Emisoras latinas accused
of defaming the catholic church
receives international solidarity.
JESUS: Hold on a second, Rachel. I just want to talk with this woman who’s selling some good leather sandals. Mine are really worn out from so much traveling up and down these days.
RACHEL: Leave that for another time, Jesus. We’ve just received an angry protest from a Catholic channel. It’s coming from a program called “Black Legends”
JESUS: Black Legends?
RACHEL: Yes, it’s a racist term, but …
JESUS: Does it have something to do with my being dark-skinned?
RACHEL: No, no, rather … it’s better if I explain it to you later.
JESUS: And what are those Catholics saying?
RACHEL: That everything we’ve broadcast in the last few programs – and in the earlier ones also – is untruthful and scurrilous, that it’s a calumny coming from the church’s enemies. … Are we still on the air? Yes, hello?
WOMAN: But how is it possible that that charlatan, who makes himself pass for Jesus Christ, is still speaking on your network?
RACHEL: Well, ma’am, …
WOMAN: And you, miss reporter, how much are they paying you, huh? And the ones who are writing those programs, how much are they getting?
RACHEL: What’s happening is that …
WOMAN: You’re just bitter against the church. We have already found out who you are: you’re the same ones who wrote that trash called “A Certain Jesus”. But you can be sure of one thing: you won’t get away with this! (HANGS UP)
RACHEL: We can see how very “Christian” this woman caller is. We have another call, … Yes, hello?
PRIEST: This is a Catholic priest speaking. I am aware of and agree with many of the things that you have been saying and criticizing in your programs. But your comments seem to me inopportune. Why are you giving so much publicity to all this? What are you trying to do, defame the church? Are you really helping the people’s faith? Are you offering a constructive criticism?
JESUS: Tell him that there is a time for planting and another time for rooting up.
PRIEST: So the church is sinful? We already knew that. But it is also holy. It is a “chaste prostitute”. So the church has committed errors? Yes, of course, what institution doesn’t commit them? But you should wash your dirty laundry at home.
JESUS: Tell him that if it’s dirty, it’s to be washed where everybody can see it. What was kept in darkness must now be spoken in the light of day, because only the truth with make us free.
PRIEST: And be assured that I will pray for you, that God forgives you — and forgives that Jesus Christ also.
JESUS: So be it.
RACHEL: We have another call. But, Jesus, please answer this one yourself. My ears are already burning.
GRANDMOTHER: Good day. I would like to speak with Jesus Christ …
JESUS: Well, you’re speaking with him now.
GRANDMOTHER: You are Jesus Christ?
JESUS: And you sound like you must be well along in years. Is that the case?
RACHEL: I’m 87 years old, my son, and all my bones are aching.
JESUS: You talk like my grandma Anna. May she rest in peace.
GRANDMOTHER: I’m not calling to offer any insults, Jesus, but just to weep.
JESUS: And why do you want to weep, grandma?
GRANDMOTHER: I have listened to you, lad, and … I think you’re right … What you’re saying is the pure and simple truth. … But you haven’t given me peace; rather a sword has passed through my heart.
JESUS: Like the one that pierced my mother’s heart when I went to the Jordan and began to preach about the Kingdom of God.
GRANDMOTHER: I was living peacefully with my rosary and my saints and my candles, … And now, listening to you, I don’t know what to think…
JESUS: Thinking is always painful.
GRANDMOTHER: And what about my faith? What do I have left of my faith after learning these things?
JESUS: You still have love left, granny. And hope. God will not fail you, as he did not fail me. Let me tell you the truth: when you finally rest, you will be with me in paradise.
RACHEL: We need to cut short our broadcast, Jesus. Goodbye, dear granny. They’re after us, Jesus. The Israeli police are claiming that you’re a threat to their national security.
JESUS: Then let’s shake the dust off our sandals, Rachel. Jerusalem is the place where they kill the prophets. I can tell you that from experience. It’s better if we go to my land, Galilee. There we can keep talking for the little time I have left.
RACHEL: What do you mean? Are you going some place?
JESUS: Quick, Rachel. It’s already time.
RACHEL: Well, I’m leaving too … the airwaves, that is. Over and out. This is Rachel Perez, Emisoras Latinas, Jerusalem.
ANNOUNCER: Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
The authors of “A Certain Jesus”
Quite right was the listener who discovered the identity of the persons who are behind Emisoras Latinas and are responsible for this coverage of Rachel Perez’s interviews with Jesus Christ on his second coming to earth. They are the same persons who, beginning in 1980, gave a face and a voice to “A Certain Jesus”.
That first theological and pastoral effort sought to present the historical Jesus in his Palestinian setting, and now we have attempted to bring to our microphones the historical Jesus, so that he could address many of the issues he did not speak about in his own time and could also call into question many of the dogmas which those claiming to represent him have proposed in the name of the Christ of faith.
With the series called “A Certain Jesus” we wanted to give life and color to those short gospel stories that are often bare of detail. We wanted to present Jesus as a real, down-to-earth man, passionate about justice, a defender of human dignity, bold in his religious ideas, a visionary with a countercultural project. We wanted to take the Christology of the great theologians of Latin America and give it a dramatic setting, complete with the colors, the smells, the sayings and wisecracks, the laughs and moans, the psychological complexities, the comedy and tragedy of Jesus’ time. We did so while recalling the teaching of the great Protestant theologian, Joachim Jeremias: There is no better theology than narration. We wanted to make Palestine tangible and put flesh on the images of liberation theology, freeing Jesus of the centuries of solemnity which have only put distance between him and those with whom he always was.
We wrote that radio series in 1977, we recorded it in 1979, and by the end of 1980 the cassettes began to make the rounds of all Latin America. It would be hard to calculate how many people have heard the series, which in 1982 was published in book form and later translated into other languages. We have no idea how many have read the book, but there are many. Since the year 2004 we have had all the texts and the audio recordings placed on the Internet at the website: www.untaljesus.net. Every day we receive news of adventurous Internet explorers discovering our website. Thirty years after we produced that work, there are still new generations searching for that dark-skinned Jesus of Nazareth who laughs, who learns, who doubts, who doesn’t want to die. They want to find the historical Jesus, the way that leads us to the other God.
Nowadays we often hear the slogan, Another world is possible. But another world will never be possible unless another God is possible. When we wrote “A Certain Jesus” we wanted to change people’s ideas about God, since that was what Jesus wanted to do also. In our Christian culture that means first changing the artificial and heretical ideas that most Christians have of Jesus. Such ideas derive from a catechesis that is devoid of historical information and based rather on incomprehensible dogmas and a negative image of God.
When we produced “A Certain Jesus” we were accused of being crude unbelievers; people said we “hated God” and were promoting pornography. Some people also claimed, as did one caller in this program, that what we were doing was not “constructive”. Almost all the episcopal conferences of Latin America prohibited the programs from being used on their radio stations and in group meetings, even though not one of the inquisitors at that time deigned to hear a single chapter of the series, much less to dialogue with the authors. Later on the Spanish hierarchy condemned the first edition of the book, but, since we were not church functionaries, they could not prohibit us from teaching or censor what we were writing.
Even as the church authorities were censoring “A Certain Jesus” in 1981, the series was spreading: little by little, like mustard seeds sprouting up, first the cassettes, then the books were being distributed, copied, and passed from hand to hand. They were being played on the radio and discussed in Christian communities. Now we have made the scripts and the audio recordings available on the worldwide web – all the rights shared – so that they can continue to enable people to discover a new face of Jesus of Nazareth, swarthy and smiling – and human, most definitely human.
Now we have called again upon the dark-skinned Jesus of Nazareth and have asked him to return to our world. We have sought to interview him through the microphones of our experienced journalist Rachel Perez, special correspondent of Emisoras Latinas, so that the same “Jesus of history” may speak to us about the “Christ of faith”. We want him to expose those who for nearly two thousand years have claimed to represent him, but who have really obscured his message of justice and equality. And we want him to give hope to the many grannies like the one who called our program today, to the many orphans and widows, the many women, the many poor people, and the many youths who are struggling for “another world” and searching for the other face of God.