The Millenial Gospel
February 3, 2014 5:37 PM   Subscribe

If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project, complete with meta essays, headcanons, and playlists. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock." In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers.
posted by divabat (18 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

It's not canon!
posted by uosuaq at 6:00 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

"Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. Then saith the damsel, He is a very obscure prophet. Thou likely haven't heard of him."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:01 PM on February 3 [28 favorites]

Does anyone have the link for that brilliant post about the Jesus show, the one that was on LJ or JournalFen and explained the history of Christianity in fandom terms?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:04 PM on February 3

The Bible as Fanwank and Flamewars!
posted by heyforfour at 6:09 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]

The Boomer Bible is a brilliant work, deeply insightful, heavily cross-referenced, funny and sad and oddly prophetic.. I don't even know if R.F. Laird is an actual person or a collective.

This... is something else entirely. But somehow, it feels like it is in the same vein. Perhaps every era gets the secular-ish Bible-ish media creation they require or deserve.

And now, dammit, I find I want to put on a production of Godspell. *sigh*
posted by hippybear at 6:53 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

Oh shit, Jesus is a hipster. Now I know why I abandoned that line of thinking.

Although I find it hard to disagree with "The first will be last and the cats will be first."
posted by janey47 at 6:54 PM on February 3

It's like Godspell for the new millennium. Except without the toe-tapping tunes. omg, my rosary nail art is, like, totally subverting the paradigm yo!
posted by the sobsister at 7:17 PM on February 3

How is this any different than just Christian pop culture in general?
posted by symbioid at 7:17 PM on February 3

A friend of mine last week was complaining mildly about all these transgressive adaptational works that seem to have a certain amount of 'use your first initial and month of birth to find your identity markers' and I'm reasonably sure she used the phrase 'hijabi punk' as an example.

Not that there are not hijabi punks around, but that it's got a certain aura of 'what's the most transgressive thing I can think of' boundaried by middle-class landscapes jammed into whatever canon they're fucking with.

Ha! I remember now, it was about a Frozen fanfic prompt-bunny.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:30 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

geek anachronism: heh, I asked them about their logic of having Mary Magdalene being a hijabi punk activist type, considering she doesn't even exist in Islamic canon and Islam's about 600+ years after Christianity anyway, and their response to me annoyed me so much I ended up ranting about it.
posted by divabat at 7:43 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]

(also tangent: I would strongly suggest that your friend not check out the #magicqueers tag on tumblr, unless she wants to see a Harry Potter version of what she describes and get a headache from it. actual example: "agender amab queer punk Harry Potter and genderfluid afab Veela Draco Malfoy". she might appreciate this rant though.)
posted by divabat at 7:52 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

from About The Project: "The aim here is to preserve the original stories and the personalities who inhabit them while asking the big questions, like “What if Jesus was a punk social activist and John the Baptist was an Appalachian revival preacher?"

So, those are the big questions. I'd been wondering. Because putting Jesus and Co. in an alternate universe and having them take on hipsterish personae seems about as meaningful as those DC Imaginary Stories in which Lois was the super-character or Batman married and was a henpecked husband.

As hippybear (who, I saw too late, first invoked Godspell) noted, every era gets its own secular Bible. I'd hoped that the next iteration after hippie-clown-Jesus would be something more meaningful? less mundane? than "John pens Revelation while trying to work through his fifth year of a bachelors in literature." And how did they leave out "John, a het/cis male, pens Revelation..."?

Also, intersectionality, maaan.
posted by the sobsister at 8:20 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]

Nice response, divabat. My internet experience dates back to when you could pretty safely assume anyone else on the net was an american male with at least a minor in computer science. Seeing a bengali malaysian woman give her lived experience of Islam on that same internet is pretty great.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:49 PM on February 3

I often wish I knew more about the extra-canonical and apocryphal scriptures, but yeah: they often seem to be motivated by the same things that drive fans to write about What Happened to Hermione After?, or The Backstory of Neville. And in some of them, the narrator is very obviously Mary Sue and gets to talk to angels or whatever but be told that the rest of the world Is Not Worthy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:10 PM on February 3

what the hell does "headcanon" mean?
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:42 AM on February 4

Sometimes an official story will leave some part of its universe unexplicated, either because it's unimportant to the story at hand, because it's best implied, because it can't be easily explained in the medium of the work, or even to give the reader/viewer the opportunity to fill in the blanks himself. The answers a reader comes up with in his head to fill in those blanks is his headcanon. Sometimes, a fanfic will explain and explore that headcanon."
posted by JHarris at 12:45 AM on February 4

So, those are the big questions. I'd been wondering. Because putting Jesus and Co. in an alternate universe and having them take on hipsterish personae seems about as meaningful as those DC Imaginary Stories in which Lois was the super-character or Batman married and was a henpecked husband.

In the mid-90s there was a poorly thought out comic crossover between the Marvel/DC lines that merged characters. It was called Amalgam. You ended up with like, a Batman/Wolverine combination.

It might be cool to have like a Jesus/Vishnu combination.

Also, Paradise Lost is the best Fanfic.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:13 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]

what the hell does "headcanon" mean?

It's like what's on Samus's arm, but for a face.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:40 AM on February 4

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