Did 'The Passion' Fulfill Its Promise?
They said the movie might convert millions, wreck Jewish-Christian relations, ruin Mel. Which predictions came true?
By Kimberly Winston
I couldn't help noticing reference to another book on the film, half-way through this excerpt:
When the film first appeared, Dr. Robert M. Franklin, a professor of social ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, wrote that he thought it would have great resonance within the African-American community because it depicted a darker-skinned Jesus who is brutalized in a way that resembled the beatings of black slaves.It looks like the release date for that book 1 October. More anon.
"There was an appreciation for introducing a larger American audience to the Jesus that blacks have known and loved for centuries," Franklin said. "That finally the exalted Christ has been brought back to earth as a vulnerable, broken, wounded healer."
But whether it brought more African-Americans into church "is hard to say," he continued. "I haven’t heard there has been significant attraction among the unchurched population and I know that was on the agenda for many. But I have not seen that in the African-American community."
That does not surprise S. Brent Plate, editor of "Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics" (Palgrave & Macmillan, 2004). When the movie first appeared, he doubted it would lead to America’s Third Great Awakening--a massive religious revival--and doubts the DVD and VHS will have more success.
"It has helped get certain people into church, but a Great Awakening goes beyond getting people into pews," Plate said. "It is about discipleship. It goes beyond saying ‘I am a Christian’ to living their life the way Christ did."
On that, he says, "the verdict is still out."
Also on Beliefnet is one of those fun quizzes that tells you where you figure on the scale:
Are you a 'Passion' Christian?
I scored pretty low, 41 out of 100, "You may have responded to parts of "The Passion," but likely felt that it didn't fully capture your vision of Jesus and his message. The film's violence and focus on pain may have troubled you." I think I confused it a bit with my answers.