About That Mel Gibson Movie on the Passion of The Christ….One More Thing!

About That Mel Gibson Movie on the Passion of The Christ….One More Thing!

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

John 10:17,18; Matthew 27:46; John 19:30 NKJV

Dressing Jesus Up -- How About Significant Others??? It made for a very lively time for at least one call-in talk show host in the W Pennsylvania area during the third week of March 04. The heat of the discussion centered on the sale of a refrigerator magnet set featuring Jesus on the cross and many "clothing" accessories for dressing Him. Some of these include a scuba diving outfit, a ballerina dress and shoes to match, a more formal suit, a dress and hat to match, a devil's suit, etc. Signs to place on the cross read "TGIF" and "Hang in There Baby!" The magnet set is a spin-off commodity from a web site which enables the visitor to dress Jesus by dragging and dropping the apparel items with the mouse. After you have Him "dressed" you can click on a reset button and do the whole thing all over again! If you want to see this for yourself, go to www.jesusdressup.com -- use reverse on your browser to come back here. This "project" is the brainchild of one who identifies himself as "Normal Bob Smith" -- a free lance artist and dabbler in web sites. His main site focuses much on religious controversy and the ridicule of Christianity, with a peculiar feature devoted to praying for Satan's salvation. The "normal" title with his name is certainly open to extensive debate. His defense is that this is religious satire and we need to learn to laugh at ourselves a bit. Urban Outfitters, one of the retailers selling the Jesus Dress Up magnet set, responded to one man who protested the selling of the product. The store chain said it doesn't sell the Jesus Dress Up "item to provoke or offend people, but to reflect a diversity of opinion among its customer base." Now then -- let's pursue that "diverse" thing for a bit. For "Normal Bob Smith" and his retailers, why not expand the boundaries on the Jesus Dress Up theme, not only through web sites but also in refrigerator magnet production. How about the following as sure-fire possibilities: X a Muhammad Dress Up figure so that the Muslim community won't feel so isolated because the Christians' Jesus is getting so much attention. X a Vishnu Dress Up figure for the Hindus -- but in order to not offend Vishnu, there should be a companion made for Vishnu -- a dress up figure of the goddess, Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort -- she is the Goddess of Wealth -- certainly that would help "Normal Bob's" bank account as well as that of Urban Outfitters -- or select another deity from the list such as Brahma or Shiva -- in fact there are so many deities in Hinduism that they can't name them all! "Normal Bob Smith" will certainly have his hands full in coming up with even a few hundred dress up Hindu gods! X a Buddha Dress Up figure for the Buddhists -- covering that belly with different types of garb will certainly tax "Normal Bob's" ability, but surely he will manage and the pay off will be most rewarding. X an Orthodox Jewish rabbi Dress Up figure for those in the Jewish community -- there might be some risk here on the part of "Normal Bob" -- he could be accused of anti-Semitism, but if he did it to a very famous Jew (Jesus) maybe he's really willing to take the plunge on this one too -- and always you have to keep focused on the monetary returns! X a Brigham Young Dress Up figure for the Mormons -- again, some degree of risk here, but after all did "Normal Bob" not maintain this is all religious satire? X but for one of the greatest challenges of all -- how about a Martin Luther King, Jr. Dress Up figure for the black community -- that is bound to be a big money maker, especially if "Normal Bob" sees fit to include a KKK outfit with hood and robe! Hey, if it works to provide a devil suit for Jesus, why not the KKK outfit for MLK, Jr? Now those are just for starters -- imagine how "Normal Bob" and the retailers will rake in the bucks as this capitalistic venture swings into high gear! Will it ever happen? Now we all know the answer to that one don't we? In our depraved culture it is in vogue to ridicule, mock, and trash Christianity and the community of its followers, but it is sort of an unwritten law -- an absolute no-no to treat other faiths and/or racial communities in a similar fashion. For instance, if "Normal Bob Smith" did a similar dress up figure of Muhammad and crazy pieces of apparel to go with it, he likely would have to go into hiding for a time as did Salman Rushdie when he wrote the novel, "The Satanic Verses," in 1988. Iran imposed a death sentence on him for alleged blasphemy against Islam! Muslims who take their faith seriously take drastic action against "infidels" who insult their faith in some manner -- and to hold Muhammad up to ridicule -- well, try it publicly for a time and see what happens when it circulates in the mass media. But it's open season on Christianity and its adherents. The hostility, however, is centered on the God of the Christians Who took on human form -- His name is Jesus Christ. It is said that not only in our culture but in many others as well, the only deities' names associated with profanity and blasphemy are God and Jesus Christ. How many times have you ever heard, "Allah damn it!" or "Allah! In a moment of extreme frustration -- no, the name you are most likely to hear will be "Jesus Christ!" And you don't hear Vishnu or Brahma or Buddha called upon to damn something either -- and Muhammad? Forget it -- seems everyone wants to stick with God or Jesus Christ when it comes to frustrated profanity being expressed! But why is that? Try this for a possibility -- the other deities are a bunch of fakes -- simply a figment of a wild unregenerate mind and they don't really exist -- talking to them is like talking to a brick wall -- no response. In the book of Psalms God inspired some comments to be written about these: 2 Why should the Gentiles say, " "Where now is their God?" 3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men's hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them. Ps 115 The God Who has no beginning and no end, Who is eternally alive, and Who personally visited this earth in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ is the One Who is the subject of attack. Jesus spoke of being hated by the world and clearly indicated that those who identify with Him will likewise become the subjects of hatred and scorn in this present world. If you haven't been there for a while, review John 15 and opening verses of John 16 to get up to date on what this is all about. We are basically caught up in a vicious war between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and falsehood, and Heaven and Hell! Jesus' predictions for the future included an avalanche of false teachers and prophets, escalation of wars and violence, a return to the moral and spiritual conditions prevalent in the days of Noah and those of Lot when he lived in Sodom. The New Testament writers also referred to conditions of the last days of human history as it is now being played out. Paul mentions the focus on self, the love of money, and being lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Peter mentions an all out assault on the truth and the desire to cling to what is false. Sound familiar? Jesus Dress Up? In the larger sense, it is but one of many symptoms which those in the community of the Christian faith find disturbing, but not surprising. And we can be assured that there will not be others joining the Jesus Dress Up lineup for reasons just mentioned! But, hang on folks -- a new day is coming -- the King of kings and Lord of lords is going to totally renovate the earth from one end to the other -- as the famous Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me….These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me."

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another."

John 15:18-21; 16:1-3: Matthew 24:9,10 NKJV

"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
Luke 17:26-30 NKJV

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what advantage is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels."
Luke 9:23-26 NKJV


February 19, 2004
by Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
W. PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy PA

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