[anzac] "THE PASSION" IMPACTS WASHINGTON

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 23:24:50 +1300
Forwarded by:           MichaelEdds@...
Date sent:      	Sun, 18 Jan 2004 17:15:23 EST

Mel Gibson's "The Passion" Impacts Washington 
-Paul Harvey.

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.

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.
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(2) Comment by DAVID LIMBAUGH:

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.

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." 

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 "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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