What Jesus & Barney Have in Common.

Via Roger Wolsey
on Nov 14, 2012
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Source: Uploaded by user via Gil-Ann on Pinterest

Over the past year, our nation has been divided in ways that we haven’t seen seen since the Civil War.

For who knows what reason, just a few days before our recent election, the folks at CNN decided to add fuel to the fire.

They published a piece entitled, “Do you believe in a red state Jesus or a blue state Jesus?

The author shares how a factor in how our citizenry is divided is theology. As the author of a book that describes that very phenomenon, I don’t dispute that. But I wince at seeing such an article right before an election. I felt that inviting readers to take the “special quiz” that they provided was an act of theological terrorism; i.e., throwing an unholy hand-grenade into the living room of an anxious, grieving, war-weary nation that is suffering from collective PTSD and intentional acts of Super PAC sponsored polarization.

I took the quiz and as I predicted, I came out as believing in a “blue state Jesus.” But I found so many of the questions to not be either/or, but rather both/and! I was livid about the experience and for me it was the last straw.

When my feelings get moved, when someone steps on my theological toes, when someone pisses me off, I’ve come to learn that it’s best for me to channel things in poetry. I shared the following poem as part of my sermon this past Sunday, the Sunday after the election. I hope it can help unite us.


born with the dripping placenta from a young peasant’s womb,
my jesus is red

depressed with the wind knocked out of him when he learned that the head of his
cousin the baptist had been separated from it’s body,
my jesus is blue

blister-kissed too much by the sun from fasting in the wilderness for forty days to
prepare for his ministry with raw skin exposed,
my jesus is red

groaning with dismay and frustration that his disciples didn’t trust him about his
ability to raise lazarus, as well as grieving the death of his friend,
and turning his face toward faithless jerusalem with tears in his eyes,
my jesus is blue

blood flushing his face with veins twitching in righteous rage as he flipped over tables and
chased out the money changers from the courtyard of imperial puppet herod’s bogus
transactional religiosity, and kneeling in an olive grove with no one by his side,
praying so deep that blood rained down from his eyes,
my jesus is red

aching from the bruises of being flogged and beaten after being arrested,
my jesus is blue

his life-force draining from his side, head, hands and feet upon ceaser’s cruel cross,
my jesus is red

but more than that…

more than crimson and cobalt,
more than scarlet and navy,

my jesus wears the plum violet robes of a king
he wears the magenta hues of the heart of the torn temple veil
he wears the eggplant cloth that lydia sold,

my jesus is purple!

oh lovers of that magenta man from nazareth, let’s not wait until we’re old women to
wear it, let’s risk spilling the cup and dyeing our sleeves with the blended grape juice of communion

let us be the wine-stained body of christ!

P.S.  the results of the recent presidential election wasn’t actually “blue & red” either, it was purple.
See also: http://kryogenix.org/images/purple_map_2012.svg

Source: google.com via Kendra on Pinterest

Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


4 Responses to “What Jesus & Barney Have in Common.”

  1. gardenlilly says:

    Well, that was a bit sacriligeous, don't you think?

  2. ilyene says:


  3. Kate Southward says:

    Enjoyed reading your article thanks Roger, shocked that CNN published such an article too – anything for publicity though I suppose. I remember teaching some children not that long ago about the poignancy of the colour purple in christianity, I really like how you've drawn it together here. I think Jesus would like it too! Thanks for sharing, lv Kate x

  4. Roger Wolsey says:

    umm… well, I suppose the title could be construed that way, but I doubt if Jesus minds. That said, did you read the article? Was there anything in the textual content of it that you think was irreverent or offensive to the holy?