Tix for The Passion

Churches and bible societies all over are buying up jillions of tickets to Mel Gibson's move to donate to the public. Too bad they can't spend the money on canned food for the hungry or winter coats for the homeless. Meanwhile, I haven't decided if I'm going to see the flick...I did like "Maverick" ...and I don't mind subtitles...but if I see it, I'm spending my own ten bucks!


>Too bad they can't spend the money on canned food for the hungry or winter coats for the homeless.I'm not an ultra-conservative Christian, but I do know where my church money goes each time I donate. Usually it goes to food for the hungry or clothing for homeless, battered women, and children. But I can see the purpose in some churches spending the money on the members to see the film. Draws people back to the church potentially, and will cause those individuals to give back more to help the needy.From what I've gathered so far, the negative reviews focus on the point that the film should be more spiritual. Hey, let's face it, history is not spiritual WHEN it happens. It's much later when we reflect on the importance of events that the true meaning is revealed. Would you rather see the invasion of Normandy depicted as a pseudo-drama with lead characters that survive the impossible, or as a recreation with all the reality to respect the sacrifice of those individuals?I'll go see it. I've read Roger Ebert's review, and I almost always agree with him.

Is there some reason you don't want churches to do both? I wasn't aware it was an "either or." The major focus of the 4 gospels is the last week of Jesus' life, not his teachings about the poor and hungry--which are unchanged from the Old Testament teaching and traditions. Today is Ash Wednesday, beginning the most holy season of the year for Christians. If they choose to see a movie depicting the last day of their Savior's life on earth rather than a movie about car chases or adultery, why would you care?

You are free to skip the movie, spend your $6 on canned food, and take it to any food pantry of your choice, almost all of which are operated by churches.

My point is that Christian organizations (American Bible Society, and many individual churches etc.), who have pledged to accept the responsibility for caring for those who are unable to care for themselves, are instead giving (congregants/members) money to a commercial enterprise. Shouldn't it be the individual who pays to go to the movie? I suppose you could consider it as part of the "education fund." The church's money is going to the film's production company, the distributors, the camera operators, the actors, grips, props, not to mention Mel Gibson. It seems a sort of roundabout way to give charity.
Yes, I know that it is Ash Wednesday, and yes, I know that many food pantries are operated by churches. I did not intend to offend you.

Kenneth Woodward in the NYT wrote:

Mr. Gibson's raw images invade our religious comfort zone, which has long since been cleansed of the Gospels' harsher edges. Most Americans worship in churches where the bloodied body of Jesus is absent from sanctuary crosses or else styled in ways so abstract that there is no hint of suffering. In sermons, too, the emphasis all too often is on the smoothly therapeutic: what Jesus can do for me.

More than 60 years ago, H. Richard Neibuhr summarized the creed of an easygoing American Christianity that has in our time triumphantly come to pass: "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment though the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." Despite its muscular excess, Mr. Gibson's symbol-laden film is a welcome repudiation of all that.

So yes, I suppose you could consider it reeducation.

Without a doubt, the Death and Resurrection of Christ is the central message of Christianity. To paraphrase Paul, "If Christ has not been raised, then we are the most pitiable of fools. But Christ has been raised."However, I contest your point of "The major focus of the 4 gospels is the last week of Jesus' life, not his teachings about the poor and hungry--which are unchanged from the Old Testament teaching and traditions."Taking "The passion of the Christ" to mean the parts of the gospels from Jesus' arrest to His resurrection, we find that:Three of Matthew's 28 chapters related to the Passion.Three of Mark's 16 chapters related to the Passion.Three of Luke's 24 chapters related to the Passion.Three of John's 20 chapters related to the Passion.From the text alone, the last week of Jesus' life could not be the focus of any of the four gospels. A lens, perhaps.I find it interesting that when Our Lord judges between the righteous and the damnned in Mt. 25, he does not do so on the basis of belief, but on their treatment of the naked, hungrey, and imprisoned. See Mt. 25:32-46.This is not to deny that Christ is the way, the truth and the life, but to point out that Christ's messages about treatment of the helpless and loving our neighbor as ourselves should not be lightly cast aside as "not a major focus."I hope to have more to say about Ash Wednesday in my journal this weekend.

Hi Birdie,I wanted to let you know that this Christian found nothing offensive in your original posting, though there is a even a biblical precedent for doing things that honor Jesus as opposed to feeding the poor:----------------------Mt 26: 6-13Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant and said, "Why this waste? It could have been sold for much, and the money given to the poor."Since Jesus knew this, he said to them, "Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me.The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her."--------------To help you make up your mind about whether to see the Passion, here is a review of the movie from the US Council of Catholic Bishops review service. There are two quotes from the review that I find especially interesting:----------------"The Passion of the Christ" (Newmarket) is an uncompromising interpretive dramatization of the final 12 hours of Jesus' earthly life. Unflinching in its brutality and penetrating in its iconography of God's supreme love for humanity, the film will mean different things to people of diverse backgrounds.-----------------and-----------------However, by choosing to narrow his focus almost exclusively to the Passion of Christ, Gibson has, perhaps, muted Christ's teachings, making it difficult for viewers unfamiliar with the New Testament and the era's historical milieu to contextualize the circumstances leading up to Jesus' arrest. And though, for Christians, the Passion is the central event in the history of salvation, the "how" of Christ's death is lingered on at the expense of the "why?"--------------The last quote pretty much sums up my feelings about the movie, garnered from two very dear friends who have seen the movie and the various reviews I've read. I may see the movie on DVD, but my wife and I won't be seeing in theaters. I have to agree with nbruce that any movie honestly depicting the suffering of Christ would have to be brutal. Ironically, it would also have to show full frontal male nudity, as the Romans did not tastefully cloak the midsections of the crucified. I assume that if that was in the movie, "The Passion" would have garnered a NC-17, in testament to our sick society that watches dozens of televised murders each day, but can't take 10 seconds of Janet Jackson's nipple.My viewing suggestion comes from my best friend. He told me to see the movie, but to go on an empty stomach!Take care, Daniel

I saw the moview Saturday morning with about 1,000 other members of our church and their guests. Was not unlike a worship service in that context. Complete silence as we all left the theater.

The Passion and the teachings are not either/or but both/and. Gibson only focused on those 12 hours. The resurrection is beautifully depicted, but for someone unfamiliar with scripture, it would be completely missed.

The teachings about the poor in the NT are clearly from the OT--Jesus added nothing to the basic moral and ethical teaching of the Jews. To find what is unique, you have to go to the final week of his life, his death and his resurrection.

I closed my eyes during the most violent parts as I probably would have had I been in the crowd shouting "crucify him." (And in reality, the crowd is us.) Only because I can understand Latin did I know what was going on.

I may actually go again because there are many subtleties and nuances that I missed. For instance, the part of Satan is played by a woman but has a male voice-over. Making Satan genderless, beautiful and eerie, almost irristible to look at, was brilliant. Mary, Jesus' mother, is the only one in the crowd bold enough to stare down Satan. Having Judas hang himself with the rope tied around the head of a dead, rotting donkey was another one--a flash back to Palm Sunday perhaps?

Every scene had much to ponder. In response to the critics who say the violence isn't depicted that way in the Gospels, I say look at the OT prophecies and do your own research on crucifixions--there were thousands. The gospels also don't describe clothing or pottery, but that doesn't mean they are left out of the story.

The actor playing Jesus has the initials J.C. and was 33 when the film was made (I heard him say that in an interview).