I just saw this post on Random Reflections by Greg Boyd Washing Osama's Feet
He begins by saying:
Brad Cole is a friend of mine who runs a ministry called Heavenly Sanctuary. This ministry puts on Conferences around the country on the Character of God -- and they get it right. This year they hired an artist named Lars Justinen from the Justinen Creative Group to paint the above picture to use on posters advertising their conference. Under this picture they had captions like "Follow the Leader," "God IS Great," and most accurately, "Jesus - Still Too Radical?"As Don on Atomorrow.com pointed out there are a number of questions that come to mind. It is not simply that protesters believe that Jesus would not wash Osama's feet. In fact my first reaction two years ago when I saw it was that Islamic radicals would love the picture because it showed Jesus in a submissive role to Osama. It is a matter of perspective. Which is interesting in that the people are dressed in today's clothes which include modern footwear which would make foot washing meaningless, as is the entire cultural foot-washing tradition amongst most of those people present. One question I would ask is would these people even allow Jesus to wash their feet or would some of them instead wash the others feet and Jesus' feet and which ones would use the whole thing for a photo op. Here were some of the questions that Don asked:
Heavenly Sanctuary had contracts with several malls in the Seattle area to hang these posters advertising their conference, but no sooner had the posters gone up than angry calls began flooding the malls. Many people -- but, it seems, mostly Christians -- were offended at the image of Jesus washing Osama Bin Laden’s feet. There was such an outcry that each of the malls decided to go back on their contract and take the posters down. The Christian College that Heavenly Sanctuary was renting space from to host the Conference also canceled their contract. Brad had to scramble to find a secular venue (which, ironically, had no problems with the poster).
What does this say about how many American Christians envision Jesus? Obviously, the protesters believe that Jesus would not wash Osama Bin Laden’s feet. But Jesus died "not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world" (I Jn 2:2) -- and this obviously includes Osama. So if Jesus died for Osama, how are we to imagine him being unwilling to wash his feet?
This picture provides the base for some interesting discussions:
1. What message does the drawing convey?
2. Do you agree with that message?
3. Was the original foot-washing focused on the whole world?
4. Can we consider the people in the picture the disciples of Jesus?
5. Would you wash Judas' feet? Who was worse, Judas or Osama?
6. What is right with this picture?
7. What is wrong with this picture?
8. Which of these captions would you use for this picture?
"no sooner had the posters gone up than angry calls began flooding the malls."
- "Follow the Leader"
- "God IS Great"
- "Jesus - Still Too Radical?"
- None of the above.
9. What might these angry callers have said? Suggest a few possible sentences.
10. If you were the spokesperson for a shopping mall, how would you answer these callers?
11. Would you agree to take down the posters? Explain your reasons.
So if Jesus died for Osama, how are we to imagine him being unwilling to wash his feet?
12. Would Jesus wash Osama's feet? Explain your answer.
13. Would you wash Osama's feet?
14. Would all of these people partake of the Passover with Jesus?
15. Where would these people be when Jesus agonized in the Garden?
16. What would be their attitude when Jesus arose a few days later?
The Christian College that Heavenly Sanctuary was renting space from to host the Conference also canceled their contract. Brad had to scramble to find a secular venue (which, ironically, had no problems with the poster).
17. Explain the 'irony' mentioned here.
18. Why do you think those supporting these posters do not understand many Christians' opposition to this poster?
19. Are the poster supporters being reasonable?
20. What does it mean to be intolerant? Who is being intolerant in this story?
21. Would the Heavenly Sanctuary people wash the feet of the Christian College who cancelled their contract?
22. Are the Heavenly Sanctuary people being 'smugly moralistic'?
Update: This is actually the Portland Oregon area not the Seattle area. The Following is from KGW News:
Posters showing Jesus washing bin Laden's feet pulled from malls
04:45 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The posters promote the Good News Tour – a religious conference – and organizers say they were trying to make a statement about God, not politics.
The complaints, however, prompted advertising executives who initially approved the posters to remove them.
The paid advertisements were hung in Lloyd Center, Clackamas Town Center, Cedar Hills Crossing, Mall 205, the Columbia Gorge Outlet stores and in Salem’s Lancaster Mall.
“Clearly we’re disappointed… we knew the pictures evoked a lot of response…A lot of people think we’re trying to make a political statement, which is not it at all,” said conference organizer Mark Merizan.
Brad Cole, founder of HeavenlySanctuary.com, told KGW that the picture was meant to parallel the story of Jesus washing the feet of Judas.
“No one is Judas in the picture, but the meaning is that Jesus would stoop to wash the feet of his enemies. The meaning is that in that painting of powerful world leaders -- and one powerful terrorist -- the one with all the power is ultimately Jesus.”
The purpose of the conference is to discuss the character of God, according to Cole.
“People opposed to this picture feel that God isn't that kind. We believe that he is,” Cole said.
In the Bible's Gospel of John, Jesus washes his disciples' feet prior to Judas's betrayal and urges the disciples to wash one another's feet going forward.
Christian scholars interpreted Christ's act as an example of humility and willingness to serve even his enemies.
The Good News conference takes place November 2 and 3 at the Oregon Convention Center.