Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mel Gibson

I was going to do a different post today, but it's worth being reactive as well as proactive every once in a while.

Apparently, Mel Gibson, an ex-alcoholic, got himself very drunk, went for a drive (with a bottle), got arrested and came out with a bit of a tirade against Jews. This is the same Mel Gibson who rose to prominence in that violent and not especially happy film Mad Max, but who more recently has turned back to his Roman Catholicism and directed The Passion of the Christ, which also annoyed the Jews.

Quick diversion - was The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic? Well, it strongly suggests that when God became man, that man was Jewish. And it says that the people around him killed him. Some of those people were Jews, but not all the Jews were guilty. Some of those people were Romans. In fact, it's the Romans who dish out almost all of the violence. Who actually nails Jesus to the cross? Actually, in the film, it's Mel Gibson. The film is significantly less anti-Semitic than, say, The Life of Brian. It certainly doesn't go beyond what the Bible says in terms of anti-Semitism. I do see NT Wright's point (I think it was him), who said that the word "Jew" in the New Testament might be better translated "Judean" to make it clear that these were people 2000 years ago, and it wasn't the current Jews who did it, just like it wasn't the current Italians.

Mel Gibson then. What he did was wrong. Well, duh. But I don't recall him ever claiming to be perfect. What I recall is a recovering alcoholic (always at risk of falling backwards again) who seemed to have found that although he was guilty as anything, although in a sense he was the one who crucified Jesus, that Jesus could forgive him.

I don't know exactly where Mel Gibson stands with Jesus. But I do know that Christians aren't perfect people - we're forgiven people. And that isn't because we're better than anyone else; it's because God is a very gracious and forgiving God, who has dealt with the fact we always mess up by sending Jesus to die in our place.

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