Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Passion

I haven’t seen “The Passion of the Christ” yet, although I hope to within the next couple of days. I think this movie could be powerfully used in the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. At the same time, this movie could be also have little if any effect at all, if either of these two possibilities gains prominence:

The “Passion of the Christ” will be waste of time if all it does is degenerate into a bunch of Christians having an academic/theoretical discussion on whether or not we approve of how Mel presented the story, in the way we think he should have.

I think that any expectation that this movie should deliver “the whole enchilada” is missing the point. I’m looking forward to this being a great door-opener in discussion about Jesus. Any “filling in the blanks” on Jesus’ life and teaching is our responsibility, not Mel Gibson’s.

The other danger is if we get all anal-retentive and try to force conversations out of the movie to go in some sort of pre-packaged “steps to conversion” program (and there are already plenty of Christian marketing companies producing “Passion Evangelism” kits, t-shirts, and — wait for it — “Passion jewelry”; ugh).

After a movie like this, we need to continue to listen, even more than before, to peoples' reactions and stories, and remember that the journey provides opportunity for many "little sowings" (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23). This movie does not have to be the “make it or break it” point in evangelism, but it can provide an opportunity for much discussion and dialogue around pints or lattes. Let the Spirit guide you in your conversations, but relax, okay?