ironic isn’t it? look at what we’ve done to the man who refused to conform his ideals to popular taste, who refused to compromise his integrity. we have put him in a tiny box and asked you to copy him. so the choice is yours ladies, you can conform to what other people expect or you… ~katherine watson in mona lisa smile, referencing the painter vincent van gogh.
funny that i didn’t think of van gogh when i heard this, i thought of jesus. couldn’t this be said of him?
didn’t jesus refuse to conform to the ideals of his culture, to the popularity of his time?
didn’t jesus refuse to compromise his integrity?
didn’t jesus stand by what he said?
didn’t jesus appear to be bigger than the tiny box the religious leaders of his day tried placing him in?
but we do the same. we place jesus in some little box…
a box that conforms to our ideals of who we’ve constructed jesus to be,
a box that ties in nicely with our religious views, of what we’ve deemed christianity to be,
a box that allows us to understand who jesus is,
a box that allows us to control this image of jesus,
a box that we can fit in as well.
and we ask others to comform to him.
i guess the question is yours, as well as mine:
will i conform to the image others have set of jesus or…
will i conform to the image others have set of me or…
will i allow jesus to be who he really is…and allow myself the same.
at the close of the movie mona lisa smile (from which the above quote is taken), betty (warren) jones says of her professor and mentor, katherine watson,
not all who wander are aimless, especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.
i’m sure others thought of jesus as wandering, failing to be the messiah they had envisioned.
but he wasn’t wandering aimlessly.
jesus was, instead, seeking truth beyond tradition…and beyond the religious tradition of his day.
jesus was seeking truth beyond definition…not allowing others to define who he was, what he was about, and what he came to offer.
jesus was seeking truth beyond the image…the image of what others expected him to be.
…being true, instead, to who he was.