From James C. Schaap
Of its origins, I'm not quite sure--some freak shop in Old Town, Chicago, circa 1968. I remember being with my then-girlfriend on what was some kind magical mystery tour of the burgeoning counter-culture, a young Iowa Calvinist amid all the bell-bottoms in a tie-dyed world. What a trip. I have no idea what I paid for it. In fact, that I bought it at all right back then seems strange, piety never having been one of my strong suits.
For decades, this swirling portrait of the Lord has been up on my office wall. Somewhere along the line, I had it neatly framed, and there it hung over a window. No more. Now it's here in the bedroom where we're storing stuff, part of the mess in a house that's slowly being emptied.
Not long ago, a student came by and eyed the walls of my office as if he were hunting for clues. His eyes lit on that drawing above the window, and he winced, then pointed up at it--a smart kid, as I remember. The identity of the "freak" in the frame entirely escaped him. I had to tell him it was Jesus. In a way, that episode was painful, not because the kid didn't recognize Jesus--after all, I'm not sure any of us do. What made his blindness striking was that he couldn't really recognize that Jesus, the freaky Jesus, the street Jesus, the power-to-the-people Jesus, the Sixties Jesus.