Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Religion and Passion Go Hand in Hand

When I was a child, we would travel up into Oklahoma from Texas in the middle of the night to see a passion play at sunrise during Holy Week. Every time I would hear the hammering sound of nails going through the hands of Jesus, it would kill me. Was that from my Christianity or my humanity? Or was the production such a well produced show that the young theater person inside of me already understood the power of good story telling? I've grown up on the story of Christ's final days seeing it in so many different plays, musicals, church events, movies, Broadway shows...the story has been told over and over. 

Fox jumped on it this past Sunday night with The Passion Live which retold the story in modern times, set in New Orleans and using secular pop songs to tell the story. Perhaps they wanted to show that music we listen to on the radio can have many messages in it. I give huge props to music man Adam Anders for his song choices and the amazing arrangements of those songs. Plus the use of incredible musicians singing the songs. (Trisha Yearwood slayed me every time she opened her mouth.)

I watched how social media treated it like any other TV Musical - hate-tweeting, poking fun, sometimes bashing. But I also saw Christians in love with it, never complaining of no church songs being sung - they were moved by the evening and thrilled to see someone take this on during this holiest of times for Christianity. 

Then two days later, there is a terror attack on Brussels and some of those same Christians that watched the persecution of the man that has taught them to love and to forgive start attacking an entire religion because of the terrorists involved. They spew venom at our president for not discussing religion when talking about the horrible people that carried out these attacks. I for one think there is already enough finger pointing at religions. Just as we Christians have a right for Tyler Perry to produce an event like The Passion Live on Network Television, we should give other religions their rights as well. Starting hashtags that say Stop Islam is an attack and not one that the Jesus I learned about would agree with. But I guess today's Christians feel they know what is best. They feel persecuted and in turn believe they can turn and persecute others. 

So as a child was I moved by the story of the last days of Christ because of my beliefs, humanity, or the theatrics of it? I think it was a mixture of all of the above. And today - I still believe in being humane to others even if they don't share the same religious beliefs as me. It's Easter week. Christ arose - that was the point. I hope my fellow Christians stop and think about that before throwing stones at others based on religion. To claim Christianity as the reason to treat others the way they continue to do embarrasses me and makes me clam up in my beliefs - keeping them to myself. However, I don't think that's what Jesus - the man they claim to follow and believe in - would want me to do. Instead, I embrace all humanity and I'm happy that others have their beliefs to hold on to and I'm sorry that terrorists use their name to do heinous acts. Love and peace - if only there was a little more of that.