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For 2,000 years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus.
That has not stopped humanity’s imagination, or its yearning to draw Jesus as close as possible. So when this Christmas season brought a torrent of debate over whether Jesus was a white man, it struck a sacred nerve.
“That statement carries a whole lot of baggage,” said Rockwell Dillaman, pastor of the Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh. “Political baggage, spiritual baggage, emotional baggage. Especially in a culture like ours where the relations of white people to other ethnicities has often been marked by injustice and distrust.”
Why should we even care what Jesus looked like? If his message is God and love, isn’t his race irrelevant? Some say God wanted it that way, since there are no references to Jesus’ earthly appearance in the Bible.
But the debate was a reminder of just how difficult it is for anyone to transcend race — even a historical figure widely considered to be beyond human.
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