Friday, 22 December 2006

Jesus Christ as Lord and King

Once upon a time, of course, teaching people to think of Christ as Lord and King made sense, because it enabled them to relate their religious life to their actual social practice, in which obedience, loyalty to and love for an actual lord and an actual king were real features of life. Now, though, for a Western democratic citizen ‘lord’ and ‘king’ signifies two things: antiquity and, like, the fact that Jesus is really really elevated, or something, but in a way that is, like, symbolic and ceremonial rather than in a way that wields actual power in the world. As ‘monarch’ becomes a more and more outdated title, and actual monarchs becomes more and more obviously token figures, this semantic field will work more firmly as a shaping power in diminishing the potency of people’s conceptualisations of Christ. I’m amazed the Christian churches haven’t jettisoned it.

But then again, with what could it be replaced? Is making oneself a slave of Christ so incompatible with modern emotional and intellectual sensibilities that the very notion of the mastery of Christ becomes corroded? What about--Christ the President and Billionaire? Christ the Capo di tutti capi? Christ the Celebrity?

Not a terribly Christmassy thought, really.

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