James A. Washington

For someone who grew up when and how I did, the question of Jesus really mystified many of my so-called friends, when it came to my newest superhero.

If you allow yourself to view Christianity as some kind of sanitized version of European colonialism, then it is no wonder that many regard this version of religion as a cop-out when compared to more ancient religions of the world, particularly those with African origin. However, if you do your due diligence and study, it becomes clear how the religion of Christ has been manipulated through the ages for political and economic purposes.

Man still kills in the name of his or her God, whatever that name might be. Religious conflict is still the single biggest reason people die at the hands of their fellow man. Check out the Middle East, Lebanon, Pakistan, and India. Look at the hot spots around the globe and you will find religious persecution of some type at the center of the conflict.

But, before I go too far down this road, allow me to put forward the life of Christ as one in which I am in awe and one that has caught and held not only my attention, but all of my respect, admiration, praise and worship.

Jesus was and forever will be a bad man. Folks, you can say whatever you want to, but He was indeed a man’s Man. As a matter of fact, what wasn’t Jesus? He was a revolutionary. He was probably a socialist given his predisposition to feed the hungry and take care of the poor. He was definitely anti-establishment. I don’t know anyone more against the status quo than Christ.

He was outspoken, shameless, selfless, compassionate, passionate, an equal-opportunity employer and self-confident. Can you name a more committed individual to his beliefs? This guy was a blessing to anyone who would listen, a teacher, a provider, a source of strength and, of course, an obedient Son respectful of His elders, and in so many ways, larger than life.

I’m trying to give you perspective on why He is my Lord and Savior. God, or Godliness aside, this Man I’ve come to admire so much for what He stood for, and certainly what He said He came to die for. Me. You, too.

Who wouldn’t want to lead men on a path of resistance to eliminate their persecution for what they believe in? Who wouldn’t want to change the hearts and minds of people to be more accepting of mankind’s differences in order to accept their similarities within the human race?

But more than anything else, who among us wouldn’t want to change the face of the world by bringing it a concept of love so strong that even death cannot weaken it, but by death strengthen it for all time?

The more I see Jesus, the more I see in human terms why those who can continue to undermine, distort and dilute the reality of the Man. To Him, neither wealth, nor class, nor birthright distinguished one in the great scheme of things. Preferential treatment is not accorded one based on circumstance. The measure of any man comes in terms of love, prayer, faith, service and acceptance of God as God.

I keep telling y’all, Jesus was a bad boy. But if you don’t know Him for yourself firsthand, I’m afraid you’ll fall prey to the version given to you by those who have their best interest at heart and not yours. That includes priests and pastors, kings and presidents, CEOs, capitalists and communists – anyone who would keep you down so they might stay up.

I could go on forever but that is not my intent. Jesus is forever, not me. I’m just here for the moment trying to give you the basis for making the most out of your opportunity. Jesus came to be a blessing. I’m just trying to follow His lead.

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