Although I'm pretty much a garden-variety atheist, count me squarely with the "shitcan it" camp on the Jesus of the Week question. At its best, this new feature is just another (yawn) style-without-substance trifle that only other hipper-than-thou types will "get."
At its worst (which it usually is), it's mean-spirited and hateful, meant to make a category of people uncomfortable. I don't like it for the same reason I don't have some silly-ass Darwin plaque on my car--I don't think it's real cool to hurt somebody's feelings for sport.
Oops! Does that mean I believe in something?
Speaking as a born-again Baptist, I must say I am appalled at the lack of understanding and humor displayed by my fellow believers regarding the Jesus of the Week business.
Dr. Francis S. Schaeffer (The God Who Is There, etc.) and his son have published book-length critiques of Christian kitsch that make anything Jesus of the Week has shown us seem mild in comparison. Modern mainstream Christian art and music are really quite awful, especially when compared to the cutting-edge and engaging works of centuries ago--this is the shameful reality, not that someone is holding up bad Christian imagery as an object of fun. Personally, I find Jesus of the Week to be quite amusing, albeit a bit tame--has Peter Gilstrap never visited the American South? The sheer magnitude of some of the horrible examples there beggars description.
To Gilstrap's credit, he did include one of my personal bad Jesus pictures, that of Christ knocking on the U.N.--please. I can see Jesus going in with a whip made of knotted ropes and clearing out that den of thieves, but that hideously bland image of the ninety-foot baa-lamb...well, never mind.
As far as bad art from other faiths goes--I've been all over the world, and let me tell you, bad Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, etc., art abounds. At least the Muslims have the good sense to take the Ten Commandments seriously when it says "no graven images."
Again, I implore my Christian brethren to stop taking themselves so seriously. This is good fun. If you can't appreciate the silliness of it all, then get a better education in the bases of your own faith.
Keep up the good work, Peter Gilstrap; you haven't even scratched the surface yet.
Peter F. Johnson
I realize there is probably some talent behind Jesus of the Week, but it's lost amid the sludge of bad taste. Maybe Hustler or another quality publishing company would be interested in such garbage.
via the Internet
This is in response to all the high-and-mighty Christians out there who obviously believe their religion is beyond ridicule and criticism. As an atheist, I find it very rare to see my beliefs supported in this Judeo-Christian society. Everyone from the President to our own Governor is a card-carrying Christian--I find this horrifying and sickening. Every time I turn around in this city, everything is closed for either some stupid mind-numbing sport (i.e., football) or yet another Christian-based holiday. If the city is going to shut down for Easter, then the city needs to shut down for Yom Kippur, Yule, Candelmas and every other pagan, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Islamic religious day.
One of the few reliefs I get from this Christian-based society is Peter Gilstrap's column. I won't threaten Westword with the same idle words that Christians would, e.g., "If you stop printing Jesus of the Week, I'm going to stop reading your paper." There's more to this paper than one single column. If the Christians in this city don't want to read Jesus of the Week, they can pay 25 cents for the News and get the Christian propaganda comic Family Circle. I think I'll stick with the free, open-minded and tasteful paper--without the Christian fluff.
via the Internet
I understand that many of your readers are enraged by a feature known as Jesus of the Week. They insist that you cease publishing something that they personally find offensive. I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that there was something in this country called freedom of speech. And yet something else known as freedom of the press. If you don't like a column, a cartoon, a story, a movie review or what have you, you have the right to not read it. But you do not have the right to prevent me from being able to read it.
I was born and raised Catholic, and yet I do not find Mr. Gilstrap's weekly contribution offensive. I find it to be often clever and occasionally tasteless. However, the Bible itself preaches you should turn the other cheek. I cannot for the life of me recall any passage of the Bible that calls for believers to censor secular publications that they find offensive. Maybe I missed that particular verse...