When I was a kid, I often fantasized about going back in time to save Jesus from the crucifixion. My plan involved my friends (which Jesus already had), dirt-bikes, .22 caliber rifles and walkie-talkies (which Jesus did not have) to thwart the Romans and and save the King of the Jews from his painful death on the cross.
I think that means I have the best Messiah complex ever. I wanted to be the savior for “THE MESSIAH.” Think of the accolades: Handel’s “Messiah” would have just been a warm up for Handel’s “Paul: The Kid Who Saved Jesus.” Dirtbikes and pictures of me and Jesus would hang in churches instead of those gory crucifixes. I might have even had a chance with Mary Magdalene as she always sounded kinda hot. My plan was put on the permanent back burner by not having a dirt bike or a time machine…or friends. Every year before Easter, Jesus died and my plan faded like the lights of the Black Friday evening services, and I left the church feeling heavy. “Were you there when they crucified my lord?” sang Mrs. Bell in her best Mahalia Jackson imitation. “No, damnit, I wasn’t. But if I was, things woulda been a LOT different.”
Now that I am big enough to buy my own dirtbike (I just choose not to), I find myself able to help the world in more practical ways. But I find that marginalized populations don’t always appreciate the level of engagement that white males like myself try to wield. Take for example the following meme:
When I first saw this, I was kinda put off. I’m a proud sibling and uncle of actual LESBIANS, I have friends who are GAY and I’ve even DJ’d at drag shows. My Messiah Complex throbs like a big ol’ red sore on my lip. However, I must remember that as a Cis Gendered Straight White Protestant Male who has the money for a dirt bike but chooses not to get one, this is not my community. Neither is Black Lives Matter or women or pretty much anyone aside from the aforementioned White Males. I can help, but I must not insert myself into their story because I’m not part of the community. This is not my struggle.
To avoid those pesky Messiah outbreaks, I explain it to myself this way:
My family and a “minority” family enter a restaurant at the same time. We are seated simultaneously, and one waiter is assigned to both of our tables. MY family’s table is provided excellent service while the minority table is lacking water and menus and service is slow. On their behalf, I complain to the waiter who eventually steps up his game and gets the minority table served. The fantasy continues where the minority family returns the next night and receives excellent service and discounts based on that waiter’s desire to serve them equally. The fantasy is only fulfilled when the minority customers are served based on their own power and not because I complained.
Our world is lousy with good intentions that have these “instant karma” riders bundled inside them. Everyone wants to punch a Nazi to show how anti-fascist they are. We plaster our social media with dank memes that show our support and raise awareness, and the streets are alive with benefit concerts. Our involvement in these Karmic Resume’ stuffers feel good to us as Privileged White Males. However, the long term goal has nothing to do with us. Non-white-male populations are simply earning their power. They’re not taking it from us and they are not asking us to give it to them. They simply need support and do not need to be saved. And I’m sure even Jesus would agree that an ascension without a messy crucifixion is good for everyone.