Friday, March 05, 2004

Jesus Please Us

Was anyone reminded of Bread and Circuses by Gibson's "Passion of Christ"? Oh, the filmography wasn't bad, and the acting was pretty good. But the pointless violence failed to give me any sort of religious feeling, largely because of the lack of justification of that violence at any point in the film.

What do I mean by justification? Certainly not a "justification" for his killers and murders. I mean a justification for Christ himself. His life was that justification. Some Christians murmur that he died for us. Cardinal Egan phrased it better. He gave his life for us. And what was Christ's life? A life of fighting for the poor, the needy, the lower class, the destitute. He fought the fight that Mother Jones fought, that John Brown fought, and he fought it every step of the way, and like Mother Jones and John Brown he died for it. Without seeing this, without having a hint of it, his death is meaningless, and the film is just a voyeuristic glare at the pitiful death of a man, and we no better than the Romans. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and the bitterness is, I suspect, visible in this blog. To focus on pain at the expense of joy - to focus on death and the negative aspects of humanity, without seeing the balance - goes against everything Christ teaches. He taught us how to live, and what to live for, and instead we focus on his dead body, his dead body, his dead body, and then a little glow and a holy light on Christ's clean face, as if any resurrection could be more meaningful than the blood and sweat and toil and thought of decades! Flog his dead body if you will, Gibson: I am an artist and I know that the work one creates in life is more representative of one's soul than the wreckage of one's corpse. Christ deserved far better than that. Non-Christian as I am, I still hold him in greater respect than you have shown.

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