Letter: Jesus the rebel

Sir: The decision of the Church Advertising Network to represent Jesus as a Che Guevara-style revolutionary ("The reverend revolutionaries", 7 January) misses the point.

According to the Christian tradition the revolutionary nature of the Christ event lies not in what Jesus did but in who he was - truly God and truly human. It is because the Church and the theological establishment were so willing to cave in to the rationalistic onslaughts against orthodox Christology that we are in the embarrassing position of trying to sell Jesus as some sort of macho revolutionary to a generation which has long abandoned faith in political revolutionaries and indeed macho culture.

The fact that Chris Bayfield can describe contemporary images of Jesus as representing him as a "bit of a poof" exposes once again the Church's inability to deal with homosexuality, which just might be linked with its failure to reflect with any seriousness upon the virgin birth, in which masculinity and indeed gender as a whole is fundamentally and revolutionarily reconfigured, with the birth of a male child from only female matter. Butching-up Jesus just undermines the mystery and revolutionary nature of the incarnation.

ELIZABETH STUART

Professor of Christian Theology

King Alfred's College

Winchester

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