Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.

Jesus: the Original Rock Star

It all started with John Lennon. He was the first one to say "we're bigger than Jesus," which was misunderstood and misquoted and everyone got all upset - except the Beatles that is. They thought it quite funny that people were buying their albums just to burn them.

The Beatles noticed something, you see - their fans, crowds of screaming fans, working themselves up into more of a religious frenzy than an enjoyable rock concert.

Then John Lennon grew his hair long, grew his beard out, and started taking himself way too seriously. And everyone else took him way to seriously too. He was a smart guy - I'm one of his biggest fans, but his whole staying in bed to protest war thing - what the heck was that?

Look it up.

John Lennon had taken on a certain aura, an almost mystical significance - singing about religion, talking about religion, etc. Give peace a chance. Unfortunate that "Imagine," probably his most beautiful song, is all about how great the world would be without religion.

Nonetheless, people regarded him, more and more, as a spokesman for conscience. He was more than a hippy. They compared him to Jesus.

And John Lennon was of course hounded by the crowds - same as Jesus. He got in trouble with the law a few times, same as Jesus. And sadly, he was murdered - same as Jesus.

He was the first of many rock stars to be so compared. Next we'd have Jim Morrison, singing his weird lyrics, implying that there was some sort of hidden mystical truth behind them. In his most famous photograph, we see Morrison, shirtless, with hands outstretched, as though hanging on a cross. In this case he was the ego-maniac Jesus.

Not that Jesus was an ego-maniac - but some people thought he was, and some people still do - usually people who either didn't understand, or didn't even READ the Gospel.

About that same time we had "Tommy" - the rock opera from The Who about a blind pinball wizard, that, for some reason, had messianic connotations. I don't know why? I think its the fact that the crowd of fans assign universal significance to Tommy, perhaps simply because they need to find universal significance in something. We need a savior so badly, that we invent them.

Next it was Led Zeppelin, particularly Robert Plant. With his strange combination of religious symbols, and sexual innuendo, the implication was made more and more obvious. Check out some of the graphic art some time - its rather unmistakable.

And the pattern continued, throughout the 60's, to the 70's, all the way up to today. Musicians commonly use religious symbols, almost as hallowe'en costumes - subconsciously giving their audiences the impression that there's more going on in their rock concerts than is ACTUALLY going on. Right up to types like Kurt Cobain - not that he made the association himself - his audience did it for him.

There's a line from the song, from the movie, "Hair," one of my favorites.

"They'll be gaga at the go-go when they see me in my toga.

My toga made of blond, brilliantined, biblical hair.

My hair like Jesus wore it, Alleluia, I adore it.

Alleluia, Mary loved her son - why don't my mother love me? HAIR!!"

©EMI Music Publishing

Finally, with all this rock star/Jesus comparison going on, two guys named Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber got an idea - what if Jesus WERE a rock star? Let's make a rock opera about Jesus the rock star. It was called "Jesus Christ Superstar" if you hadn't guessed - one of my favorites, although theologically not perfect.

Fact is, Jesus did have a certain rock-star quality. He was popular with the crowds; he got in trouble; he was misunderstood; his message resonated with people. BUT Jesus wasn't a rock star so much as rock stars want to be Jesus.

Jesus wasn't out for himself and his own glory. To use rock star terminology, for him it was ALL about the music - his music was the Gospel. He didn't care about groupies, or about the rush of being on stage, about drawing attention to himself and having fans screaming his name. He didn't need to fill his emptiness for find meaning at the bottom of a bottle or the end of a line of cocaine.

Jesus was the TRUEST rock star - because it really was ALL about the music. Not even "Jesus Christ Superstar" really got that point. Too bad.

Check out his album some time - only has four songs: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Trust me - it'll rock your world.