The other side of Chocolate Jesus

OK, so I found mysself reconsidering the last post. Art, if it does what it is supposed to, draws the viewer or listener in to see/hear with new eyes/ears.

So, what could CJ (Chocolate Jesus) have to say? What associations does he make or imply? First, consider chocolate -- it is smooth, sweet, addictive, nourishing. What connections, then, to Jesus? Well, could believers use Jesus like some use chocolate? Is Jesus a way to smooth out our troubled minds, sweeten a life lived in bitterness, our daily fix that helps us make it through another day, food for our souls? Is our Jesus prepackaged and mass-marketed, like a candy bar?

What about the artist who sculpted CJ? Can a man who works so hard on something -- even if it is meant as a joke -- fail to find an attachment to his work? I myself once had the experience of setting out to write a song that was a parody of religious extremism, only to find that I had penned a still-moving ode to the Good Shepherd.

To what use would the sculpture be put? Would it be slavered over by the pruriently-inclined who are titillated by hsi anatomical correctness? Would it be gorged on by the gluttonous? Would it be hacked apart by a gleeful mob?

Or would it be hung in a quiet space to invite contemplation?

Most of my rethinking came when I searched the web for an image of the sculpture. I came across many instances of art that was intended as disrespectful -- not usually of Christ, but of his more fervent advocates. Consider Tom Waitt's song, "Chocolate Jesus." Or bobble-head Jesus. Or the "Jesus of the Week" website? CJ has nothing on these bits of sacrilege.

On a Friday in the ancient world, a man was beaten, stripped and hung to die to the delight of his enemies. That death has been rendered in oil, pastel, charcoal, acetate, wood, marble, hymn, chant, rock and now chocolate. As I gaze upon the placid face of this man, now rendered in earthy tones of a beloved food, I may contemplate this man, who gave himself as food for the ages, and who feeds us still.

Regardless of what the artist may have intended.