallmark holiday. I think it’s about hypocrisy. The fact that a large percentage of the feathers this stirs are the religious types who wear their Sunday best to church Easter morning but swear up and down that “treat others as you want to be treated” is from the King James. Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that anyone of true faith won’t be bothered. But if you are bothered by this, what exactly bothers you about it?
I agree that the artist is being irreverent. But obviously he doesn’t share my faith. The problems that I have with the sculpture is that it portrays the crucified Christ, and by doing in chocolate the artist is tying it to Easter. But we celebrate Easter because Christ is risen. So maybe he should have made Christ resurrected (and how would that look?) or even Christ ascending to the right hand of the Father (but can you make a chocolate sculpture levitate?). If you’re offended that he made Jesus in chocolate, think about what specifically offends you. He’s expressing his views. And his attack (if it truly is an attack) is directed more at the hypocrites who are sweet, blessing-spouting folk on Sundays and then torture puppies the rest of the week (exaggeration? yeah, maybe so).
But what I want to know is, what grade of chocolate did he use? Is it that cheap, grainy, over-sweetened kind? Or that pure, creamy, perfectly sweetened Dove or Lindt kind of chocolate? And who’s going to eat Jesus anyway? I’m guessing we won’t count on transubstantiation. And is it hollow or solid milk chocolate? Or filled with hazelnut or dark chocolate fudge or some other truffle-like substance? Irreverent? Yes. But we (read: people of faith) can’t expect an artist who doesn’t share our faith to observe our values. Feel free to disagree. I won’t be offended.