Monday, March 15, 2004

Rants in My Pants about Miscreants

I've always admired curmudgeons, being one in training (I've got the whininess down, but I don't have the "but gruffly lovable" thing going quite yet...). That's why I've always appreciated Andy Rooney's longevity at CBS and 60 minutes. He has said things that would have cast most people into the TV wasteland equivalent of Ulan Bator. I love his latest flap. Calling Mel Gibson a wacko on national TV takes serious cojones. Now, I don't necessarily think Mel is a wacko (his father though is a piece of work), but the evidence does suggest tendencies. A film in Aramaic for "authenticity" but inauthentic in not portraying the Romans as the main antagonists. Authentic in relying on the Gospels but inauthentic on not all of the Gospels (now THAT I would love to see in its absurd Rashomonity). And finally making it so violent ("Lethal Divinity") that any New Testament new agey nonsense of love and forgiveness is forgotten and lost in the Old Testament values of sacrifice (and we mean REAL sacrifice with death and pointed sticks) and vengeance.

And that is where this curmudgeon loses grumpy points. What most of the moral majority and fundamentalists and other wackos tend to forget about is that their Jesus doesn't quite resemble the Jesus I remember from the New Testament. This was a Jesus whose best friends were tax collectors and prostitutes. Who said "My kingdom is not of this world", who said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone", who said "Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's", who cast out the pharisees from the temple (kinda like casting out Pat Robertson from the TV). Where does this Jesus fit in Bush's born again America?

What I'm getting at is that the Jesus who said things like this, is not a Jesus who really cares much about what is going on in this world - and he certainly does not condemn those who think and act differently than we do. What it seems like he does care about are things like love, forgiveness, charity etc. Where are these things in "The Passion of The Christ" besides the implication that "He so loved the world that he graphically died in 126 minutes of really nasty bloody icky unpleasantness"? Sorry, Mel, I know what death is, I face it every day I bicycle in the city from clueless SUV drivers who no doubt are "Christian". What the Jesus of the New Testament teaches me is the serenity and wisdom to forgive and love the miscreants fellow sinners, which is much more difficult than violence or ranting or fundamentalist pontificating.

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