I love NASCAR Jesus. What’s not to love? The sunglasses a la Richard Petty. The scraggly Jimmie Johnson beard. The Kyle Petty ponytail. The weary Dale Earnhardt Jr. eyes. And best of all, that chest. The King of the Jews endorsing the King of Beers. It’s beautiful.
The artist’s name? Katie Cooper. According to the Web site Art Wanted, this was Cooper’s vision for the painting, which will require all of your spiritual patience and understanding to read all the way through.
"Jesus Christ supposedly appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. To her, he revealed his sacred heart, and explained to her God’s love and mercy for each individual. When I picture Jesus, I picture the image I have seen time and time again. He has long brown hair, with a slight wave to it. His face is sweet, and he wears a long ivory colored robe, and sandals made of rope. He speaks of love and peace, and has a calm, yet powerful way about him. Then I picture him coming back today, to save those who have claimed him as their savior. What would that Jesus have to be like, to want to save people like us? He would have to be a fan of consumption. He would constantly have jingles and advertisements running through his mind, and would be moving too busily and too quickly to stop and take a breath. When thirsty, this Jesus would want to grab a cold one. The King of Kings and the King of Beers are together at last. NASCAR Jesus."
You can read this two ways. You can either look at this Jesus as a satire of consumer culture, of which NASCAR is certainly a visible symbol. And coming from an artist type, one would suspect that was Cooper’s intention. Or you can look at this Jesus as a pragmatist, a man who would adapt his methods of communication to the times he lived in. Jesus – he’d like to grab a Bud with you and talk about this Book he likes.
Thankfully, art is in the eye of the beholder. Me? I like NASCAR Jesus. Seems like the kind of Jesus you could road-trip to Daytona with.
NASCAR Jesus prints, shirts and whatnot are available, thanks to our consumer culture, at Art Wanted.
Gallery of Jesuses playing sports