August 11, 2011

Mideo Cruz, freedom of expression and why the reaction

“Freedom of expression”, some artists say. “We see nothing wrong with how Mideo Cruz portrayed Christ and the cross”,  in the recently closed down controversial KULO exhibit. According to GMAnews.tv some of the images displayed where:

  • a religious image of Jesus Christ. Attached to the religious image is a wooden replica of the male genital protruding toward His face. The male genital replica is draped with the Rosary, hanging by the base and top of the replica. To a crucifix is attached a red male organ.
  • a similar religious image of Christ, where His eyes are darkened by black ink which appears to flow out from the eyes.
  • a crucifix and cross draped with a pink, stretched-out condom.
  • various religious images and pictures of Christ, Mary the Mother of Christ, Holy Family, saints, and the rosary — all closely surrounded and placed beside pictures of women who appear to be modeling for underwear or a skin product.
  • a picture of Christ’s disciples surrounding a dark silhouette of Christ in the middle. Right above the facial portion of the dark silhouette of Jesus Christ is a drawing resembling the icon of Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
  • a religious statue of Christ seated. Attached to the tip of His nose is a red ball. Above His head is an imposed pair of red ears the same as Mickey Mouse icon.

So why is this such a big deal? I think every time you discuss Jesus it will always be controversial. It has always been. Jesus is one of the most misunderstood figure in human history.

2000 years ago – Jesus was the most controversial person in human history. His death on the cross caused a revolution and a movement that has affected half of the world. The object of our faith rests on Jesus’ existence and his sacrificial act on the cross.

The crucifixion that happened 2000 years ago in Calvary was the most controversial exhibit ever recorded. The pain of the cross is so horrendous that a word was invented to explain it – EXCRUCIATING – which literally means “from the cross”.  Crucified people lasts from 3 to 4 hours or as long as nine days, passing in and out of consciousness.

Some in an effort to end the torment, slump on the cross to empty their lungs of air to hasten death. All this is done in public. Left for dead, dogs eat some of the bodies while the cross were kept and reused. As a general rule, it was men who were crucified. In the rare event of a woman’s crucifixion, she was made to face the cross. Not even the barbarous Roman soldiers and culture was willing to watch the face of a woman in such excruciating agony.

Jewish historian Josephus called the crucifixion, “the most wretched of deaths” Roman philosopher Cicero asked that decent Roman citizens not even speak of the cross because it was too disgraceful a subject for the ears of decent people.

In light of all this, what is most peculiar is that this horrendous, symbol became the symbol for Jesus. The church father Tertullian tells us of the early practice of believers making the sign of the cross over their bodies with their hand and adorning their necks and homes with crosses to celebrate the brutal death of Jesus. In doing so, the early Christians turned a symbol of terror and intimidation into a symbol of salvation and hope.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said,  “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”  Luke 23:35

Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.  Mark 15:32

Today artists like Mideo Cruz who says that their artwork is his expression of what the cross and Christ is for him might have a point. I still believe that his exhibit is not an artwork but it is very close to how Christ was maltreated, mistreated and blasphemed in the past by the people who wanted Him dead. To conclude that Mideo’s work is an art might do injustice to what Christ really experienced.

Romans 3:25-26

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

In spite of all the bad news and the experience Mideo Cruz is experiencing today, I think the good news still stands. Jesus died for Mideo Cruz and to all the people who mistreated him, rebelled against Him and crucified Him. This is the great love of Jesus!!!




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