the passion continued

WARNING: Spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie and are worried about having parts of it spoiled for you don't read any more of this.

So I promised I would share some of the things about The Passion that concerned me or gave me pause. Actually, I don't think I promised that but it's what I'm giving anyway.

The movie focused on Christ's crucifixion - from the time He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane through his death on the cross. At the very end you see a resurrected Jesus walk out of the tomb with a smile on His face. Other than that, it is pretty much non-stop violence against Jesus. There are flashbacks like I mentioned to give you a break from the blood, but these flashbacks don't actually do much to explain the WHY of everything you're seeing. And therein lies my biggest concern with the film.

As a Christian, someone who claims to be a follower and disciple of Christ - I have a familiarity with this story and its context. I understand that Jesus was dying for ME, and every other person throughout history. I know that His death was necessary for my salvation - without Him making the sacrifice the film portrayed I would be hopeless in life and through eternity. I understand that "the wages of sin is death" and I love Christ. I understand the character of God to the point where I am able to realize this isn't just a sadistic exercise of His but rather the necessary path for the redemption of humanity.

I wonder, though, what someone with no such Christian context would think of the film. I imagine the response might be something along the lines of "Wow that Jesus went through a lot. He was a great guy and suffered much." Connecting that suffering with themselves, or a sacrifice meant to save them - I'm not sure that would happen without an explanation. And assuming the person knew the basics - that Jesus is supposed to have died for the sake of others, and the forgiveness of our sins. Does that person look at the brutality unleashed on Jesus and say "What the crap? He seems like a loving guy, but what God would put him through that?"

So I'm not sure that the character of God is communicated very clearly here - that God is loving and forgiving. That each lash on Jesus was indeed a stripe on the back of God Himself. That they are watching God in the flesh suffer for them. For me it's a picture of sacrificial love, but for someone else it might just be a picture of suffering and wrath and blood.

I think that this movie will be best for those that already have a faith in Christ or who have "backslidden" in their faith. People who have a glimmer of a background - they remember hearing that Jesus died for them, and maybe at one point in their life even it was real. But now life has gotten in the way and clouded their vision of Christ and His sacrifice. This film will pierce through the fog of everday busy and cut straight to the heart or a person of faith. But for those without faith, or any real conception of God or why this happened - I fear it might confuse, disturb, or at the worst drive them away.

But I don't know. I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on the movie, and how your spiritual background played into it.


Okay so I saw the movie. I won't go into super-depth with reflections and whatnot, be all organized. Instead I'm just going to share a few of my thoughts. I hestitate to say I "enjoyed" the movie. How could I enjoy watching someone suffer for my sins? So instead maybe I should say I was touched by the film. I was touched by the degree of suffering Jesus endured; how he was treated with such contempt, hatred, and violence. I think the parts that made me tear up were actually the non-violent parts though, because they made the violence all the more horrifying.

As I mentioned before I have seen many people beaten up on screen, and I've seen Jim Caviezel in other movies (Count of Monte Cristo, Frequency) so I had to have something else to suspend my disbelief for the film. The way the film is structured, it starts with Jesus being betrayed and taken away for his trials and crucifixion. Interspersed throughout the movie, presumably (and thankfully) to give you breaks from the violence, are flashbacks that give you some kind of frame of reference. Two flashbacks in particular touched me.

The first was with Jesus making a table outside of his house, with his mother Mary inside watching him. He was a grown-up, and full of life. He had a glimmer in his eyes as he worked, and he was brimming with vitality. His mother came out to let him know there was food inside; at first he just keeps on working on the table till he's satisfied that it's finished. It's a tall table so he jokes with her about who will eat at it - then she convinces him to come inside, and just like a mother and a son tells him to "wash his hand" before coming in. The mischevious annoyance with that request is clear in Jesus' eyes and I see Him portrayed here as a more alive person than I ever have. He doesn't somberly say in an English accent "Yea verily mother, I shall come into the house and eat of the porridge you have so graciously prepared for me." No, He has personality! And I was touched with his humanity - especially when the camera cut back from this vital man's smiling face to an eye swollen shut and face bloodied from many blows.

The second flashback that really got me occurred later in the story. Jesus is carrying His cross after having been tortured incredibly - He is weak and faltering. His mother Mary has been following along, and at one point He falls to His knees under the weight of the cross. She is there and sees Him fall - as that happens we are taken to a flashback. We see a child of 5 or 6 running - he falls and skins a knee. We see Mary run to the child and say "it's okay, I'm here, I'm here." Then we flash back to this same mother, years later; the child is grown and He now is bloody all over, more than a knee is skinned. That flashback gave me such a picture of Jesus as a man that I haven't seen before, and it got me good.

So as I watched the movie I was overcome with a sense of unworthiness and thankfulness. I am so thankful to God and Christ for my salvation. I am so not worthy.

I will continue tomorrow with some of my concerns about the film. For now, it's time to make a phone call and head to bed.
the passion

I'm going to the The Passion in a few minutes with my Mom. I am looking forward to seeing it for a couple reasons. Mainly I am looking forward to it because I think that I sometimes forget the suffering Christ went through on my behalf and I hear this movie leaves little room for such things. I am a little afraid of being desensitized to the violence. I have seen people beaten up on camera many times - I wonder if that will affect how I see Jesus portrayed in the film. I also hear from O'Reilly that the violence may become numbing.

Anyway we'll see. Check this out for a little alternate Christian view on the film. A guy that's not very excited about it. We'll see and I'll dump my thoughts on it later. For now I have to split.


Changed the above title bars. No more gangsta Jackson. Instead there should be some smooshed pics of outside and whatnot.
Okay okay, what?! Can that be real?

EDIT: Jesse has informed me that he doesn't care. He's dumb. Anyone with half a brain thinks a 3-year old playing a xylophone rules. Err...anyone with a whole brain thinks they're cool...everyone with less than that...thinks...they're...um...yeah...

So this picture was on the front of Yahoo today...

She looks a little intense and scary.

Just wanted to share that.


I've said many times that I like substitute teaching. And I do, I really do love the job. Sometimes, though, it's less enjoyable than other times. I mentioned before that I'm currently in the midst of a long-term job that will last me until at least March 5th. This is good because every day I'm working I'm making money. This is not good because I have nothing for the students to do. The normal teacher has been out since December and it's woodshop/metalshop/home maintenance. They're supposed to build things - things that they must use tools to construct. In order for them to use such tools, there must be an adult present that possesses certain certifications - certifications I lack. The result? Nothing for them to do. I was able to give them a few book assignments and we may watch some videos next week - but I am basically here all day with kids who are bored out of their minds having to enforce rules I only half-heartedly agree with. I don't blame some of them for being bored and I don't blame them completely for how they react sometimes - I'd want to mess around with wood and vice grips too - but it's my job to tell them not to when they do. And I've got some kind of head cold.

I just feel like complaining. There are worse ways to make money. Just ask Jesse. I'm far too much of a wuss to do the kind of work he does. So I should just keep my trap shut and appreciate what I have.


clear that throat

It's been a few days, pardon my inactivity here. I landed a 'steady' assignment for a few weeks at Washington High, my alma mater. I am subbing for the Metalshop/Woodshop teacher, spending all day with the kinds of kids I avoided like the plague in high school. I can even look at them now and see the different kids I know I would have stayed away from. Kinda funny...their powers are now useless against me.

This steady work is good because it means I'm pulling in the benjamins but there is a bit of annoyance at the fact that I have to be up around 6 every morning - this affects my bedtime. I am actually tired and wanting to head to bed around 10 these nights. Yikes. I do feel productive though; each day work is over by 2:30pm.

I suppose I just wanted to throw a post of no particular content up because it's 1st Period, I don't have a class, and I'm on a Mac that can't handle the the 42nd's forums.

There's a new Holy Observer up!


These kinds of stories are the ones that test my opposition to the death penalty the most.


I rearranged the links on the left a bit. Added Andy's site as well as a few gaming ones, and The Holy Observer. Good stuff.

This is so me in my college days. Not anymore, of course.
i am a mild mannered assassination victim

What Famous Leader Are You?
defining emerging church

From tallskinnykiwi.com as he discusses what this whole "emerging church" thing means to him and how he's seeing it played out.

The real difference lies in a new way of understanding church. When emerging people zoom out to see the whole church, the invisible church, they see church in modular form, as discrete but connected elements working together in a harmonious system. Church life then has more to do with the combination of many activities and projects and events than participation with any single event or commitment that tries to define the church experience.

You could say that the same change has happened to banking. We hardly ever “go to our bank” and no longer have a single banker, but instead utilize a vast range of financial services to manage our assets. As the emerging church becomes more modular, attention moves away from the single event (the worship service in many of our denominations) and relies more on festivals, projects, relational events and spontaneous happenings. The church in its invisible form (source code, to use new media language) is privileged over its visible expression which is seen as temporary and changeable. This may explain why some emerging churches decide not to have a worship service at all but rather a series of interrelated happenings that meet that need. They see church as what they are, rather than what they do.

You can read the entire entry here. This is so easy to read and understand but so hard to do! It's difficult to break out of a mindset you've had your whole life about what church is and how you do it.