Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ
Many Americans flocked to see Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” On over 2.000 screens across America the viewed the “harrowing depiction of Jesus' last 12 hours in wide-screen vivid color.” (Allen 2004) People viewed images of Jesus being flogged, crucified and left to die. This violence caused some Christians discomfort with theology, and some Jews’ fear that it will “incite violence against them because of its portrayal of Jews’ involvement in Jesus’ death.” (Allen 2004)
Despite all of these factors, people embraced the idea behind the movie. Church members even used the movie for evangelizing. Rev. Glenn Barth of the Minneapolis office of Mission America, said, “Any time the cross of Christ becomes the topic of conversation around water coolers, it’s a real opportunity for the church to get its message across.” (Allen 2004) Sacred Realms points out that “The cross, (is) a common religious symbol with which virtually everyone is familiar.” (xii) People are going to have the opportunity to find a community, to share stories and relate with one another through the discussion generated by “The Passion of the Christ.” In a sense, this movie may even be viewed as a way to get the social-glue flowing.
Gibson risked a lot to produce this movie, and has been one of the first major stars to be open with his faith. Although this movie will allow people to view the story of Christ, many mainline Christian groups are urging caution to those who see it. “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Jewish-Christian dialogue committee issued a statement, saying, in part, ‘We can expect that Mr. Gibson's project will shape or reshape understandings of this central Christian story for millions of viewers.’” (Allen 2004) However, when people view the movie it will raise questions and interest in the story, and cause people to go back and read the text and think about things for themselves, as well as discussing it with other people. It’s good to view different sides since “no one theory tells us everything we need or want to know about religion.” (Sacred Realms)
However, some feel the film may be detrimental to relationships. “Rabbi Barry Cytron, director of the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, said that Jews are worried: ‘It could spill back upon the progress we've made [in relationships with...