Jesus, Tupac, & Elvis

Friday, December 05, 2008
First, I like this picture of Tupac because he is giving the peace sign.  I'm not sure whether that's ironic, comedic, or just plain sad! Also he seems to be sucking on a sour patch kid...
Second, I guess we should explain what the crap we're doing with a series entitled "Jesus, Tupac, & Elvis: Dead, Alive, Does it matter..."  I think that in our culture stories that are overtold have a tendency to loose their punch (Shrek 3 anyone?).  However, the same narrative arc told with a fresh face has the tendency to shake up our preconcieved notions and force us to reexamine our values.  It's like the first time you hear Descartes propose that all of life is but a dream.  At first it messes with your head, but eventually you hear it enough and it passes into background noise.  But then you watch Vanilla Sky or The Matrix and it suddenly becomes real again and reawakens the emotions you felt the first time you considered it.

The story of Jesus can be like this.  It is so well known in our culture (although ususally I find we have only the barest sketch of the story the Bible tells, if we don't have it flat out wrong) that the truly incredible claims start to just turn into background noise.  I mean there are roughly a billion people in the world who walk around claiming to believe that 2,000 years ago a man lived, then died, was rotting away in a hole in the ground stinking something fierce for a couple of days then he got up and went right on living again.  As far as claims go that is ridiculous!

That's why we bring in the stories of Tupac and Elvis.  Men who were great in their time, suffered untimely deaths, and yet some people say they are still alive.  Elvis may not save anyone and Tupac certainly won't.  But perhaps the arc of their stories will bring us one step closer to the real story the Bible tells.  Of a man who was God-on-Earth who lived a perfect life, suffered, died a terrible death in our stead, and then got back up not just to walk around but to rule the universe as King.

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