That’s What I See

Two images have been seared in my mind these past few days. Both are scandalous, although for differing reasons.

The image of George Floyd…

…and the image of President Trump.

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The contrast between the two is stark. The image of Floyd’s death comes to us raw, unfiltered, even a bit “grainy” as it was a moment captured by a nearby observer. The image of President Trump is crystal clear in its definition, properly footnoted as an AP photo, a carefully curated piece of political propaganda. We see George Floyd in his black tank top and the President in his suit and tie. Floyd’s hands are behind his back; Trump’s hand holds up a Bible. And the images emerge to us from their contexts: we see one man being pinned to the ground by law enforcement officials until he passes out and, ultimately, dies; we see another man whose security detail forcibly pushes back peaceful protesters in order for this photo to be secured.

These two images are more than the latest grist for our insatiable cable news echo chambers. These pictures might very well be Rorschach tests that reveal to us the condition of our souls.

Which image is an allegory for the image of Christ? The triumphalistic commander-in-chief? Or the incarcerated criminal?

What do you feel when you look at these pictures?

(If you’re tempted to roll your eyes and write me off as simply propagating the political ideology of “the other side” — the side which you oppose — I want to say that I’ve long since renounced partisan politics, at least the bifurcated iterations of “conservative” and “liberal” which seem to dominate the political landscape of this country. I often feel alienated from both parties, so I feel no compulsion to defend or destroy either side. I neither idolize nor demonize.)

My greatest interest at this point in my life is to preach Christ crucified. Which is why these images are so important to me.

One image reminds me of Christ; the other of anti-Christ.

That’s what I see.

This entry was posted in Culture, Faith, Jesus, Politics, Race, Social Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to That’s What I See

  1. Amber Owens says:

    This is bold, and I love it. Thank you.

  2. T Kent Pendergrass says:

    I guess my eyes aren’t that wide open on either end. For one picture I see two men who need Jesus in a broken world. In the other, I see the Hypocrite-in-Chief and it breaks my heart that Christians lift him up as representing us.

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

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