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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun With Jesus




"'To each his own," said the old lady as she kissed the cow."

Another of my mother's famous sayings. She has approximately 695 angels in her house. She may have 600 or so actual angels, but that 's not what I'm taking about. I mean she has angel statues. The only rule, to begin with, was that it was a 'pretty' angel, not a glumpy looking wooden thing made out of old thread spools or petrified marshmellows. Now there are two rules. Any incoming angels have to be both pretty and 'unusual'. Truth be told, some of the new 'unusual' ones are not very pretty, but they are interesting enough to get past the pretty requirements.

While I enjoy her angel collection, I would never want to do that much dusting. I do enough pew dusting to not want to add any more dusting to my life. Although, with Sister Nicholas around, I could bring home the Sistene Chapel, and everything would be categorized and squeaky clean, not to mention rearranged, every week.

Today's question:
I think you should check out this Jesus puppet:

what are your thoughts? Is it sacrilegious? I think it's cute.


I can understand why you think it's cute. You must have been raised in the Muppet generation. When the Muppets came along, my mother was irritated that anyone would spend any time watching those ugly puppets. Most people think they are cute.

For me, the problem is not whether or not the Jesus puppet is cute.

The problem I am having is what happens when you actually 'play' with the Jesus puppet. That's where things are going to go horribly wrong.

1. You are going to have to say things Jesus said. While that is a good thing, I don't think it's really going to happen. It's going to be hard for you to 'play' with Jesus and not editorialize, paraphrase, modernize, add slang, etc. Who knows what claptrap you'll end up with.

2. You'll have to come up with some kind of puppet voice for Jesus. What will you do? A low voice? A high voice? Maybe you'll throw in an accent. Whatever you do, it will double the effect of the editorializing, paraphrasing, modernizing, slang, etc.

The idea of that thing flapping its puppet jaws with some puppet voice and trying to be Jesus just makes my cottage cheese go large curd.

Why do we feel the need to make Jesus cute, or our pal? I have a hunch about why. The things He had to say were radical, often offensive, to the people to which He was speaking. The things He asked us to do are just about impossibly difficult. Love your enemies. Has He never heard of 9-11? Apparently not.

Better to have Him out on the soccer field or all soft and felty on your hand, clapping His cardboard mouth up and down so the little kids know He's their buddy.

The "sports Jesus" line has always offended my, by the way. Just who's side is Jesus on here? Is the other kid a little Lutheran or something?

I understand the impetus to get Jesus out of the church and into your life in some immediate, relevant way. Poor old Jesus, His words and teachings are just not enough. He has to play golf.

But to each his own. Some of us like kissing cows.

27 comments:

Cassie said...

I've always found it rich when athletes thank Jesus for helping them win. There was a comedian who used to wonder why they never blamed him for losing, as in "Jesus made me fumble!"

Anna B. said...

Sister Mary Martha,

Who is the Patron Saint for patience... St Francis de Sale

Journey of Truth said...

Those statues of Sporting Jesus' are pretty strange, indeed! I agree, the puppet Jesus is taking Jesus too far. Too many potential problems with that.

Ouiz said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has problems with these figurines! (or the puppet... or the cuddle-up Jesus doll that I've seen in ads.... ugh...)

RadioPie said...

Oh Sister that was hilarious! Especially the part about the other kid being a lutheran! Let's just be happy they didn't give Jesus soccer cleats or a big foam "we're number one" finger.

Monica said...

Someone gave us a Jesus doll a while back, and I found my son putting handcuffs on him, leaving him out on the lawn under the sprinklers.... It does get a little dicey, doesn't it? Now he stays on the bed and is there in case anybody has bad dreams.

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

I appreciate your comments, your humor in this and totally agree!

MaggieClitheroe said...

Spot on Sister! These sporting images of Our Lord make me cringe too! (though I bet my young lad would love them! - when he was very little and afraid at night we used to get him to imagine that he was playing football (soccer) with his guardian angel, and that the child Jesus would come and join in! - I hope we haven't done untold damage ha ha!)

Anonymous said...

Having been raised with cows on farms all around, believe me I never wanted to kiss one! Nor would I relish the sporting figurines to dust (although dusting might be preferrable to the thought of kissing cows)... I wonder, though: given our present albeit whacko culture, how are the figurines viewed by the kids they are obviously intended to inspire? Just wondering...

MAB said...

I especially love the little karate girl with her jacket thingy opened half way down her chest!

The Jesus puppet scares me. Really.

paddy the papist said...

Well done sister Mary Marrano

what a merry dance you lead the poor V2 dupes.

Anonymous said...

The Jesus puppet could work, maybe, if it were part of a puppet show dramatizing a story from the Gospels. You would need some Pharisee puppets too, and maybe some lepers. Those would be big sellers, I'm sure. The Catholic bookstore where I live has a talking Jesus doll that says things from the Gospels. There are also Old Testament dolls. The Moses one just talks and talks! So much for Moses being slow of speech.

I think we have a picture of Jesus helping the boy at bat. I want the boys to remember that Jesus is with them at all times, and when they do sports, it's most important to be a GOOD sport. Try hard, treat the other team members with respect, etc. They should have a "Jesus helps you study" statue/picture. Just think of the temptations to cheat and plagarize He could help with!

Martha

Heather said...

We got our son the cuddly Jesus doll when he was having a spate of "afraid of the dark." It generally stays on his bed, but it did go with him to tap class (he was four). He doesn't play with it much at all.

The Jesus the Jock statues and the puppet are kind of weird, though. I'm with you there.

woolies said...

I didn't know that Jesus taught golf.....

Anonymous said...

Maybe the folks who don't like the Jesus figurines should have an iconoclasm party - a "bash", as it were. :)
There is a long history of debate over the propriety of portraying religious figures.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the rosaries with baseball, soccer balls
as beads-pretty tacky.

Debbie said...

Ack! I was going to leave a comment about those blasted sports rosaries. Hate 'em.

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Why have the makers of the Jesus puppet demoted him to Deacon?

Anonymous said...

I too am on the ranch with my cows all around. Their habit of sticking their tongue up their noses doesn't make them appealing to me for affection. That said I've seen 4H girls at the fair kissing, hugging and loving up their bovine many, many times.

I am actively looking for help. I need a patron saint for my daughter's college roommate. This is a beautiful child who was raised by a mother (very loose use of the word) who verbaly, emotionaly, spiritualy and psychologically abused her. I am desperate to find a novena and saints I can appeal to for this young woman. Anybody, PLEASE, who can guide me in this........

Sue B. said...

After reading your piece, I'm going to scrap my idea for a whole line of Jesus with the married couple figurines. They would have been great! But at the same time, Jesus having a beer with the husband while watching sports might not be the best teaching tool. Oh well.

Lisa said...

Anynymous, if I were you I'd go for the big guns: Mary, the Mother of God and mother-in-law of the church; Catherine of Sienna, whose parents didn't understand her; and Mary Magdalen, delivered from demons. Oooh, and St. Therese the Little Flower, whose mother died when she was four and who always counted more on Mary as a result. Bless you for taking this child under your wing!

dan e. said...

Sister, this might have been addressed before, but I missed it if so. Here in southern California we have a Sunday morning radio program called The Jesus Christ Show. No joke. There is some guy who is the host who refers to himself as "Your heavenly host" and he takes calls from people with problems they would like help with. The callers refer to him as Jesus. Like they are talking to the real Jesus. While I don't think "Jesus" gives the worst advice around, I am disturbed by the fact that some human being just like you or me (probably more like you, as I'm not all that knowledgable on subjects like these) is out there pretending to be Jesus. It's like he's the Jesus puppet without the puppet! Am I being overly sensitive about this?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lisa. I was thinking along the same lines. I need the big guns on this one. I don't understand how anyone gives birth to a beautiful child like this then treats her like dirt.

paddy the papist said...

Hey Dan e

Why bother asking Sister Mary Marrano?

This site, like so many others is not Catholic.

Learn more about Marranos

PraiseDivineMercy said...

Paddy, you are certainly not a "Papist" nor a Catholic. Rarely have I seen such a failure in charity from one who claims to be a member of Holy Church!

paddy the papist said...

I do realise that in the V2 Katholic Church of Moscow, which is a hippy church "all you need is love" and divine faith is not necessary.

According to the fairy popes it is not even necessary to be Catholic.

You should also learn that the Divine Mercy image and Divine Mercy devotion is still illegal.

The true devotion for these days when the Catholic Church is in eclipse is devotion to the Sacred Heart through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Faustina Kowalska was a deluded nun and the resulting devotion is in opposition to the prayers of the Angel of Fatima which was the greatest revelation ever given to the world from heaven since Pentecost Sunday.

Wojtyla and Ratzinger have tried to consign this message to history.

In order to eliminate this message from Our Lady of the Rosary, they even went so far as to stage an "assassination attempt" on the "pope". After all they had to explain that vision somehow.

All you need is love? No. First of all you need Faith,then Hope, then Love. Not the "love" which the world gives.

Have you ever heard of the Great Chastisement? When did it begin? When will it end?

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us.

dan e. said...

Hey paddy...I happen to like Sister Mary Martha and I want HER opinion. That's why I asked her. Your feelings towards her one way or the other do not negate her opinion, nor my desire to hear what she has to say.