Date: Fri Jan 23, 2004 6:08 pm
Subject: [earthchanges] "The Passion"
No matter what faith you are,
this is well worth reading.
Subject: Paul Harvey Comments
on "The Passion"
Paul Harvey Comments on "The
Passion" by Mel Gibson The majority of the media are complaining
about this movie. Now Paul Harvey Tells "The rest of the
story" and David Limbaugh praises Gibson. Most people would
wait and see a movie before giving the reviews that have been
issued by the reporters trying to tell all of us what to believe.
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." You
will be as well. Don't miss it! This is a commentary by DAVID
LIMBAUGH about Mel Gibson's very controversial movie regarding
Christ's crucifixion. It, too, is well worth reading. MEL GIBSON'S
passion for "THE PASSION" How ironic that when a movie
producer takes artistic license with historical events, he is
lionized as artistic, creative and brilliant, but when another
takes special care to be true to the real-life story, he is vilified.
Actor-producer Mel Gibson is discovering these truths the hard
way as he is having difficulty finding a United States studio
or distributor for his upcoming film, "The Passion,"
which depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ.
Gibson co-wrote the script and financed, directed and produced
the movie. For the script, he and his co-author relied on the
New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well
as the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and
Mary of Agreda's "The City of God." Gibson doesn't
want this to be like other sterilized religious epics. "I'm
trying to access the story on a very personal level and trying
to be very real about it." So committed to realistically
portraying what many would consider the most important half-day
in the history of the universe, Gibson even shot the film in
the Aramaic language of the period. In response to objections
that viewers will not be able to understand that language, Gibson
said, "Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the language
barriers with my visual storytelling; if I fail, I fail, but
at least it'll be a monumental failure." To further insure
the accuracy of the work, Gibson has enlisted the counsel of
pastors and theologians, and has received rave reviews. Don Hodel,
president of Focus on the Family, said, "I was very impressed.
The movie is historically and theologically accurate." Ted
Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo.,
and president of the National Evangelical Association, glowed:
"It conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus
was." During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended
Mass every morning because "we had to be squeaky clean just
working on this." From Gibson's perspective, this movie
is not about Mel Gibson. It's bigger than he is. "I'm not
a preacher, and I'm not a pastor," he said. "But I
really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost
was working through me on this film, and I was just directing
traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize." Even
before the release of the movie, scheduled for March 2004, Gibson
is getting his wish. "Everyone who worked on this movie
was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting
to Christianity...[and] people being healed of diseases."
Gibson wants people to understand through the movie, if they
don't already, the incalculable influence Christ has had on the
world. And he grasps that Christ is controversial precisely because
of WHO HE IS -GOD incarnate. "And that's the point of my
film really, to show all that turmoil around him politically
and with religious leaders and the people, all because He is
Who He is." Gibson is beginning to experience first hand
just how controversial Christ is. Critics have not only speciously
challenged the movie's authenticity, but have charged that it
is disparaging to Jews, which Gibson vehemently denies. "This
is not a Christian vs. Jewish thing. '[Jesus] came into the world,
and it knew him not.' Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look
first at my own culpability in that." Jesuit Father William
J. Fulco, who translated the script into Aramaic and Latin, said
he saw no hint of anti-Semitism in the movie. Fulco added, "I
would be aghast at any suggestion that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic."
Nevertheless, certain groups and some in the mainstream press
have been very critical of Gibson's "Passion." The
New York Post's Andrea Peyser chided him: "There is still
time, Mel, to tell the truth." Boston Globe columnist James
Carroll denounced Gibson's literal reading of the biblical accounts.
"Even a faithful repetition of the Gospel stories of the
death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred texts
themselves carry the virus of Jew hatred," wrote Carroll.
A group of Jewish and Christian academics has issued an 18-page
report slamming all aspects of the film, including its undue
emphasis on Christ's passion rather than "a broader vision."
The report disapproves of the movie's treatment of Christ's passion
as historical fact. The moral is that if you want the popular
culture to laud your work on Christ, make sure it either depicts
Him as a homosexual or as an everyday sinner with no particular
redeeming value (literally). In our anti-Christian culture, the
blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is celebrated
and "The Passion" is condemned. But if this movie continues
to affect people the way it is now, no amount of cultural opposition
will suppress its force and its positive impact on lives everywhere.
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