Tag Archives: Jesus in film

Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ

A PACIFIST HIJACKING

 

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was the very last day that Netflix would make available (according to my sources, could be wrong)Mel Gibson‘s The Passion Of The Christ. I have heard the worst and best that this movie had to offer. Was it going to be anti-semitic kinda like Gibson’s tendencies? Was it going to be heartwrenching and moving, taking me closer to the Almighty? The point of the violence, well the point of all movies, television, and visual media like them (YouTube videos,etc.) is to move us emotionally from one place to where the director wants us. When The Passion first came out, it was all about EMOTION EMOTION EMOTION. Isn’t it sad how Jesus was beaten, and bruised, and crucified for our sins?

Well, I would have been saddened if I had not been familiar with the story of the crucifixion. The problem is not the movie The Passion of The Christ itself, but the bad theology of the Cross that American civil religion has. American civil religion wants us to only talk about the Crucifixion during Eastertide, and really, some churches can’t even do that much during Holy Week. So I finally overcame my fear and watched this movie all the way through, and this is what I have to say. This is movie is not anti-Semitic, in fact, it went out of its way to have Jewish leaders have a vibrant debate about Jesus’ claims. The Roman Empire for the first 15 minutes were invisible, but after that, they were pretty prominent, and though a little to cheery of interpretation for my tastes (no mention of Roman polytheism with little mention of oppression, etc), I felt the depiction was okay.

The theology of the movie was left to be desired. The demonic baby held by satan was unnecessary, and while the Evil one definitely plays a role in Christian atonement theories, because this film was biased toward Substitutionary Atonement, the devil’s role was somewhat diminished from the classical/Christus Victor view. I was not moved by the violence or gory white body of Gibson’s Jesus; I was much more touched by Jesus’ teachings, to love our enemies, and forgive those who persecute us, the idea that eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth was not to be given over for the ethic of enemy love.

Anti-violence can be found in the Christus Victor atonement theory, the idea that the Son of God overcomes sin, disobedience, Satan, and death in one deed paints a beautiful picture of just how much God loves us. I really believe that a film like “The Victory Of Jesus of Nazareth” would work. For more on this view, I recommend a recent video series by evangelical preacher Greg Boyd: Penal Substitution Vs Christus Victor.

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Movie Review: Tron: Legacy

TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY AND LIBERTARIAN POLITICS GONE WILD?

I know this post is two days late, but I just wanted to recommend Disney‘s Tron: Legacy.  I enjoyed every minute of it even though I have yet to see the original Tron (Blockbuster video and all other movie stores were mysteriously sold out).

A few thoughts from a political theology perspective:

POLITICS:

First, from the opening credits up until half-way through the movie, it could sound pretty moralizing for people who do not believe in Net Neutrality or  free and open sources for computers.  The stance for a truly free market and transparency on the part of technology providing companies has a libertarian element to it, and in a good way.  I also felt that there was a libertarian bent in the politics of Tron:Legacy during second half of the film, with its critique of empire building, and the notion that Clu planned to codify programs in his own image in order to make the “perfect” society. It speaks volumes about humanity’s desire for sin and sameness.

THEOLOGY:

As a trinitarian Christian, I felt that there could be a possible subjective interpretation of the Holy Trinity in Tron: Legacy. The Creator, Kevin Flynn/ His Son, Sam Flynn, and the Holy Spirit as the Isotopic Bond that binds them together/ Quorra work together to save the world from being taken over by The Grid.  Of course, Tron (the character) would have to act as the Angel of YHWH since he only works for the Users.

POSTCOLONIAL CRITIQUE:

Garret Hedlund, who plays Sam Flynn, did not look like a 27 year old (this coming from me who is a year older than 27), but more like a 23 or 24 year old for some reason, maybe it was the fashion the costume designers were looking for or what, but I don’t think he pulled of 27, I’m sorry. Well, no I’m not.  But speaking of maleness, aging, and maturity, I think the whole “Boy-acts immature, free and chaotic-but at the ends, matures and becomes a hero before he enters the mainstream”  story was a bit over-done. Well, it seems to be over done in many US American movies.  Ugh, the Man-Boy child all grown up gets quite polemical.  I do not see anything wrong with being liberated outside of mainstream society as long as no one else gets hurt. Oh wait, there’s that libertarian and nonconformist speaking again. I mean, seriously, can we please stop with the whole Wedding Crashers/American Pie sagas and move on?  I get it, men who act like boys have to go through an adventure, and then once their quest is complete, voila, they are allowed to enter mainstream society, graduating from college, getting married, oh, and also taking over their father’s corporation (all of which any good citizen should do, you know).  And for the love of God, could action movies exclude the post-modern vomiting of the 1920’s damsel in distress, which entails rather than have lead women play victims throughout the movie, these ladies are introduced as strong, intelligent, heroines but in the end, their character becomes that damsel in distress who falls in love with the man boy-who-becomes-manhero?

Seriously.

Oh, and I would also recommend James McGrath’s posts on Tron: Legacy so far. He plans to do at least one on the film and Zen Buddhism.

Here.

here.

and here.

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B(romances) of the Bible

Ok, this is obviously tongue-in-cheek, and is actually just a primer for future expansion, but we present for your review and update – What Hollywood movies would best represent these (B)Romances of the Bible (expanded to include relationships of all types).

Satan and Eve – indecent proposal

Noah and Ham- The Hangover

Abraham and Hagar – The Jerk

Lot and his Daughters – The (2×20=)40 year old Virgins

Jacob and Rachel and Leah – Sister act

Joseph and his brothers – the dirty dozen, 12 angry men

Moses and YHWH- Yes Man
Moses and Pharaoh – o brother where art thou
Zipporah and Gershom (her and Moses’s son) – Blade

Moses and the Promised Land – No Country for Old Man

Judges- The Book Of Eli

Ruth and Naomi – Thelma and Louise

David and Jonathan- I Love You, Man
Lover and Beloved – The Girl Next Door

Ahab and Jezebel – Superbad (Elijah can be McLovin)

Hosea and Gomer – Working Girl
Esther and King Xerxes – Princess Bride

King Cyrus, Nehemiah and Ezra- Old School

YHWH and Hebrew People- Me, Myself, and Israel
Mary and Joseph – Something About Mary (yes we did)
Mary and Elizabeth – Knocked up

Jesus and Mary- Wedding Crashers
James and John – Dumb and Dumber

Judas and the Temple Leaders – For a Few Dollars More
Jesus and Pilate – Silence of the Lamb

Peter and Paul – The Odd Couple

We look forward to your additions!