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Nov 21 2013

Boykin: Jesus Was Manly and Sweaty

Christians believe that God made man in his image, but I think the opposite is true — we make gods in our own image. So if we see ourselves as overwhelmingly manly and tough, as so many men like to see themselves, we project those traits onto those we worship. Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin provides a rather silly example:

During his speech, Boykin told the male audience that Jesus was not the weak, effeminate, “feminized” figure taught in church today but was really a ripped, tough, strong “man’s man” who smelled bad!

As Boykin explained, Jesus was a carpenter and stone mason for most of his life, which required him to be constantly lifting heavy pieces of wood and stone. All this lifting, in turn, meant that Jesus had calluses on his hands and “big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, [and] strong shoulders.”

“He was a man,” Boykin said. “He was a man’s man, but we feminized him in the church … He was a tough guy and that’s the Jesus that I want to be like. That’s the side that I want to be like. But we’ve feminized Jesus in the church and the men can’t identify with him anymore; not the kind of men that I want to hang out with, they can’t identify with this effeminate Jesus that we’ve tried to portray. He was a tough guy. He was a man’s man.”

There’s pretty much nothing in the gospels to support that claim, of course, other than the story of his temper tantrum aimed at the temple money changers (temper tantrums are viewed by people like Boykin as very, very manly). I find it amusing how luridly he describes Jesus’ sweaty body, but I dare not speculate on the psychological origin of such thinking.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    Abby Normal

    He sounds like a fan boi complaining about Affleck being cast as Batman.

  2. 2
    colnago80

    Well, in fact, Yeshua ben Yusef of Nazareth was a carpenter who assisted his father in manufacturing furniture which involved using axes, saws, and planes to shape the wood and hammers to pound in nails. Such folks, in the days before the invention of electric tools would naturally tend to develop musculature and probably sweat a lot.

    Of course, even worse, he is depicted as a Nordic type fellow. Middle east Jews don’t look anything like Northern Germans or Scandinavians.

  3. 3
    colnago80

    Re Abby Normal @ #1

    Or even worse, Tom Cruise being cast as Jack Reacher.

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    I do love it when the “protest FAR too much” anti-gay bigots use such homoerotic language to describe Jesus.

  5. 5
    Doug Little

    Sounds like he wants Jesus to lift his luggage.

  6. 6
    richardelguru

    “Smelled bad”???
    If there was a person that the gospels are based on, surely, in the cultural environment of the first century, with Romans and Greeks and Essenes scrubbing and scraping and dunking themselves for all they were worth, this is a trifle unlikely.

  7. 7
    MikeMa

    Finding such serious fault with the church could hurt Boykin’s chances for sainthood methinks.

  8. 8
    ospalh

    @2: “Middle east Jews”:
    The BBC did a few articles about that about a decade ago, like this one.

  9. 9
    John Hinkle

    If Jesus was so manly, instead of saying “He who is without sin cast the first stone”, he would’ve gone all medieval on their asses. Then again, that would’ve made him an anachronism.

  10. 10
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    Meh. Boykin’s not saying anything new. Macho Jesus has been a popular figure in America since Billy Sunday gave up baseball for the pulpit, if not earlier.

  11. 11
    dingojack

    Ed wrote: “… but I dare not speculate on the psychological origin of such thinking.”

    Methinks that ‘Little Boy’ has been watching a lot of ’70s’ Philippino gay porn – purely for ‘educational’ purposes (*wink wink*)
    Dingo

  12. 12
    Modusoperandi

    To be fair, He was pretty manly. Spending all His time with a select group of dudes. Flowing robes. Expensive rubbing oils. Wine. Picnics. A lavish brunch on His last day.

  13. 13
    zippythepinhead

    I read somewhere that when he was 9 years old, Jesus wrestled a bear.

  14. 14
    Synfandel

    So, basically, Vladimir Putin with long hair, a beard, and loose robes.

  15. 15
    Pierce R. Butler

    Godwin be damned:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. .. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.” — A. Hitler [speech, April 12 1922, published in My New Order]

  16. 16
    dugglebogey

    I’m betting everyone 2000 years ago smelled bad. Even homosexuals.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    dugglebogey writes:

    I’m betting everyone 2000 years ago smelled bad. Even homosexuals.

    Many cultures in the Americas promoted cleanliness. To the point some American cultures’ reaction to the first Europeans was how bad they smelled and how dirty they were. Cite: The book 1491.

  18. 18
    Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath “Many cultures in the Americas promoted cleanliness. To the point some American cultures’ reaction to the first Europeans was how bad they smelled and how dirty they were. Cite: The book 1491.”
    Well, sure. On the other hand: no smallpox immunity.

  19. 19
    matty1

    @2 and 8

    I think the European depiction of Jesus a white dude is more down to a tendency of all cultures to depict their gods as like them. Ethiopian Jesuses (Jesi?) are depicted as black Ethiopians and the Ethiopian church is one of the oldest.

  20. 20
    RickR

    I do gay male erotic art as a hobby, and not even I obsess about “big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, [and] strong shoulders” like Boykin does.

    Hmmm.

  21. 21
    hunter

    Well, that gives me a good take on why those twelve guys were so eager to hang out with him.

    Not to mention all the kissing going on at the end.

  22. 22
    hunter

    Modus @18 –

    In fact, the early Church discouraged bathing because it was a pagan custom.

  23. 23
    bahrfeldt

    Officers and men. Not the same thing. Sorry, just a flashback to my enlisted days.

    Boykin is expressing an attitude toward Jesus similar to that which many heterosexual Republican males have regarding female swimsuit models. Lengthy discourses regarding their lingering “admiration” of physical attributes but ignoring or denying anything to do with personality, beliefs and statements that do not agree with their bigoted preconceptions.

  24. 24
    andrew

    big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, [and] strong shoulders

    And does that … does that give you an erection? ‘Cause that’s kinda the vibe I’m getting here.

  25. 25
    democommie

    Jerry is a man’s man and if he sez JESUS (whether the apocryphal carpenter or the 900′ tall, lazerz shootin’ out his eyes vengeful SON-OGOD) was a Son of Man’s man, well, that’s good enough for THIS man’s man.

  26. 26
    lpetrich

    I like to call it Xenophanes’s Law, after the one who first pointed it out about 2500 years ago. Not much of his writings have survived, but here are some of the survivals:

    10(11) Homer and Hesiod have attributed to the gods
    everything that is blameworthy and disgraceful among humans
    ­ theft and adultery and mutual trickery.

    12(14) … but humans suppose that gods have been born
    and wear clothes like theirs and have voice and body.

    13(15) But if or cows or lions had hands
    to draw with their hands and produce works of art as men do,
    horses would draw the figures of gods like horses
    and cows like cows, and they would make their bodies
    just as the form which they each have themselves.

    14(16) Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black,
    and Thracians that theirs have blue eyes and red hair.

    Thrace is north of Greece, roughly present-day Bulgaria.

    Xenophanes of Colophon

  27. 27
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Boykin, it’s time to come out of the closet.

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