When you view this image what do you see? What does it make you feel?
Do you know what this piece of art is? Have you seen it before?
When I asked a room of high school kids at a church conference what they thought of this piece, they said things like,
Those are all true things. Those are all way this piece of art made them feel.
Does it change if you know that this is Piss Christ by Andres Serrano? Does it change how you feel to know that this is a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in the artists urine?
Does it? Why?
You still had those feelings upon first look. Those students still had their feelings. Why does it change? Why does the medium change the message? Or is, like Marshall McLuhan said, the medium the message itself.
And what does the medium say? You have a choice.
You can continue to feel the same things.
Many have chosen to hate the image, fight against it, threaten the artist, and even vandalize it.
But what does it say, and does it actually say anything worthy of such hatred? Christ on the cross subjected himself to the sin of humanity, he took all of our sin upon himself and submerged himself (if you will pardon the metaphor) into the nastiness of human degradation. That is true. That is a 100% Christian belief.
So you have a choice.
You can choose to see the piece of work as blasphemy.
Or you can choose to see it as a beautiful and powerful image of Christ’s sacrifice. Serrano has created an image of an impossible act. He has captured the beauty and suffering, the holiness and degradation, the purity and filth in one image.
What I find interesting is that Christians are the ones who have spoken so loudly against this piece of art. They had a choice and they chose to see urine and filth. They ignored the medium and the message. They ignored and silence the message that Christ willingly sunk himself into the piss of our sin. We can see mockery or we can see grace. We can choose to see degradation or degradation made holy.
You have a choice.