Easter (at least Good Friday) is an historical event that just isn’t Hallmark friendly. It’s gory, confusing, R-Rated and not at all sentimental. It was also cosmically necessary and endlessly controversial. For some reason, though, movies about Christ are kind of silly at best and unimaginative at worst. A handsome, well mannered, slightly effeminate white guy with a well trimmed beard, white robe and English accent walks around Israel spouting scripture. Phillip Yancey wrote a book called The Jesus I Never Knew which really helped me see the reality of Christ in the complex world of the first century.

Along these lines, Mel Gibson is directing a movie called The Passion. Take a look at some trailers and pictures. The film chronicles the 12 of Jesus’ life leading up to the crucifixion. Though the film won’t be released until spring 2004, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League has already released a statement. Ted Olson writes

Usually it’s conservative Christians who make headlines by attacking films they haven’t seen, but the shoe is on the other foot this time. The main critic of Gibson’s film seems to be the Anti-Defamation League.

It would be worth your time to read the rest of this post. Christianity’s fragile friendship with Jews is an act of worship in my opinion. We must be careful to protect ourselves from our anti-semitic history.

I do have to admit that I think Ted speaks too soon. I’ll be curious to see how vocal Christians will respond to the movie. It doesn’t seem that Mel Gibson will pull any punches in depicting the physical and political realities of what happened that day. Everything I’ve read about this fim leads me to believe the violence is accurately depicted. Anyone who has read the medical account of the crucifixion knows how disturbing that will be when depicted visually. And with Monica Bellucci playing the part of Mary Magdalene, well… uh…