At long last I was able to see The Passion of the Christ last night while in Orlando. Prior to seeing the film I had discussed the movie with family, friends, and my wife (who saw it last week while I stayed home with the kids) as well as read and seen some of the commentary in the press and so was not surprised in the general way the story unfolded. If you haven't seen the movie you may want to stop reading as this post will certainly give some of it away. A few points:
To add a note about the viewing experience itself, I was shocked when I attended the movie in Orlando because of the rudeness of many in the theatre. The theatre was small, about Â¾ full with several groups of teenagers. Throughout the movie cell phones would ring, people would talk in normal voice to friends, and get up and move about the theatre to various seats. Not having been to this part of Orlando to see a movie before I was waiting for a local (an older couple sitting near me for example) to act annoyed and perhaps get the manager. No one appeared disturbed by the behavior so I assume it is a normal occurrence. The contrast between the irreverent behavior of the teenagers and subject matter of the film could not have been greater. I hate to sound like one of those people who think everything is going to the dogs but I'll have to admit I was a bit discouraged by what I saw.
In the final analysis if you are a Christian I can't imagine that you won't find the movie both enlightening and an impetus for taking stock of what your Christianity means. It is easy for a Christian to give intellectual assent to the idea that Christ had to die for my sins, it's something else to be given a glimpse (however flawed) of how that translated into a real event in space and time. After all, Christianity is not a religion based merely on moral platitudes and high minded ideals. As C. S. Lewis said, its' central fact is that God became man so that men could become sons of God. This process was carried out not only or even merely in a spiritual sense but through the sacrifice of a flesh and blood man.