Born to Surf

by Peter Rittmaster


Unrequited Love, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster


When I was a child there were two images I found to be horrific. The first was Christ impaled on a cross, tortured and hanging limply in pain.  The second, a vision of my first pizza pie—a steaming, unsightly mess that looked nothing like Mom’s apple pie. In time, I grew to enjoy pizza. But I could never stomach the image of Christ on the cross.

How can we all in good faith, leave this gentle teacher and enlightened soul on a cross for over two thousand years? He hangs there to remind us that he suffered and died for our sins. Do we really need this kind of reminder?


The Fashion Icon, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster

Born to Surf, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster














For a long time now I’ve been having this recurring dream about sneaking into a church, taking Christ off of his cross, and putting him on a skateboard.

I figured it was about time to do something about it.What kind of mentality, after all, would keep him pinned there? Why does the church insist on this image, and why do so many great artists, from his own time to our own, continue to show him in this posture? I cannot imagine that Jesus or any of his early followers would like to have him depicted in torment for eternity.

We’ve got to get him off the cross. Ask yourself, would he rather be impaled on a cross or dancing and surfing? After two millennia, he deserves to have a little fun, and so, we do.


The Matador, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster

Born to Ride, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster














The image of Christ on the cross is far too frightening for any eight-year-old boy. How can we possibly relate to this tortured image? But the eight-year-old boy certainly can relate to Jesus on a skateboard. And why shouldn’t he? Jesus’ grace and elegance shines through when he’s off the cross. We have to create new myths to pass on, to retire the old, which have grown tiresome and weary. All sightings of Christ or the Virgin Mary take place in some elusive shrine or chapel high on a remote mountain range. But why not St. Moritz, or St. Tropez? Couldn’t Christ be spotted on a skateboard near Mick Jagger’s house on Mustique? Thousands make pilgrimages to these sites each year. Think of the response: Jesus has been glimpsed riding the waves at Laguna Beach. Hallelujah!

Removing Christ from the cross seems as natural as removing the “pie” from pizza pie. The church should understand that if you free Jesus, everyone can find him. We’ve got to make religion a little friendlier, a little timelier, a little more fun. Call your local clergy. Demand that Jesus be taken off the cross. It’s the decent thing to do.


Cyber Jesus, sculpture by Peter Rittmaster

For more of Peter Rittmaster’s work visit here:

ALL PHOTOS BY: Antoine Bootz

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