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  The Passion of Ideas  
 
The Passion of Ideas
by Subscribers
Click here for a printable version.

Here are the unedited ideas and feedback received from our question...
 
How are you using The Passion of the Christ in your ministry?
 
======
I am a youth leader to about 23 kids in a town of about 900.  We drove to the next town three seperate times to view the Passion of the Christ Movie at the local theatre.
 
After we seen the movie, we then went to the four Gospels and compared the movie to the Written Word, to see how accurate the movie was to the Bible and to see where the director added his own interpretation.  It showed my youth how taking the Bible and just putting a little different spin on the interpretation can actually change the meaning.  It showed them to always refer to what the Bible says and not to take what man's interpretation as being the full truth.
 
The movie really impacted my youth about what Christ went through for each one of them and it also showed them how to be more Christ like they have to have more grace, love, and mercy for other people.
 
Thank You
Chris Richardson
 
========
 
THE PASSION OF CHRIST WAS NOT AN OVER EXAGERATION OF HIS FINAL MOMENTS BUT A WAKE UP CALL TO ALL SLEEPING SO CALLED CHRISTIANS. THOSE WHO THINK THAT THEY CAN CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS AT THEIR CONVENIENCE.THOSE MOVIE CRITICS, SELF ACCLAIMED SCHOLARS, AND THOSE WHO ARE JUST IGNORANT TO THE FACT THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST GAVE!!! HIS LIFE FOR US. YEARS AGO PEOPLE PICTED HIS SUFFERING BY PUTTING A SAD FACE ON SOMEONE PORTRAYING HIM WITH JUST A TEAR ROLLING DOWN HIS FACE.THE REALITY OF IT ALL HE SUFFERED. NOT A SUFFERING LIKE WE EXPERIENCE WHEN A BILL COLLECTOR,FORECLOSING, CHILDBEARING NEWS THAT OUR TEENAGE DAUGHTER IS PREGNANT SUFFERING. OUR SUFFERING WOULD NEVER I MEAN NEVER COMPARE TO THAT OF OUR LORD. I FEEL THAT MEL GIBSON FELT HIS PAIN AS HE DIRECTED THIS FILM. I KNOW I DID WHEN I SAW THE LASHES HE RECEIVED FOR ME AND YOU. I APPLAUDE HIS COURAGE AND FAITH TO TAKE THE MOVIE INDUSTRY TO A HIGHER LEVEL. A LEVEL THAT ONLY TRUE KNEE BENDING FASTING NEVER CEASING PRAYING CHRISTIAN WOULD UNDERSTAND. WHEN WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT WE UNDERSTAND THE SPIRITUAL THINGS. THOSE WHO DO NOT LIVE BY THE SPIRIT CAN NOT UNDERSTAND THE SPIRITUAL THINGS.  I FEEL THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE AND FEEL WHAT JESUS WENT THROUGH IN HIS FINAL HOURS.  UNDERSTANDING THAT IN ORDER FOR US TO RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE AND SALVATION THE SCRIPTURES NEEDE TO BE FULLFILLED.  WE SHOWED THE FILM IN OUR CHURCH TO THE YOUNG AND OLD TOGETHER BEING WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST.  YES OND TEEN BEGAN CRYING HARD. SHE WAS ESCORTED OUTSIDE BY OUR PASTOR FOR A MINUTE. OUR FIRST INSTINCT WAS IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR HER.  HOW WRONG WE WERE. WHEN ASKED WHY SHE CRIED SHE REPONDED "I FELT HIS PAIN AND LOVE FOR ME, WHICH MAD ME SAD AND GRATEFUL FOR WHAT HE DID FOR US. WHEN OUR PASTOR TESTIFIED OF THIS WE REALIZED OUR MISTAKE AND NOT LOOK AT HER TEARS OF FEAR BUT OF THANKFULLNESS. WE WILL CONTINUE TO SHOW THIS FILM PERIODICALLY.  PLEASE DO NOT MISTAKE MY FRANKNESS AS CRITICAL BUT TO ALARM ALL THAT WE NEED TO WAKE UP FROM OUR SLEEP AND TAKE OUR FAITH TO THE NEXT LEVEL... GOD BLESS YOU ALL WHO READ THIS. WE ARE ONE BODY OF CHRIST LET US UNITE OUR FAITH AND PRAY IN UNISON IN ONE ACCORD THAT THIS FILM BRING MORE PEOPLE TO CHRIST...

Joseph
 
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I used clips from The Passion in my Wednesday night teen class to help illustrate the story of the cross better.
 
In Him
Johnny
 
==========
 
When looking at the movie "The Passion of the Christ" I have some extreme reservations with using it in a youth ministry context - or any context for that matter.  Over the years I have prayed through the scriptures and frequently focused on the passion narratives.  The images in prayer and study did not take the many "editorial licenses" that Mel Gibson took in his portrayal of the last hours of Christ's life.  So, I would like to challenge the statement "It was reality."  I believe Gibson's artistic expression in the film exaggerated reality - portraying Jesus as a "super-human."  Ms. Simox in her email reflection stated "This film is violent. It is reality. How are people expecting Christ's crucifixion to be portrayed? Do they think it was a walk in the park, something any human being could endure?"  I take serious issue with this statement.  As much as Jesus was fully God and fully Man - he was fully MAN.  And yes - I believe that a human being (in great shape) should have been able to endure his suffering - otherwise he was not like us - not human!  Can people not see that this takes away from the films credibility?  Although unscientific (from watching the movie) - if you added up all the blood lost, the strength needed to carry his cross (which likely did not even look like the one carried through the streets) I think we take away from the believability of the Passion.  In Gibson's attempt to be "realistic" I would say that he erred and may have made it "unrealistic or unbelievable."  Which leads me to the next issue - why did he make such a violent and bloody portrayal in this film?
 
I have yet to hear a straight answer from Gibson on his "motive(s)" for making the film!  To portray it as it really was...I do not buy.  There are a few unscriptural or out-of-sequence pieces that worked well on the screen, but may not have been true to what we have come to know to be true through scripture or tradition.  Apart from "God calling him to make the movie" I have not heard why - what drove him to make certain editorial choices?  A number of people I have spoken with felt "manipulated" into responding to Christ's suffering, rather than freely invited.  I really struggle with the idea of being "coerced," "manipulated" or "guilted" into faith.  Because he suffered such a horrible death...I must believe, or because he sacrificed so much for me I must sacrifice more for him.  Let's look into our motives and purpose before responding.  My strongest spiritual gift (to date) that I have been given is faith.  And maybe that's why I feel uneasy when it is so forcibly impressed on me through this movie.  I honestly believe that someone should not have to watch this movie...and be left to scream "enough - OK I believe - turn it off!"  Sounds like a cry from a torture chamber.  We are all freely invited to receive Christ into our lives and free to accept him.  Otherwise, it is no different that watching the starving children on TV, the evangelist breaking down with mascara running down her cheeks, or the offer of free steak knives with every pledge.  To be a follower or believer in Jesus - it must be free.  Jesus has done MANY other things expressing his great love - in addition to his suffering on the cross.  His goal was not to suffer on the cross - so that we might believe, but rather through his suffering, death and resurrection be brought to the fullness of life in/with/through him.
 
An artist has his ability to take a film whatever way he wishes.  In some senses, this may not be much different than Godspell, The Last Temptation of Christ or Jesus of Montreal.  In each one of this artistic films about Christ - they take licenses to prove a point.  Gibson's was made to show the extreme sacrifice and suffering of Jesus in his last days.  However, as with the other films I list here...there are certain things which are unbalanced, untrue, unsupported through scripture - they are "what if's" or "visions of the director" brought to life.  None of these movies are suitable to be a complete teaching tool, catechetical work, or foundation for a bible study.  We can do much better than that.
 
When it comes to youth and youth ministry.  I am very cautious about what I use as a tool for discussion and images used to influence - since many of them are so impressionable and easily influenced.  If I am to place an image that may last a lifetime in their minds...I want to make sure that it is real and true.  I am not convinced that the "way" it happened was as Gibson portrayed it.  We cannot deny Jesus was beaten before his death...but none of us were there...and we can only take historical extrapolations to create some images...but they are extrapolations!  I can think of some movies like "The Ten Commandments" - I know a number of people whose scriptural images are now set to conform with the movie...rather than the other way around.  Moses looked like Charleston Hesston and the plagues were as they saw it on TV.  Rather, let God himself place the image in our minds through prayerful reflection on the scriptures.  The Holy Spirit can/will do a much better job than any movie!  I am worried that this might be the case with the Passion of the Christ also.
 
My bottom line - when it comes to movies like this I will not show them to minors - even with parental consent.  It is up to their parents to show them the film and discuss it if that is their wish as the primary educators and instructors of their children.  I would be willing to discuss it with them (parents and/or youth), but not lead a screening of the film myself.  It is more appropriate for young adults and college students (and older) who already have a foundation and have read the scriptures prior to seeing the film.  They have formed images in their mind and have a frame of reference before receiving the challenge of alternate images.  I also see a danger:  it would be a real shame for people to accuse (one Christian to another) that they have to believe this film (insisting it was the way it was - reality) in order to be a Christian.  I am not obligated to believe everything about this film in order to be a Christian, nor by denying anything in the film am I denying Christ!  I challenge the movie and it's artistic interpretation, not the truths of the Gospel.  Let us be careful of being a martyr for Gibson's movie, rather than for Christ himself!
 
As a Youth Minister, I would rather be living as a witness and testimony to Jesus - his life, passion, death and resurrection - by example.  More young people have come to believe in Jesus and his saving truth through incarnational/relational ministry than through a movie.  Our positive role modeling goes a long way - farther than this movie will ever go.  A wise man in the field of youth ministry - Frank Mercadante - says in his book "Positively Dangerous" that we can attract people to God primarily by: 1) Loving God, 2) Loving our Neighbour, 3) Being Authentic, 4) Being a Person of Integrity, 5) Being on Call 24/7 for service as the Holy Spirit works in/through our life.  Rather than get further bent out of shape about this movie and all its baggage...I now rededicate myself to being a full-disciple of Jesus in my ministry and personal life.  May God use me to spread his message of truth about God to all those I meet - believers or non-believers alike.

Your brother in Christ,
 
Warren Dungen, Director
Diocesan Youth Ministries / Diocese of Prince Albert
============
 
I have not seen it.  I am aware of the suffering of Jesus, perhaps not to
the depth this movie portrays, but as much as I feel like I should handle.
With personal suffering in my life, no more than anyone else though, the
intensity of this movie, I think, would leave me too upset.  Not everyone
has the mental stability to handle this.  My family also suggested I not see
it.
Betty Crestwood, Kentucky.
 
===============
 
 
I've got to say that this film moved me tremendously! I have been raised in a Christian home and I still felt like I was just understanding what Jesus really did for us. I don't remember anything else that has had more effect on my personal commitment to Christ than what this movie showed me. It gave me a more complete understanding of the weight of our sin did to Him. Thank you Jesus for dying for us!! 
 
David
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Originally Posted: 09 at 6
Last Updated: 09 at 11

Click here for a printable version.





 
     
  

 

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