Jesus Gets Tarantino Treatment On SNL

You don’t get much more “American Jesus” than this.

Over the weekend SNL gave Jesus the Quentin Tarantino treatment with their movie spoof “DJesus Uncrossed” in which Jesus rolls away the stone with his bare hands, grabs his guns, and gets revenge on the bad guys who put him there.

Somewhere in Seattle I imagine Mark Driscoll sitting on his couch watching this and shouting “That’s my Jesus!

Of course, he’s probably not the only one.

As my friend David Henson points out,

In the end, whatever the fallout from the skit, American Christianity didn’t need Tarantino or SNL or anyone in Hollywood to think up something as absurd and as base and as hysterically inaccurate as DJesus Uncrossed.

We’ve already done that for ourselves.

Say what you will about how offensive SNL’s sketch was. Our popular theology is more so. Because we should know better.

Anyway, check out the video for yourself and let me know what you think: perfect satire or blasphemous spoof?

  • D Lowrey

    I have to say I did laugh during this clip…because you are right about this being the Jesus of the Bend Over Party and fundamentalists. As for being satire or blasphemous spoof…I would say the latter. For the former…it’s too close to the truth to be such.

  • http://twitter.com/EofFaith I.S. Pringle

    I have to say, the first time I saw this my inclination was to hate it. Not only does it totally differ from the Gospel, but it portrays a Jesus that never existed.

    On a second watch I saw how it could be just a silly, and harmless video. I felt like maybe I had reacted to quickly.

    But, I have come back to my initial view of it because it gets in the way of who Jesus is and what Jesus did!

    And, I realized it was a harmless snipe, but I imagine Driscoll feels the same way.

  • Jon

    I understand the satirical element of this, especially after watching the shock and awe in Django. That said, I think it does nothing to glorify God and does nothing to further the truth of the Christian message. It relegates Jesus to a fantasy figure in the myths of history, which just further promotes the secularism of our modern culture.

    It is truly sad when the only time the masses are exposed to Jesus in any way it is in a spoof.

    He says at one point. “He’s teaching anything but forgiveness…..He may be wearing sandals, but he can still kick some ass.”

    Pretty sure that is not just sad but in fact blasphemous. We are talking about God incarnate here.

    • Ben

      Glorifying God was not the point of the people who made it. Secondly, while I agree that “it is truly sad when the only time the masses are exposed to Jesus in any way it is in a spoof”, Christians like us need to look at ourselves in the mirror for that problem.

      • Jon

        I would agree with you and say part of looking in the mirror is saying why do we implicitly or explicitly condone this type of stuff.

        The point of the film makers was not to glorify God, which is a shame because that is mankind’s purpose.

        “For the Glory of God is man fully alive”

  • Erictt

    Maybe not “perfect satire,” but good satire, yes. Tarantino is the main
    target, and mindless historical fantasies more generally are too. See,
    for example, the recycled nonsense that if African slaves or European
    Jews or whomever had only been armed with guns, then we wouldn’t have
    had slavery or the Shoah or some other historical tragedy. Another
    target mentioned briefly in the skit was Mel Gibson’s The Passage of the
    Christ, which is taken as the same kind of revenge fantasy–and is
    criticized for it.

    In order for the satire to work, the skit
    assumes as a premise that Jesus cannot legitimately be thought of or
    presented in the way Tarantino (and Gibson) presents history. To do so
    would be comical and that’s what makes it so funny: it is absurd to
    imagine the real Jesus or the real message of the gospel is in any way
    compatible with a desire for ass-kicking revenge. Like all good satire,
    the skit exaggerates a cultural commonplace to the point of absurdity to
    show how distorted and twisted its perception really is.

    So
    there is nothing blasphemous about the line Jon mentions; it is mocking,
    not celebrating such a view. If the skit gives us a fantasy figure or a
    Jesus that never existed, again, it is to mock a desire for that kind
    of Jesus and, tacitly, to agree that such a figure is the opposite of
    the real thing. And, I think, the skit is able to do that precisely
    because, contra Jon, it assumes that the masses are in fact exposed to a
    very different understanding of Jesus so often that they will know the
    difference between the real thing and the caricature a Tarantino or a
    Gibson would create.

    • Jon

      I like your points, but I would question any edifying value in it. Maybe it is not blasphemous, but I wouldn’t show it in my church or to my kids and so I have to lean on the side of not promoting something of this nature. Thanks for the feedback I definitely get what your saying.

  • http://charityjilldenmark.wordpress.com/ Charity Jill Erickson

    I watched this skit on Saturday night with my husband, jaws dropped open in shock. I DO think that the sketch is perfect satire. It is not saying anything about “God incarnate,” as Jon says below; it is not blasphemous to critique the idolatrous image of god that American Christians have created for themselves, a God that sanctions violence. It’s (perhaps unintentionally) prophetic. I say right on.

  • Karen

    Charity says: “it is not blasphemous to critique the idolatrous image of god that American Christians have created for themselves, a God that sanctions violence. It’s (perhaps unintentionally) prophetic. I say right on.”

    I agree with Charity. This is not a spoof or satire on Jesus, Himself, but on elements in our American culture, so I don’t see it as blasphemous. What is blasphemous are teachings from professing Christians that tend to foster this image of Christ (especially seen in certain understandings of His Second Advent and the nature of both His temporal and His final judgment).

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  • Bart

    I found that, if not blasphemous, at least kind of tasteless and offensive; I got the joke, but I didn’t find it that funny beyond the premise. As usual with SNL, it was a 10-second idea presented over 2 minutes.

    When it comes to mainstream television parodies of movies featuring the death of Jesus, this 14 December 1996 Mad TV sketch, “The Greatest Action Story Ever Told”, is my favorite (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFrufPxjwX0) [violence, tasteful TV nudity]. Part of what I like about it is that Jesus is treated (IMHO) quite respectfully; the whole point of the sketch is the necessity of His sacrifice. And I find it really funny. YMMV.

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