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Mailbag

Issue: "Spain waves white flag," March 27, 2004

Passion's purpose

I attended The Passion of the Christ recently and was so moved that I could not speak for some time. Today I read the &quotPassion for the Passion" articles (Feb. 28) and enjoyed them. Perhaps the focus of this film was a bit narrow; however, I believe it served Mr. Gibson's purpose while accomplishing much more. This film has caused me to see my sins, which were responsible for Christ's suffering, with more clarity. I also realized that receiving monthly Communion at my church had become a shallow experience. Never again. -Rhonda Hodge, Amesbury, Mass.

3» Your coverage of The Passion of the Christ, capped by Andrew Coffin's excellent review ("No mere martyr," Feb. 28), provides a refreshing relief from the monotony of most media. As The Passion generates discussion, I pray it also stimulates a Christian art renaissance.

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-David K. Lewis

Gardner, Kan.

I had already seen The Passion of the Christ before reading &quotNo mere martyr," or I would have written off the movie as too violent and too poorly done to go see. I was upset that a Christian magazine seemed to be taking pot shots at the most powerful and thought-provoking movie I have ever seen.

-Bruce Lewis

Owens Cross Roads, Ala.

&quotNo mere martyr" has been very helpful in discussing the heavy emphasis on the physical in Mr. Gibson's film. It gives us a great opportunity to bring up the spiritual dimension. May we rise to the occasion.

-Marion S. Powers

Ann Arbor, Mich.

I applaud Mr. Gibson for crafting this powerful illustration of the utter depths of our depravity and the necessary sacrifice Jesus paid on our behalf. I am challenged by his example of putting his own finances and reputation on the line to tell this love story.

-Heidi Parisi

Boxford, Mass.

Jews should not feel they alone were accused by this presentation. All of us have sinned and stand accused; let us all acknowledge our own guilt and receive the forgiveness available to each of us. I am overwhelmed by the love of a man who &quotlaid down His life for a friend."

-Cecilia J. Talley

Houston, Texas

A reporter for an Australian newspaper asked Mel Gibson if Protestants are denied eternal salvation. He replied, &quotThere is no salvation for those outside the church. I believe it." His wife is Episcopalian, and he commented that it's &quotjust not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it." How sad to make a $25 million movie about the death of Christ and miss the big picture.

-Porter E. Taggart

Charlotte, N.C.

When the Second Commandment was received, wood and stone were the only materials available to make graven images. Does Mel Gibson deserve a pass because he created, albeit with noble motives, one out of celluloid?

-Clint Sherwood

Lake Peekskill, N.Y.

Let's not be hasty in judging Mr. Gibson's narrow focus. The response of an overwhelming majority of those few dozen folks with whom I have discussed the movie (believer and unbeliever alike) was to go home, get out a Bible, and read the account directly from the Gospels.

-Dorsey Marshall

Mullica Hill, N.J.

Called to die

I was moved by John Piper's connection between Calvary and the concentration camps ("Calvary and the camps," Feb. 28). His statement that Christians are &quotcalled to die, not kill" to show how Christ loved us carries an authentic ring of the gospel. Seeing The Passion of the Christ challenged me anew to &quotlove my enemies and pray for those who persecute me."

-Mark B. Kraybill

Elverson, Pa.

Arguments debate

Joel Belz hits it squarely on the head again ("Leaving out the Lord," Feb. 28). I've heard for weeks conservative arguments against homosexual marriage and they were just not working for me, either. The last thing I want is legislation by majority vote, especially in this increasingly anti-Christian nation. Even conservatives in this country are reluctant to invoke the name of God or the Bible for fear of being branded religious fanatics. The slouch toward Rome continues.

-Randy Beck

Collierville, Tenn.

I don't think I have ever disagreed so much over any one page that I read in your publication as over Mr. Belz's column. Is he saying that we should persuade our politicians only by, &quotThus saith the Lord"? That we should not use &quotLet the people decide," or &quotDon't tamper with 6,000 years of human consensus," or &quotWhat is best for the children"? All of these are true and valid arguments (even if they were not valid for slavery). Should we withhold all the truth except that which is least likely to be effective in this culture?

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