Are You Offended by “Djesus Uncrossed”?

Humor can be a funny thing (ba dum bum!).

Some Christians (and now, it seems, some Muslims, too) have taken offense at “Saturday Night Live’s” recent skit, “Djesus Uncrossed,” depicting the Saviour as back and ready for revenge.

For those who care to see it, here is the segment [warning: there's some language and gory violence]:

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I am a committed Christian (or, at least, I hope and pray that God thinks so!). But, for what it’s worth, I thought this segment was the funniest thing “Saturday Night Live” has done for a long time.  

The joke wasn’t ridiculing Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, Christian beliefs, or Christians generally, but rather the predictable, over-the-top violence and revenge fantasies that characterize Tarantino movies. (And hey, the part where Jesus blows Judas Iscariot away, after telling him “If you get to Heaven, say ‘hi’ to my Dad” is laugh-out-loud funny.)  

What  makes it funny? The disconnect between our understanding of who Jesus actually is — selfless love, cheap grace, and eager forgiveness — and the vengeful, back-from-the-dead, take-no-prisoners Jesus portrayed in the skit. (The humor works in much the same way as in this famous SNL skit, about Ronald Reagan as Iran-Contra mastermind.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those conservatives who routinely dismiss anti-Christian bigotry with eye-rolling and an oh-so-hip plea for everyone to “lighten up!” There is plenty of anti-Christian bigotry around, as I noted some time ago, commenting on a previous NBC offering. And I do think it’s necessary for Christians to push back when truly objectionable stuff appears, because otherwise there’s no end to what the cultural elite will impose upon us.

But — with all the respect in the world for my conservative Christian friends who were genuinely offended — isn’t it important that we pick our battles? This skit isn’t going to change anyone’s view of who Jesus is (the Way, the Truth, and the Life) and what He came to do. The uglier, more dangerous stuff is the insidious entertainment that treats Christianity and Christian principles as hate-filled, bigoted, lacking in compassion and humor, or irrelevant. Things like holding a morals-free sex seminar in a Christian chapel during Lent, to my mind, are far more disrespectful of Christianity and do far more to undermine a right understanding of its principles than this sketch.   

I simply don’ think Jesus would be outraged by this. He may take His work on Earth, His love for (and expectations of) us, and His identity as God’s Son with eternal seriousness — but He doesn’t take Himself seriously . . . because He is utterly lacking in unworthy personal pride. Don’t you think Jesus has a sense of humor — and that He might even laugh at the sheer silliness of it all?

  1. PHenry

    I’m mostly offended by people who think they have a right to squelch whatever they find offensive. 

  2. FloppyDisk90

    I’d long since given up on SNL but this is actually quite funny.

  3. The New Clear Option

    Definitely the funniest thing they’ve done since the Belushi/Ackroyd golden age.

    I’m not sure what Jesus thinks of it. It’s clear from the New Testament that Jesus has a sense of humor, though it tends to have a sharp edge. 

  4. C. U. Douglas

    Yes, I can get a chuckle out of this, though I hesitate to.

    I suppose I am a bit offended, but that’s life I guess.  Jesus had to endure with mocking, pesercution and yes even death at his time, and He told us to expect the same treatment.  Watching this is hardly enduring the same.

    The only part that troubles me is thinking about the people who made this and others who’ve made similar.  In the end, we all will get to see the Lord.  Do we want to face Him knowing what we said about him?  The people who make these parodies are banking the idea that they’ll never have to worry about that.  I pray in the end they are right for their sake.

    Also, a side note:  No Hebrews were harmed in the making of this parody.

  5. Fricosis Guy

    Best laughs I’ve had from a SNL bit for a while. Love the Ving Rhames casting and dialogue as Pilate.

    Also, a mainstream affirmation of the reality of the Resurrection — well, at least consonant with the Resurrection — can’t be all bad.

  6. Bill Nelson

    My religious faith and beliefs are my own. What others do or say cannot offend me.

  7. C. U. Douglas

    It’s also kind of interesting to note that in His time, the Hebrews were waiting for the Messiah to drive out the Romans and restore the nation of Israel.  This parody plays out that hope.

    God, of course, had much bigger plans than that.

  8. J Climacus

    Mad TV already explored the violence/Jesus thing a long time ago – search for Terminator Jesus on YouTube. I think the Mad TV version is funnier… not to mention more original.

    Still waiting for SNL’s sendup of Mohammed. Now that would be original.

  9. Crow

    My suspicion is that the Deity has a sense of humor.

    At the very least, I sometimes get the sense that He’s mocking me.

  10. Majestyk

    I think Jesus probably had a great sense of humor.

    Who couldn’t see the humor in sending yourself on a suicide mission into a world you know is going to beat you to death, and then sulking for half a week before turning yourself into a zombie?  Mel Brooks equation of “Tragedy + Time = Comedy” has never been more true.

    Also – isn’t that shotgun illegal in New York???

  11. skipsul

    I direct you all to this little gem from the 1980′s:

    Gandhi 2

    The humor here is basically the same.

  12. Kim K.

    Two quibbles with your analysis: The grace God offers is anything but cheap.  It cost the life of his son.  That’s a high price to pay for redeeming sinners. 

    Also, I agree that Jesus has a sense of humor.  Although it may be different than mine.  But I really don’t know what to make of “ He doesn’t take Himself seriously . . . because He is utterly lacking in unworthy personal pride.”  The one before whom all of creation will one day fall is jealous for his own glory – which he will share with no one.  I would submit that he takes himself very seriously.

    If others are or are not offended by this video is not my concern.  But you addressed your comments as coming from a committed Christian. I hope you will take my response in the spirit is which it is  offered.

  13. Majestyk
    skipsul: I direct you all to this little gem from the 1980′s:

    Gandhi 2

    The humor here is basically the same. · 2 minutes ago

    UHF is a Cult Classic.  Conan the Librarian!

  14. Gary The Ex-Donk

    I can understand not finding it funny (although I think it is), but to be outraged over this is no different than when Muslims freak out over a cartoon depiction of Muhammed.

    Way out of proportion.

  15. Fred Cole

    If the point of this was to poke fun at Jesus, it might be a thing to get offended about.

    But the point wasn’t to poke fun at Jesus, the point was to poke fun at Quintin Tarantino and his gory over the top films.  There’s references to IB, Django, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction.

    Did I miss the Reservoir Dogs one or is it not there?

    Addendum: I clicked on the above links.  I’m sorry I did.

  16. C. U. Douglas
    Majestyk

    skipsul: I direct you all to this little gem from the 1980′s:

    Gandhi 2

    The humor here is basically the same. · 2 minutes ago

    UHF is a Cult Classic.  Conan the Librarian! · 5 minutes ago

    Running on that little Rabbit Trail:  I am always disappointed when my friends can’t quote that film.  Also, best side throwaway gag in that movie is the blind man trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

  17. drlorentz

    Hilarious.

    No more Mr Nice Jesus.

  18. drlorentz
    Crow’s Nest: My suspicion is that the Deity has a sense of humor.

    He created liberals, didn’t he?

  19. notmarx

    Re: Jesus’ humor.  Mark 7:24-30  He’s wonderful when he casts a spell that lasts with one of his stories – like The Good Samaritan – but I like it when we get to see the blunt carpenter: “…he said to her, Let the children have their fill first; it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs…”  The lady’s quick and self-abasing retort (“Ah, yes, Lord; the dogs… eat of the crumbs the children leave, underneath the table…”) I imagine, got a laugh out of the Savior, if not a spit-take.  For sure she gets rewarded with a healed daughter.  I’m inclined to think making Jesus laugh is a good thing.  And it’s hard to imagine him as one those easily-offended types.    

    Can’t access the video.  Maybe later.    

  20. skipsul
    C. U. Douglas

    Majestyk

    skipsul: I direct you all to this little gem from the 1980′s:

    Gandhi 2

    The humor here is basically the same. · 2 minutes ago

    UHF is a Cult Classic.  Conan the Librarian! · 5 minutes ago

    Running on that little Rabbit Trail:  I am always disappointed when my friends can’t quote that film.  Also, best side throwaway gag in that movie is the blind man trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. · 11 minutes ago

    I still prefer “And today we’re teaching poodles how to fly!…  They don’t always get it on the first try.”

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