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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Passion opens today
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ opens today, and despite the grumblings of critics, the commotion of the ADL and the disgusting venom of people no one cares about, thousands of Americans will see the movie. Some of them will be changed forever. As someone who's been following this movie since before it had subtitles, I've been paying pretty close attention to the recent developments. I'm looking forward to seeing it sometime here, and have already talked to someone who saw it Monday.

So these are my thoughts going into it--this is not a movie, not in the traditional sense. It utilizes the medium of "motion picture" but it is not a movie, per se. It is filmed religious iconography, a moving stained glass window--it is a passion play. People going into it expecting a traditional movie will be disappointed. But I'm okay with that.

One of the most interesting things about this movie is how it has driven the previously standard movie star Mel Gibson to becoming a flaming, Bibl-thumping Jesus freak. And not because he has changed, but because by doing something he thought God wanted him to do, he has put himself into a position where he is required to explain and defend his faith. I think it is an instructive lesson for all us Christians, and this sort of thing can happen to all of us.

Imagine Joe Christian who works in an office for GeneriCo. Joe doesn't talk much about his faith, but he doesn't try to hide it, either. Everyone know's he's a Christian, but the details of it just don't come up. But then one day, Joe feels called to use his next vacation on a mission trip to Haiti. A couple days later at the water cooler, Jill Agnostic asks Joe what he's doing for his upcoming vacation. "Oh," says Joe, a smidgen uncomfortable but also glad to be asked, "I'm going to Haiti." "Haiti!" exclaims Jill, "why would you go there?" And so Joe explains himself, defends himself, and shares his faith. From then on, everyone in the office sees him in a different light. Not because he changed, but because he acted on his faith in a way that brought it to the surface. This has happened to Gibson on a grand scale.

Incidentally, I think Gibson and I would get along pretty well. Not just because of the movie he made, but also because he has the most involved guest appearance on The Simpsons that I have ever seen.

National Review Online has good Passion coverage--I suggest this quick article by Ralph Winter, the producer of the two X-Men movies, and this moving piece by NR editor Ramesh Ponnuru.
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