The Transforming Power Of Christ
July 17, 2021 8:50 PM   Subscribe

 
I'd work up some version of the Transfiguration, but I don't know enough about Transformers to do it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:02 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Oh my goddddddd my theology nerd network is falling down on the job BUT I now get to forward this to all of them.

Still giggling.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


A+ post title
posted by rogerroger at 9:09 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


🎶"Transformers, zealots in disguise"🎶
posted by Zedcaster at 9:18 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Christ, what a mecha.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:41 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I mean, like all 80s action figures Mecha Christ has joints articulated with small metal screws, but the placement of this screw is pure genius.
posted by Superilla at 9:41 PM on July 17 [17 favorites]


Optimus Christ.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:07 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


See, I always thought that Christ's message was supposed to do the opposite of this.

I guess I should keep studying...
posted by coolxcool=rad at 10:47 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I thought the God Armor made the body strong but the spirit weak
posted by cali at 11:36 PM on July 17


It's sacrilicious!

Like there is a killjoy part of me that thinks a symbol of a tragedy - a reminder that even God is mortal and some people will do anything to keep the poor in the dirt - probably shouldn't transform into a symbol of invincible violence, but then I think that the people who made Mecha Jesus probably were ignorant of the subtext and were just making a surprising mecha that used Catholic themes the way one might use, say, a dinosaur.

(And it's not like the subtext of Jesus on the Cross is routinely subverted by Christians embarrassed that their god is not a strongman smiting their enemies.)
posted by Merus at 12:40 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


The little whispered "amen!" at the end is killing me!
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:59 AM on July 18 [10 favorites]


If I could select an object to be teleported 500 years back in time so as to be randomly discovered - then this would be my choice.
posted by rongorongo at 1:58 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


Poe's Law has me wondering to what extent this is Buddy Jesus-style sacrilegious bulldada and to what it is the sort of artefact of violently-American Christianity one might find in a deep-red-state Wal-Mart next to the crusader children's costumes.
posted by acb at 2:53 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


This has absolutely made my day. It's hilarious!
posted by freethefeet at 3:42 AM on July 18


Aahahaha there are STL files!! My husband has a 3D printer and said "If you reeeally want, I could print one for you" (as he sighs and shakes his head)
posted by freethefeet at 3:46 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


See, I always thought that Christ's message was supposed to do the opposite of this.

Well, he doesn’t have a weapon. Maybe it’s an armored EVA suit for the Harrowing of Hell?

There’s also the Armor of God metaphor out of Ephesians, but the mecha misses a couple of salient bits.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:11 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Christ, what an ... Robot?
posted by rikschell at 5:05 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I mean, like the poster says in a tweet below, it's not clear that this is really blasphemous! See, e.g., The Dream of the Rood where the cross is basically described as a co-warrior of Jesus.
posted by damayanti at 5:14 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


It looks sacrilegious to me, and I'm not Christian by belief or background. This presumably means I don't understand the culture.

From my point of view, the issue isn't the violent, superpowered Jesus, it's the body separated into manipulable pieces.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:41 AM on July 18


Sure it's blasphemous. Sometimes you need a little light blasphemy. Lots of religions have done plenty of good in the world, but there's an element to most of them where somebody made up a lie and said "you have to believe this ridiculous thing or you're evil and should be ostracized or killed" and that's a soap bubble that should be poked with a needle now and then. Nothing wrong with a little light blasphemy.
posted by clawsoon at 5:53 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


I almost edited my comment to replace "blasphemous" with "sacrilegious" after looking up their precise definitions, but then I decided to poke a needle into the soap bubble of grammatical religion, too. Ha-Ha, I am poking all of the bubbles today! Ha-Ha!
posted by clawsoon at 5:56 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


"Jesus Christ I dig and I dug him a long time before you weirdos turned him into a super star mecha."
posted by jabah at 6:00 AM on July 18


From my point of view, the issue isn't the violent, superpowered Jesus, it's the body separated into manipulable pieces.

We're talking about the same religion where the bodies of various saints seem to have been routinely split up into various holy reliquaries and distributed around to different churches or monasteries or whatever? Where the faithful (symbolically) eat a small piece of the body of Christ each Sunday?
posted by eviemath at 6:54 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Sometimes you need a little light blasphemy, as a treat
posted by The otter lady at 7:56 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


The angle of one of the first photos made it look like this is also Titty Jesus and if I did not already have a million other things to do I would consider downloading the files and editing it and making my own Mecha Titty Jesus.
posted by egypturnash at 8:04 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Christ on the cross is a pretty Catholic thing; Protestants prefer the empty cross, showing the God has risen. And Catholics have a pretty casual and familiar relationship with the physical artifacts of their faith, most particularly including statues. Like, if you put a Santa hat on Jesus at Christmas, that's wrong and bad and you should probably feel bad, but also most Catholics will laugh because it's funny. The blasphemous thing that pisses off Catholics is when you mess with the communion host or the sacramental wine, or you put on a parody of the Mass.

For Catholics, statues, including crucifixes, are not themselves holy; they merely point to something holy to assist you in your contemplation. You'd be surprised by the frequency with which Catholics just toss a wall crucifix into a drawer and forget it's there, or have a pile of statues sitting on the floor of a closet, or have a bunch of rosaries tangled in the bottom of a purse with the Cheerios crumbs, because they are just things and they are not in themselves holy. So Catholicism has an extremely rich folk art tradition, which both includes very humble works of religious art made of unusual materials -- I am particularly fond of saints medals made of discarded circuit boards as a contemporary example -- but also kind of silly and wacky religious art that it is okay to laugh about.

Keep in mind that Catholics are also the people who, if you pray to Saint Anthony and he doesn't find your thing quick enough, you move the picture of Jesus that his statue likes to look at so that he can't see it, and you don't give it back to him until he finds your lost item. And the people who, when they're trying to sell a house, bury a statue of Joseph upside down in the yard of the house and then dig him up and put him in a place of honor in the new home (which is considered totally normal and not at all blasphemous).

Anyway, I'm with the guy who said it's not necessarily blasphemous, it's a surprising visual metaphor. Here's the dying God on the cross, and then that transforms into an all-powerful, living God cloaked in the armor of the Father God's glory. And using the language of current popular culture, which is something Catholicism has always done.

But if it is blasphemous, it's still the funny kind of blasphemous, where you can be a little bit scandalized but still laugh because it's hilarious. And because part of the point of Jesus is that God lived as a human and therefore knows the totality of human experience, jokes are okay. Even Jesus tells jokes in the Bible! It's okay to laugh at things that are the funny kind of blasphemous, you can still be very holy and contemplative when you go to Mass, and if you think you laugh too hard at the funny blasphemy, you can always go to Confession. (However chances are good that if you go confess to the priest that you laughed about the Mecha Jesus, that was maybe kind of blasphemous but also was a transformer? He's going to laugh in the confessional when you tell him this, because it's funny!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:17 AM on July 18 [40 favorites]


Like there is a killjoy part of me that thinks a symbol of a tragedy - a reminder that even God is mortal and some people will do anything to keep the poor in the dirt - probably shouldn't transform into a symbol of invincible violence, but then I think that the people who made Mecha Jesus probably were ignorant of the subtext and were just making a surprising mecha that used Catholic themes the way one might use, say, a dinosaur.
"There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe we might have rethought that choice."

― Kazuya Tsurumaki on Neon Genesis Evangelion
posted by brook horse at 8:19 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Back in the late 80’s I made a wall clock. It’s Jesus on the cross and his arms are the hands of the clock. He’s still on the wall signaling the passage of time. I’m not Catholic, I just like playing with religious iconography.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:45 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


What is this fan fiction?
Jesus was a Godobot, not a Disciplicon.
posted by Arson Lupine at 8:59 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


This is my favorite piece of Christian art since Boris Vallejo's body builder Jesus painting.
posted by subtle_squid at 9:22 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The Patibulum Punch of Christ compels you!
posted by detachd at 9:31 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The blasphemous thing that pisses off Catholics is when you mess with the communion host or the sacramental wine, or you put on a parody of the Mass.

Would this imply that Black Masses are only a thing in Catholic Satanism, and Satanists of a Protestant background would be less inclined to go for them?
posted by acb at 9:40 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


"Would this imply that Black Masses are only a thing in Catholic Satanism, and Satanists of a Protestant background would be less inclined to go for them?"

This is absolutely true -- there's a rich literature in Catholic societies about Black Masses (real or imaginary, mostly imaginary), and almost none in Protestant societies. Protestants typically preferred Catholic bogeymen, or witches.

So I can't speak super-well to the actual history of it (more to the literature about it), and there's this whole post-Enlightenment thing with Black Masses in France that I'm aware exists but don't know much about, that had to do with the long, slow process of secularizing French political culture -- and I have no idea how much of that was literary and how much was "things people actually did." BUT in my lifetime, people stealing communion hosts and/or performing "Black Masses" are almost without exception teenagers rebelling against Catholic parents in the most direct and offensive way they can think of. There are a few exceptions with groups staging "actual" Black Masses for publicity, which tends to work pretty well as a PR stunt!, but they're not usually shocking and the news footage always looks like a poorly-attended political rally or a dull play with gothic costumes. Painting a swastika on the side of a church tends to be a hell of a lot more offensive and shocking.

In the world of "blasphemous" art, the Satanic Temple in Chicago applied for a spot in the Illinois State Capitol building holiday display, and was granted it, and put up this statue of a hand holding up an apple with a snake twined around it, saying "knowledge is the greatest gift." I thought this was splendid -- as did a lot of other Christian theologians and pastors, although of course the predictable evangelical freak-outs for the media ensued. Like, that is fantastic! They're taking a Judeo-Christian narrative about the tree of knowledge, using its symbology, and flipping it on its head, by making the apple good, the wise snake a helper, and the knowledge coming from a human hand rather than a divine one. It's a direct, deep conversation about one of the key mytho-stories underlying Judaism and Christianity -- a conversation with 5,000 years of history featuring some of the greatest minds in Western history, and here we're plunking that debate down right in the rotunda of the Illinois statehouse! Like, sure, it's "blasphemous" in a technical sense, but this is like, if you're Christian, you should want everyone talking about and debating the meaning of the story of the tree of knowledge! This is great stuff! This is how you get people contemplating things and pondering them and finding deeper answers!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:09 AM on July 18 [29 favorites]


I got in trouble with my classmates, not with the Jesuit teachers, but when I used thermochromic paint to make toys for Catholic kids. Rub little Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin‘s mantle with a rose bunch shaped sponge soaked in warm water and the Virgin of Guadalupe appears. I planned a whole series including Virgin on Toast.

Like I said, the Jesuits were OK with it and found it funny, my very Catholic aunts thought it was cute, my little cousins loved it. It was my classmates in college who were offended on behalf of the true believers and who raised a stink.

The one that never left the sketchbook was the lunchable communion.
posted by Dr. Curare at 10:12 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Shouldn't that take three days to transform?
posted by TheDonF at 10:15 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Sometimes you need a little light blasphemy, as a treat

I recommend it as palate cleanse between courses of particularly rich heresy.
posted by thivaia at 10:41 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


As to the Black Mass... Since it requires consecrated hosts, a real Catholic priest in some way or the other must be involved. JK Huysmans in his novel Down There (La-Bas) depicts the Satanist scene in Paris in the late 1800's. The book ends with a Black Mass based on one Huysmans attended. The renegade priest was an actual person in Paris. He was rumored to have had crosses tattooed on the soles of his feet so he was always treading on the cross. Fin-de-siecle Paris had a lot of occult groups, of all stripes, actively doing their thing.
posted by njohnson23 at 10:48 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


The blasphemous thing that pisses off Catholics is when you mess with the communion host or the sacramental wine, or you put on a parody of the Mass.

I'm not Catholic but I understand the imagery (lots of Catholics in southern NM where I grew up), and I find the climax of Bernstein's Mass shocking every time. The Celebrant has a breakdown and smashes the chalice and the monstrance on the floor out of a crisis of faith. It's a very powerful image, and effective in context.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on July 18


There is a fantastic symmetry between Jesus Mecha Christ, and the long running meme of "Optimus Prime died for your sins" [1, 2, 3, 4] amongst kids who grew up traumatised by the robot's death in the 1986 Transformers movie.
posted by automatronic at 3:02 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


“There’s a good chance I may have committed some…light…blasphemy.”
posted by hototogisu at 3:08 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Optimus Christ.

No joke, one of the titles of Jove in Roman Religion was Optimus Maximus ("the best and greatest")

Since Jesus Christ is "firstborn of creation" (Colossians 1:15) the title "prime" applies.

To say that Jesus Christ is Optimus Prime is Christian orthodoxy.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:56 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Fin-de-siecle Paris had a lot of occult groups, of all stripes, actively doing their thing.

Mostly prefiguring fascism, but OK.

Seriously, there is almost no late 19th/early 20th C European occult group that was not either a) hugely antisemitic b) proto-fascist or c) both.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:44 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Wow, this is even worse than Titanic-bot.

(yes, I have two Titanic bots, why do you ask? Also, I kinda want one of these.)
posted by jb at 8:21 PM on July 18


I am sure I read some old text file in which the US Marines team up with Mecha Jesus to fight the last battle against Satan. It was very detailed.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:32 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Sure it's blasphemous.

qv the top comment on the Twitter thread:

I don’t think it’s even blasphemous so much as just like a surprising visual metaphor? like John Donne absolutely would have given a mecha jesus sermon
posted by fairmettle at 12:01 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


In the same way that Leia and the Alien Queen are canonically Disney princesses, Optimus Prime is canonically a Christ figure like Aslan.
posted by acb at 2:20 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I don’t think it’s even blasphemous so much as just like a surprising visual metaphor

This is very striking and very amusing but yeah, sorry, it’s also totally blasphemous... nothing wrong with that, like clawsoon said! I just doubt you’ll find many practicing Catholics who wouldn’t find it offensive to manipulate the image of the cross for laughs.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:29 AM on July 19


"Christ, what an Android,"

is, I believe, the joke we're looking for here.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Would this robot Jesus be vulnerable to zombie attacks?
posted by acb at 5:39 AM on July 19


Stigmautobots, transform and roll out!
posted by emelenjr at 8:50 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


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