Monday, May 01, 2006

Peace takes courage

Ava Lowry, a 15 year old girl from Alabama, has produced a series of powerful animations. One of them, WWJD?, is disturbing, but in a way that we need to face. Essentially, it has pictures of war, war on children, pictures that our mainstream media carefully shields us from, juxtaposed against children singing "Jesus Loves Me." This animation is chilling. It's chilling in the same way Stephen Colbert's routine made everyone uncomfortable. It exposes the contradictions, it unsettles our taken for granted notions of how things are, it questions our very sources of information and truth.

Here's the link to her animations. I particularly recommend the WWJD? one and the one called The 32%, which just lists some of the comments she's gotten from conservatives who don't like her movies. Warning: the first one has graphic images and the second has graphic words (the kind you expect from the same folks who send death threats to Cindy Sheehan and the Dixie Chicks; they're probably the same set who professes to be pro-life and then murders doctors).

Asking conservatives what Jesus would do is always important. No matter what you believe about the divinity of Jesus, I think we can all agree that he had some pretty powerful and important ideas. Unfortunately, mainstream Christianity, particularly conservative Christianity, has gotten away from his quite radical message. Reminding people of Jesus the man, his teachings, and the Bible itself is an important act. We must do it kindly, not straight up telling people "you are being so unChristian!" But we must challenge people to rise to their better natures, to think critically, to pay attention, to link their faith with their actions in the world, including their politics.

It's funny, because Jesus came with this radical message that upset the current, conservative religious order. His followers have today become the conservative religious order. Who will follow in Jesus' footsteps to question and challenge them?

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