Missing the Point?

 The Passion of the Christ

There’s a lot of hullabaloo lately about a new movie. It’s possible that the major concern being voiced, prejudice, is the least of it—most Christians know that without the Resurrection there would be no Christianity. So it was a nasty role, but somebody had to play it. And few give a second thought that Jews may or may not have been directly “responsible.” All the parts of the pageant had to be played for a resurrection to occur. The squabble about who played any particular role may be one misunderstanding.

But I think the producer/director of the film, and the millions who are enthralled by it, are missing a bigger point, much bigger. Apparently the message of the film (and many fundamentalists) is that the degree of suffering portrayed corresponds to the degree of love for sinful humanity, love = suffering = redemption. One might be forgiven for thinking that the acceptance of death, regardless of the depth of agony involved, might be enough.

“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.“ [John 15:23] puts the emphasis on the end, not the means.

There is another way to look at the passion of the Christ and his suffering of death. English translations of Scripture use the one word suffer in different ways. The first, of course, is to denote pain, whether physical or otherwise. Another meaning of the word is “to allow”, and there are numerous examples at this link (type the word "suffer" in the search box) where the word can only mean “allow,” having no relation to the concept of pain.

Is the point of the suffering and death of the Christ that he freely allowed the experience? He did not resist the inevitable, he freely experienced what was in front of him to do.

There is a somewhat esoteric teaching (esoteric not because it’s particularly hidden, but because so few seem able to understand—or are even interested) that suffering, allowing, whatever experiences Life serves up is a great energy producer, eventually enabling a person to transcend to another level. What does this mean? Even practicing “allowing” on a small scale will demonstrate. It's one of those things, like the taste of a peach, that must be experienced to really know.

The Christ knew. “Turn the other cheek,” could be one small example. “When someone asks for your coat, give him your cloak as well.” These ideas make little sense in a dog-eat-dog world, sound almost stupid. Unless there is a larger issue at stake than getting even, keeping one’s worldly goods and the like. True freedom is the freedom to experience loss, and isn’t death the ultimate loss? Eventually facing death is inevitable. A little practice beforehand might be worthwhile; not for the humiliation involved in accepting what we don't want, but for the enlightened self-interest of transcendence.

If this idea intrigues at all, if you have ears to hear and eyes to see, it’s suggested you might make the effort to find The Theory of Eternal Life by Rodney Colin. While the first chapters of the book are interesting (and creepy)  because of the explanation of an idea called “eternal recurrence,” they are not relevant to the understanding of “allowing” for transcendence. The last three chapters of the book are priceless (and costly—if you find the book it will set you back about $75 in paperback, hard copies are in the hundreds) because the author takes the example of the Passion of the Christ and shows what was really going on—resurrection into eternal life. No kidding, not just "symbolic," and available not just once to one man, but to anyone with the forbearance to allow whatever arises in his way today. That is the meaning of Christianity to some.

And I happen to know it’s true, not just a theory, because I witnessed it.

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