Friday, March 05, 2004

meeting mels Jesus

there’s a lot of talk in cyberspace and cafe table about The Passion. I get an allergic rash at some of the way’s evangelicals are responding. I mean, Mel puts millions into the movie and we respond with a few tacky tracts. Why can’t we let art be art?

Yet having watched the art, the questions are raised. They hang there, waiting. I am pondering preaching on these questions.

meeting Mels Jesus
– Why the levels of violence?
– Who did kill Jesus?
– What about before and after the 12 hours?

Letting art be art, while reflecting theologically on the cafe table questions. What do you think about the approach? Am I scratching where people are itching?

Posted by steve at 04:44 PM


  1. But is it art?

    Comment by rochelle — March 5, 2004 @ 7:15 pm

  2. I think the allergic rash is contagious! I tend to break out in it when I receive e-mails inviting me to entice my friends along to a private screening of the film, under the guise of being their friend and casually wanting to see a movie with them, where afterwards they will be harassed to take a tacky tract and I’ll be harassed to ‘follow up’ on the tract and ‘win them to Christ.’
    As far as the questions go, are they ‘internal church’ questions or questions people outside of the church are asking? Why would people outside of the church go to see the movie? What attracts those who are outside of the church to go and see it? Art? Curiousity? Badgering? The Spirit (undoubtedly)?

    Comment by Andrew — March 5, 2004 @ 8:25 pm

  3. I can relate to your uneasiness with the tracts. Why would I want to give my friend a formula for avoiding hell (disguised by a “Passion” cover page) after being exposed for possibly the first time to this man Jesus? I would not insult a friend in this way. The pressure to lower the R rating that seems to be coming from evangelicals also leaves me uneasy. Sure, the media may be bias in their reporting, but the idea that this movie should be used ultimately as an evangelisitic “meet Jesus, get saved” tool, no matter how traumatic that experience may be, disturbs me. Maybe let art be art…to the extent that it is an interpretation of Jesus(experience/truth)…which makes my friend stop and look/listen, wonder, apply, dissasemble, sort, reapply, whatever…start thinking…you know, not just put in the “religious” box. Then me and my friend could start talking.

    Comment by Christina — March 5, 2004 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Rochelle, There is a certain amount of mel-preach in it, but I still think it is (splatter) art because it is movie/storytelling genre. (and hence some Christian compulsion to give tracks, because they are scared the art won’t be “got”?)

    Andrew, my questions emerge from reading a whole lot of reviews about the movie, both church and unchurched. Outside the church critiques often focus on the gratitious violence and the anti-semitic issues, ie who killed jesus.

    If the movie is not an evangelistic tract, but art, then does it follow that, if the point of art is to raise questions, then perhaps it is worth reflecting on the questions asked?

    That is my current thinking, tentative, in draft, and glad of questions and comments because I am still in process on this one.

    Comment by steve — March 5, 2004 @ 10:38 pm

  5. Let art be art!

    Let Steve join Maxim ?

    If it don’t preach it ain’t art….

    Comment by Tim — March 6, 2004 @ 7:12 am

  6. Sounds like you haven’t seen the Diane Sawyer interview with Mel… He answers most of these questions himself. If you can’t find it, I have it on tape and could probably send it to you or something.

    Comment by timsamoff — March 6, 2004 @ 7:50 am

  7. Ok, so it’s art ‘cos it’s in the genre? Are tracts art of their genre?


    Comment by rochelle — March 6, 2004 @ 3:41 pm

  8. A thought. How is this kind of violence engaged with in a violent world, that is fed (willingly or unwillingly) by the images of violence, war, murder, rape, etc. etc. A world of video games and remote killing (whether real or vitual). How is the violence and horror of Jesus’ passion responded to in a world so numbed by violence, and inhumanity, a world in which violence not love, war not peace, hopelessness not hope… is so much a part of our lives. Lives which almost silently and in all kinds of ways cry out for love, for hope, for joy, for meaning etc. How will viewers cope following the screening, what coping mechanisms have they already in place…? Violence is our context, so what is gospel and how does the Passion gospel in our context today?

    Just some thoughts

    Comment by Paul — March 6, 2004 @ 5:11 pm

  9. Rochelle, I have never read/heard anything that would see tracts as art. The nature of art is to open up perspectives and cause thought. Don’t tracts do the opposite, taking the mystery of the universe and mcdonaldising it for easy of consumption.

    Comment by steve — March 7, 2004 @ 9:04 pm

  10. Paul
    the violence is a really interesting one. I have talked to a number of people that felt so overwhelmed by the violence of the Passion that they actually switched off. So does it dehumanised one’s encounter with the film?

    Comment by steve — March 7, 2004 @ 9:05 pm

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