When free speech, art and religion collide controversy is seldom far from erupting. Through a talented 10 year old into the mix and it can go global over night. Such is the case of the Jason Potts the II. Jason is a ten-year old boy from Houston who created a piece for Xnihilo Gallery about the Jesus’ last walk with the cross. The image that young James created was a photo of a modern day police man beating a young boy. The idea was that the police man, like the roman soldier he represents, was just doing his duty in beating the innocent Jesus, represented by the young boy. It proved to powerful of an image and the Church that houses Xnihilo Gallery, asked for the photo to be removed. He replace it with a more palatable image of a boy (his brother who also played Jesus in the banned photo) holding an ornate cross. We want our crosses save, it seems.
The first image was too close to home. I wonder if Mr. Potts had simply used Old World imagery of a Roman Soldier and a stereotypical image of Jesus? Would the church have found the image offensive? Most likely not, and that is the trouble with burying the Gospel in history, it keeps the power of the Cross at arms length. Mr Potts saw this and created an image the brings the offense of the Cross home to us enlightened people of the 21 century. Our sin still mounts the innocents onto the cross as the crowd cheers on. Jesus carried his cross through the mud and dirt of life. He carried the cross through the jeers of the crowds, us. He faced the blows from human authority for the sake of what we humans think of as order, better safety than justice. Can we understand Easter without Good Friday. Our sins remain as Jesus asks us to pick up the cross and follow.
So what happened: A young child in Houston saw this and shot a photo to reveal his insight into the reality of the cross and the reality of life. Adults got offended. The photo came down, replace by a safe and cute photo. Jesus continues to ask us to follow, but will we follow when it leads to the cross? Will we continue to be offended?