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Sunday, March 14, 2004

Damn with effusive praise.

The Boston Globe published several letters about The Passion of the Christ today — including a good one from Unitarian Universalist minister Erik Walker Wikstrom, author of Teacher, Guide, Companion and a recent UU World cover story about Jesus — but this one is much more revealing than the writer knows:

I've just gotten home from seeing the film. Am I numb? Yes. Am I spent? Yes. Am I in emotional turmoil? Yes. Do I think it went over the top? Yes! If you are not strong emotionally, do not see this movie. If you are not prepared to feel with every ounce of your being do not see this movie. If you are not prepared to be touched on an emotional and spiritual realm you never knew existed, do not see this movie.

However, if you are a believer, you must see this movie. I, in my life, have never ever been so deeply affected by anything.

During the movie I sat in stunned silence. I felt every beat of the stick against Christ's body, every whip, every nail that was driven into him, when they pounded the crown of thorns into his skull, I felt it. I mourned what was done to this man in a way that I have never done before.

More so, I related to his mother. Having to sit back and watch your child suffer like this goes beyond what is expected of a human being. My sorrow knows no bounds now. My emotional being is scarred forever. My love of Jesus has multiplied by about 1,000 percent if that is humanly possible.

As for the violence, be warned: The movie is most definitely not for the faint of heart. And yes, it most definitely did go overboard at points. My husband who is a semi-believer, well let's just say that for the 15-minute car ride home, we couldn't even speak. When we got into the house, he was as pale as a man could be.

Then we talked, and for all of his non-belief, well, you can throw that out of the window now. He was sickened by what was done to Jesus. He came away from this movie with exactly what Mel Gibson intended. He was touched. He was provoked to believe.

I have to admit that there is a part of me that wishes I had never seen the movie. I will never be able to get those images out of my head. However there are some images I don't want to lose. Let me explain. If there was ever a man who was predestined to play this part it was Jim Caviezel. There are points in this movie you would swear that you truly were looking at the face of the most holy man on Earth.

At the very end of the movie, there is a blank background with a profile shot of Caviezel as Jesus Christ. Now try picturing in your head every portrait you have ever seen of Jesus, and you just might come close to that last shot. I don't know how Gibson accomplished this, but all I can say is "Wow, amazing!" Now I will tell you what we witnessed: During one particularly brutal scene, one woman rose from her seat and started running for the exit, she tripped, and whacked her head on the railing. I only tell you this so that you might grasp what's in store when you go see this movie.

So, if you think you handle being tapped into emotionally, being drained of everything, and being sorrowful, then go see it.

There is magnificence in this movie, brilliance, genius, and beauty, but there is also violence beyond your wildest imagination. If you thought Gibson made "Braveheart" violent, well, let's just say that movie looks like "Mary Poppins" next to this one.

Yes, it was taken over the top in some spots. Was it necessary? Not completely. But in certain spots in the film, maybe it was. It did make you think.

As far as the movie pinning the crucifixion on the Jews, that's pure rubbish. One could never watch this movie and think that's what Gibson has intended Nothing could be farther from the truth. He played it so you saw both sides of the coin. Yes, it was the Jews who called for the crucifixion, but it was the Romans who actually did it. So who is to blame? Mankind. After all, isn't that who Jesus died for?


Okay . . . She actually sounds traumatized to me, but that's not to say she hasn't also had a religious experience. It's just that not every sort of religious experience is good for the soul.

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 14 March 2004 at 9:58 PM

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March 15, 2004 09:22 PM | Permalink for this comment

Pretty amazing letter. A Jesus who looks like Fabio is the real deal.

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