Comments: Mel's Passion

Your satiric beatification of Gibson seems over the top and diminishes the rest of your theme.

Posted by Tom Roberts at Saturday, 24 April 2004 at 1:23pm BST

I am startled by the fact that you remained unmoved by the portrayal of the central character in Gibson's film. You sat there, bourgeois western post-modernist, apparently waiting to be entertained? No wonder you were disappointed. I went to the movie, not looking forward to it, something with the same attitude as yours. But the courage and commitment to forgiveness that was portrayed in the Jesus character profoundly moved me. I was in tears at two points (corny as they were): (1) when Jesus said to his mother, "I make all things new" (from Revelation, I know)-- Jesus did all this to release a New Way of being human into our human story! (Yes, I'm influenced by N. Tom Wright) and (2) the subdued way the Resurrection was portrayed (kind of surprising, coming from Gibson; mercifully, not a contradiction of the reality of what went before but a confirmation of it; I though this was true to the Gospels), with an equally determined Jesus re-entering the human scene. Your self-satisfied comments remind me of what the old evangelicals used to say about liberal theology --that it immunizes people to the Gospel! For you to have sat there and not had an experience of Christ is quite stunning! I pray jesus gets through to you in other ways. (As I'm sure he does, in ways a little more Gospel --"the least of my brethren", "this is my body", "when two or three are gathered".)

Posted by Chris McMullen at Saturday, 24 April 2004 at 2:36pm BST

I have been a long time reader of both the Gospel and liberal theology and don't think I am immune to either. That said, I enjoyed The Passion of the Christ. I thought the film did an excellent job at portraying the horror of the crucifixion. I think this is important since all too often the crucifixion and message of the Kingdom of God, and all that Kingdom entails, is lost in Beannie Baby cuteness and Christian Rock sappiness.
In a world that is threatened by unjust wars that refer to human beings as soft targets; racism; homophobia threatening to tear the church apart and daily acts of violence against women and children in their own homes it is important for Christians to understand that when Christ speaks of love and forgiveness of enemies he means what he says. I think that the editing of the sermon on the mount with the crucifixion sucessfuloly communicated the radicalness of Christ's message of love, forgiveness and sister/brotherhood in the face of torture, empire and the accumulation of all human sins.
The film is hardly perfect. Some of the violence, such as the crow attacking the unrepantat thief and Judas' death is simply distracting to the point of harming the films message, and the Virgin Mary running around Jerusalem like the third member of the X-files is a bit silly, but these are small complaints.
That, at least, is what I got out of the movie. But as a post modern type of guy I believe that my response to media is in part determined by what I put into the media in question.

Posted by Kevin Fitzsimmons at Monday, 26 April 2004 at 5:53pm BST