Weekend Movie Extravangaza: The Passion of Christ

After watching the Passion this evening, I've come to three conclusions:

1) The Passion is not a great date movie
2) The Passion is not a great Christian witnessing tool
3) The Passion is not a great movie

That said, The Passion is a movie ever Christ-follower should choose to experience and one that non-Christians might have a struggle understanding. And no, I'm not going against the flow of popular opinion just for "rebellion's sake."


So... explanations:

1) The Passion is not a great date movie

I think it would be nigh impossible to make-out during (or after) this movie. There is no sensual show of skin (unless you count Jesus' booty at the end...). There are no sweet words of romantic love or pleasent dreams of marriage. No pouty lips or lines to steal for wooing.

Instead, metaphorically (and literally... gotta love the "Christian Paradox TM") it's about a husband taking physical abuse from his slut of a wife. He never seems too emotionally distraught... even though his two best friends (Judas and Peter) leave him to the throes of abuse, his mother seems to be a constant source of emotional fulfillment.

The only reason you might hold a companion's hand during this film is for emotional support at the slicing of humanity that you watch; the discomfort of pain. If you're able to get anything other than a sentimental, meaningful, comforting kiss after this film... then truly you are detached from humanity.

If you are a pair of normal people who have yet to meet this hand-holed Christ, then the movie will likely confuse you. It will seem like a gloried blood & guts movie with all the blood and guts spilling from one human and not 100.

If you are a pair of Christ-followers, then seeing this movie will leave you emotionally drained and needing time alone.

And if you're the delicate relationship of a believer and non-believer, then you're going to have a lot of explaining to do to your mate, Child of God.

2) The Passion is not a great Christian witnessing tool

Here's the problem with using The Passion as a "witnessing" tool. The viewer gets to witness the last days of the Son of God where he does little more than take punishment for simply being I AM.

The flashbacks interspersed throughout give a good taste of Christ's life and teachings... but I'm not sure it gives enough to truly hook the viewer. There are several spots where, without prior biblical knowledge, one would be left thinking Christ is simply delusional. But hey, he did create a nice table.

I realized in watching this movie that Christianity is so hard to define in one event. If it's defined in one event, I'm not so sure I'd choose the torture of Christ; His resurrection? Perhaps. The tounges of flame igniting the Holy Spirit? Perhaps. The second coming? Perhaps. But the torture of Christ? That's just the catalyst to the battle... not the whole story.

I'm afraid that The Passion has already become a 'sacred cow' in the Christian sub-culture; a virtual God-send of a movie. This movie will not save lives. The Gospel is not presented. The movie will spark questions... but I'm not sure a lot of Christians would really be ready to answer them.

It's a bit odd... before the movie I was kind of bothered by all the movie tie-ins and curriculmn. The "Meet the Man in the Movie" billboards and the "Meet the Cast" or "Behind the Scenes" sermon series seemed cheesy and pointless. However, now that I've seen the movie... they make sense. The movie does little more than create an opening for conversation or puts an image to the stories of Christ that people have been telling.

I guess that just goes to say how jaded I've become... it seems to me like people are always looking for a sure-fire way to "win souls to Christ." This movie reaffirms that it takes truth and relationships for someone to truly understand Christ's mission and to recieve the gifting of the Holy Spirit. Without bases for understanding (why was Jesus' teaching cause for death? how do we know that Jesus is the Son of God besided maing people mad enough at him to kill him?) then a lot of the movie can be taken as simply watching a really really long torture scene.

3) The Passion is not a great movie

So yeah. Here's my last big problem with the movie: I really don't think it's a movie. It's a work of art, yes. But... it's not entertaining. It doesn't succeed there at all... while I was watching I just wanted it to be over. Not because it was boring, per se... but because it just was so gruesome. The flashbacks were, without question, the best part of the movie. I was longing for more truth and less violence.

I know that the point of the movie was to show the experience of His crucifixion (I thought to myself... I'm not sure I could walk up that hill to Golgotha and not be winded... let alone do it all scarred and cut... let alone with a big heavy cross... wow... Christ the athelete and a half). But I really wanted to see more of His life.

I don't think I've met a single person who has wanted to see it a second time. And I'm not too sure that I want to. I can watch Jesus Christ Superstar over and over again. I wilil watch Last Temptation whenever its on for the intellectual stimulation. But I have no desire to ever again see a man crucified so graphically. Or to watch my Beloved scourged nearly to death.

It's not that I want to belittle His sacrifice. It's just that I don't want to be entertained by it. The Passion is an experience to be remembered. Not one to be cherished.


I do think that every Christ-follower should experience The Passion.

"Modern" Christianity has watered down both the reality and mystical of our faith. The film does a great job at portraying both. The reality of His blood. The fact that He... nor anyone who knows Him, questions the mysticism of His power. The fear of the earthquake and the realisation of the torn asunder Holy of Holies.

I think everyone should see not what He had to go through... but the determination He had to get to that cross and die for our sins. I've always kind of had the image that he just wound up there... weak and with decreasing care.... just to get through the motions. Instead, the movie shows Him getting up again and again... He wanted to save us. He wanted to take on our sins. He wanted to forgive us. He was determined.

So yeah... The Passion isn't a great date movie or an entertaining movie or the end-all-and-be-all-of-witnessing-tools. But it is something to be experienced. When you're ready. And if I ever were to buy the DVD? It'd be to show my children, when they're ready. Or my friends, if they hadn't seen it. But one torture of my King is enough to watch. I put Him through enough every day with my sins.