Picture of Jesus (1999)

Song credits: 
words and music by John McCutcheon

Looking for God in all the wrong places…

In the National Catholic Reporter
A paper I have actually read
They’re havin’ ‘em a great big contest
This is what the article said
“Take out your paper and your pencils
“Take out your crayons and your paint
“One of you is gonna be a winner
“One of you is gonna be a saint!”

We need a whole new picture of Jesus
For the new millennium
Something that’ll speak to the ages
Yet something that’ll work for years to come
Something that’ll give our lives new meaning
For bumper stickers, T-shirts, MTV
We need a whole new picture of Jesus
For the 21st Century

I guess we all could use a better picture
I suppose we all need a change of face
You know, they did it to Betty Crocker
And now she’s all over the place
They’ll gonna take all of the entries
And give it to that TV nun
And when she hollers “Jesus Christ”
I reckon that’ll be the one

We need a whole new picture of Jesus
Something that’ll boost his market share
Something that’ll say, “Jesus is today”
Something that’ll make the people care
We need a new corporate logo
Something for our focus groups can see
We need a whole new picture of Jesus
For the 21st Century

So I took a little bit of Elvis
And a little dab of Mt. T
And I threw in some Jerry Seinfeld
‘Cause I sure liked him on TV
And, of course, I used some Kristi Yamagoochi
Some Michael Jordan I had sittin’ on the shelf
And great big bunch of Aretha
‘Cause I just couldn’t help myself

We need a whole new picture of Jesus
Something that’ll grab a whole new crew
Maybe what he needs is a new haircut
Maybe an earring or tattoo
It’s a natural evolution
I’m sure it’s where our savior wants to be
We need a whole new picture of Jesus
For the 21st Century

But I finally took out my camera
And I went out onto the street
And I started taking pictures
Of everyone I’d meet
And I’m sending ‘em in as my entry
Two hundred photos or more
The guy in the Beemer, the bum on the corner
The kid in the grocery store

I figure if you’re never sure who’s Jesus
And if you’re never sure who ain’t
You’re never sure who’s the sinner
You’re never sure who’s the saint
We need a whole new picture of Jesus
One that looks a lot like you and me
We need a whole new picture of Jesus
For the 21st Century

Stonington, ME August 1999

©1999 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)

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