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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, July 04, 2004
    Seeing the world through a pair of Jesus glasses
    Jim White can't get away from Jesus. He grew his hair long because his ex-wife said she needed to be with a man that looked like Jesus. The church got him into Jesus at a very early age and now he can only see the world through a pair of Jesus glasses. As he explains to BBC Four:

    BBC Four: Have you found your own beliefs mixing with that very distinctive Southern religious culture?

    JW: They are coloured by it. I was indoctrinated into the church at the age of about eight when I went to what I thought was a summer camp. In fact it was a church indoctrination camp. They don't put you on a hay ride or take you to the swimming hall. They preach Jesus to you for an hour and then again three times a day. It's insidious.

    At a certain point going to church became the only way I could see to survive. I was an oddball and the oddballs fell into two categories - those oddballs that were getting saved and the oddballs that were strung out on heroin and starting to shoot people.

    I went in the direction of the criminal for long enough to see that I didn't fit in there and was going to come to a bad end. I have no self-control. If I'd have taken one hit of heroin I'd have been dead because I wouldn't have been able to stop. So I went to church. I figured that Jim White's concrete Jesus excess in search of God can't be that bad of a thing. But it's its own drug.

    By viewing the world through the church, intensely, passionately, with spirit and mind, I see the world through a pair of what I call Jesus glasses. If I take the Jesus glasses off, I'm blind. The difference between me and the other people in the South is real simple: with every step that I take and every word that I utter there's a little subtitle which says, 'Don't take it too seriously because I'm wearing Jesus glasses'. I can't take them off. I can't not see the world through that context, but I can remind myself that it's a tainted context of the world.

    Is this the week I get a freeview box? It ought to be; they're showing Jim's documentary, Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus on BBC Four this coming Friday. His journey through the deep South with fellow-travellers such as The Handsome Family and a concrete Jesus in the trunk of his car. Unmissable.

    [Previously blogged about here, linking to the film's excellent preview site]