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  • The Passion

    Paul Harvey Comments on "The Passion" by Mel Gibson
    Paul Harvey's words:

    I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have
    been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions.

    I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion," held in
    Washington, DC and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened.

    From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.

    In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an
    artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, DC were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing.

    I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth.

    One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the
    weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face.
    Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and passionately loving
    eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new."

    These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love.

    At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to
    recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be 'anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer.

    A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely
    presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree.

    There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way.

    Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who
    identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art.

    Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it.

    After all, we believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.

    We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel
    narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion." It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The Passion."

    Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know about this film so that all go see it when it comes out.

    P.S. From Julie: My daughter, Kristin, tells me they learned
    at her church Youth Group that Mel Gilbson stated he did not appear in
    his own movie, by his choice, with one exception: It is Gibson's hands seen nailing Jesus to the cross. Gibson said he wanted to do that because it was indeed his own hands that nailed Jesus to the cross (along with all of ours.)

  • #2
    Paul Harvey Comments on "The Passion" by Mel Gibson
    Paul Harvey's words:

    I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have
    been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions.

    I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion," held in
    Washington, DC and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened.

    From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.

    In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an
    artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, DC were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing.

    I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth.

    One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the
    weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face.
    Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and passionately loving
    eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new."

    These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love.

    At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to
    recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be 'anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer.

    A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely
    presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree.

    There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way.

    Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who
    identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art.

    Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it.

    After all, we believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.

    We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel
    narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion." It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The Passion."

    Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know about this film so that all go see it when it comes out.

    P.S. From Julie: My daughter, Kristin, tells me they learned
    at her church Youth Group that Mel Gilbson stated he did not appear in
    his own movie, by his choice, with one exception: It is Gibson's hands seen nailing Jesus to the cross. Gibson said he wanted to do that because it was indeed his own hands that nailed Jesus to the cross (along with all of ours.)

    Comment


    • #3
      That is a great article, but it has been misattributed to Paul Harvey, the author is Keith A Fournier, a constitutional lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University and the University of Pittsburgh. He deserves the credit.

      -Mark

      Comment


      • #4
        quote:
        Originally posted by Naturist Mark:
        [qb] That is a great article, but it has been misattributed to Paul Harvey, the author is Keith A Fournier, a constitutional lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University and the University of Pittsburgh. He deserves the credit.

        -Mark [/qb]
        Thanks Mark...Even if it was not written by Paul Harvey, it is a very good article. I would be interesed to get opinions here from those who may have seen the film. I usually don't go to theaters myself, but I think in this case I may make an exception. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a few questions/comments concerning the movie, which I have no intention of seeing. No major reason, just doesn't appeal to me.

          The first one is why so many Christians are suddenly so passionate (no pun intended) about seeing a movie directed by Mel Gibson? It is almost like he has suddenly become akin to a saint who could do no wrong in telling the story. I understand the subject is what they are interested in, but many religious movies have come and gone.

          Also related to that quetsion is why some parents and church leaders would suggets that this movie, which is rated-R, is fine for children? I would think that all of the violence would negatively affect some children just as regular movie violence affects them. And this is worse. But as Mel Gibson mentioned, there is no gratuitous violence.

          What if the idea was not excess violence but excess nudity? What if someone made a movie about Adam and Eve and the fall from Grace? And in the movie, Adam and Eve were as the Bible said, naked and innocent? Would there still be a crush to allow children to watch the movie with all of the nudity?

          Another is that many people have suggested that the movie is very accurate to the story as written in the Bible. But I have heard that Jesus was crucified on the cross naked. From the trailers that I have seen, he has a covering or do they strip him after they put him in place?

          Bob S.

          Comment


          • #6
            A true depiction of Adam and Eve in their complete nude glory...Now there's a movie I'd like to see and probably recommend for children of all ages....I am interested in hearing reviews from people who have actually seen this movie...Our newspaper critic gave it a C...Lets here it moviegoers...Odb [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:
              The first one is why so many Christians are suddenly so passionate (no pun intended) about seeing a movie directed by Mel Gibson? It is almost like he has suddenly become akin to a saint who could do no wrong in telling the story. I understand the subject is what they are interested in, but many religious movies have come and gone.

              Well, Mel Gibson has made a lot of pretty good movies and certainly is not your average Hollywood star. I'm not saying I approve of certain views he holds, but I do credit him with having relatively unique perspective. (I'm assuming here that the anti-Semitic allegations are false.)

              quote:
              Also related to that quetsion is why some parents and church leaders would suggets that this movie, which is rated-R, is fine for children? I would think that all of the violence would negatively affect some children just as regular movie violence affects them. And this is worse. But as Mel Gibson mentioned, there is no gratuitous violence.
              Assuming the movie is as violent as I've heard, I would NOT think children (14 and under) should see it no matter what its redeeming features (they could perhaps see an edited version now and the full version when they're old enough). Though requisite violence is more acceptable than gratuitious violence, that wouldn't change my opinion in this case.

              quote:
              Another is that many people have suggested that the movie is very accurate to the story as written in the Bible. But I have heard that Jesus was crucified on the cross naked. From the trailers that I have seen, he has a covering or do they strip him after they put him in place?
              Good question!

              quote:
              What if the idea was not excess violence but excess nudity? What if someone made a movie about Adam and Eve and the fall from Grace? And in the movie, Adam and Eve were as the Bible said, naked and innocent? Would there still be a crush to allow children to watch the movie with all of the nudity?

              I'm not sure what "excess violence" would be. The level of violence has to be appropriate for the subject matter, which may be justifiable in this case. One commentor, a Catholic priest who has seen the film, felt the violence was out of proportion to the Gospel account.

              I'm not sure what "excess nudity" would be. Can one have excess nudity except maybe where it is harmful due to environmental conditions?

              If a realistic movie about Adam and Eve (or Christ) was ever made, I suspect most North American social conservative Christians would be be horrified about any depiction of full nudity and want it banned, never mind letting their children see it. As an aside, one of the BEST versions of Adam and Eve I've ever seen was Hanna-Barbera's "The Creation":
              http://www.0ne-shop.com/vhs/Genres/Animation/Religious/Christian/P-0000000a000057645a5364565a6b5456/Greatest-Adventure-Stories-from-the-Bible-The-Creation/Greatest-Adventure-Storie s-from-the-Bible-The-Creation.php
              (While the characters are obviously naked, Eve's long hair and foliage coincidentally cover up their dangly bits throughout.)

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:
                Originally posted by Bob S.:
                [qb] I have a few questions/comments concerning the movie, which I have no intention of seeing. No major reason, just doesn't appeal to me.

                The first one is why so many Christians are suddenly so passionate (no pun intended) about seeing a movie directed by Mel Gibson? It is almost like he has suddenly become akin to a saint who could do no wrong in telling the story. I understand the subject is what they are interested in, but many religious movies have come and gone.


                Bob S. [/qb]
                I have followed this story closed since before they cast the film. Mel Gibson is not a saint, but he is a man on a mission. While he is a successful Hollywood actor, he is very unHollywood in his every day life.

                Mel Gibson is a devout Roman Catholic and has a large family and a long time wife to whom he is devoted. Those things make him different from your everyday superstar.

                He has wanted to make this movie for many years. He could not get any help in Hollywood. He ended up in putting up $25 million of his own money to begin production. He took many risks along the way.

                He continued to have trouble getting any supporters and as of last fall he had no distributor.

                Word has spread largely by the pre-screenings and the reactions to them. It is being distributed and is released today. There is some promotion, but not nearly the hype that even modest movies get.

                I find it interesting that people are opposed the making of it, were skeptical all the way along and now are criticizing Gibson for making a graphic, and realistic movie about the foremost person in all of history. Whether you believe it or not, you have to admit the story is compelling.

                The story was not made to be a blockbuster, although initially it looks that it may be an unlikely hit. It is told in Aramaic with subtitles. It is graphic and not pretty to look at. The music is haunting, not greatest hit material. The whipping scene goes on for a long time. It is sure to turn people off. In short, Mel did everything that he could to make it realistic and nothing to make it a Hollywood smash hit.

                In the whipping scene, the actor who plays Jesus is being flailed. He had a metal plate on his back. One of the lashings hit his bare skin, leaving a nine inch scar. James Caviezel said that he could feel the breath being sucked out of him such that he thought that he would die. That was from a single lash of the whip. Think of how many Jesus endured!

                As for charges of anti-semitism, the fact that he was crucified by the Jews is hardly news. Some will argue that he wasn't really. It was the Romans who did it.

                Jesus was crucified by the Romans against their own better instincts at the request of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing council. When pardon was offered the Jewish mob insisted that Jesus die. That is history. You can't change it or tidy it up.

                It should not be blamed on the Jews, however. They are God's chosen people. The crucifiction was foretold by the prophets. It was necessary for the remission of sins and the salvation of all believers.

                I plan on seeing the movie, although I am probably the most sqeamish person on the planet. I owe it to my Savior to see, hear and feel what He endured for me.

                _________________________________


                "I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes"--Charles Spurgeon

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I replied, I was not interested in the controversy surrounding anti-semitism. Those who are anti-semites will find this movie to prove their side, those who are not will use this movie to prove that their is no reason to be anti-semitic.

                  "I'm not sure what "excess violence" would be...I'm not sure what "excess nudity" would be."

                  With those terms hm, I was using traditional societal usage. One of the charges against this movie is that the violence, the whippings, are so excessive that some moviegoers may be turned off. So what if the argument was that there was excessive nudity (as would be used in other movies)?

                  And just so you know, I do not plan to watch the movie. Tis not my cup o' tea.

                  Bob S.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:
                    One of the charges against this movie is that the violence, the whippings, are so excessive that some moviegoers may be turned off.
                    Just for the record, I am concerned (without having seen it) that the movie is too violent. As a Christian, I know that too many co-religionists have an unhealthy obsession with suffering. To me, one of the beneficial aspects of religious belief should be the ablility to deal with suffering to a degree at least where one can be more joyful than despairing. While there is a time for suffering, there should be time, more time, for joy. Unfortunately, too many religious people I know get so involved in the suffering part, they almost seem to disdain the joy part as if doing so was a sin. Worse, they can consider their moral duty to ensure others are receiving their share of adequate suffering.

                    And I'm not just talking about individuals, most of us know of unfounded rules some churches impose that seem to have no good reason other than keeping people from getting too happy. As I recall, at least in pre-Vatican II times, certain orders of priests had to wear a miniature barbed wire around one ankle, no doubt to continually remind them of the suffering of Christ.

                    So one concern I have with the movie (without having seen it) is its potentially unbalanced focus on suffering and the sort of unhealthy mindset that implies and promotes. It would be nice if Mel's next movie could be joyful and violence-free.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      FYI, a review of "The Passion of the Christ" from one of my favourite religion web sites:
                      http://christianity.about.com/cs/the.../a/passion.htm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I really appreciate the review which you cited. I have felt that I really did not want to go and see the movie because it was entirely based upon the last few hours of Christ's life. That gives nothing to what is the real foundation of my belief. Henderson has expressed that feeling much more eloquently than I ever could.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Aside from the spiritual value, some of us want to see the movie for political reasons.

                          Mr. Gibson took a huge chance with his career by basically doing an end-run around the established Hollywood hierarchy. He spent $50 million of his own money to bring this movie to the screen. Yesterday "unnamed Hollywood executives" stated they would never work with him again. I support him for having guts.

                          Even if I do not find the time to see the movie, I will still purchase a ticket, then throw it away.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Everyone,
                            Here's some of my concerns about the movie. I will say I haven't seen it and will probably not see it in the theaters.

                            My first concern is the level of violence. Have we degraded as a society that the only way we can show the suffering of the cross is by being as graphic as possible? What's next? A movie about King David with an NC-17 rating with a graphic sex scene of David and Bathsheba because "It is as it was"? Will the evangelicals be sending their flock to see that?

                            I also have a concern about the odd way it's being promoted. There seems to be an almost deliberate attempt by some Christians to put out false endorsements. First was the claim by one of the movie's producers, Steve McEveety, that Pope John Paul II has said, "It is as it was." Later, the Vatican said he had not said that or endorsed the movie. Now there's the endorsement credited to Paul Harvey but wasn't (I don't fault HW. Someone doctored that before she got it without her knowledge).

                            My next concern is the importance placed on His suffering and death rather than the Resurrection by this movie. While His suffering is important it's only important because of the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:14 Paul wrote,"...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain."

                            I'm not trying to say someone shouldn't see it. But I think only adults should due to the violence. And if you do see go see it go back and read the bible. Especially the parts before and after the Passion. As Paul Harvey would say for "the rest of the story".
                            God bless,
                            NuTex

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NE Alan: Mr. Gibson took a huge chance with his career by basically doing an end-run around the established Hollywood hierarchy. He spent $50 million of his own money to bring this movie to the screen. Yesterday "unnamed Hollywood executives" stated they would never work with him again. I support him for having guts.

                              But look at them now. They are frowning on him as he laughs his way to the bank. Also, from what I understand, he spent $30 million and on the first days showings, the gross receipts were $23.6 million. I am not disputing the figures, it's just another source I read. There are also those who gave him a hard time, calling it anti-sematic. They have since did an about face and are now crediting him for the picture.

                              I plan on watching the picture, not because of it's religious theme, but because if the picture is anything like the others that he produced and starred in (Braveheart), the acting is supurb, with a great storyline.

                              Comment

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