JESUS: IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM
Some of my friends from the old days decided to make a movie to remind us all about what Easter Sunday is really about: the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
Being Jewish and thus skeptical that Jesus truly was/is the physical incarnation of God in whom alone I can find salvation, I have somewhat of an ingrained hostility to movies that try to “revive the spirit of the season” regardless of what season that may be. That said, I was not offended by Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ which I felt was a fairly accurate if not particularly important film (although I was tickled by Gibson’s suggestion that Jesus was not only the son of God, but that he also invented the table…)
Still, I understand why Jesus films are so popular: they remind us all – Jew, Christian, Muslim, Pagan and Athiest – of just how fundamentally relevant Jesus’ 2000 year-old-teachings remain for us today. The problem is, most Jesus films lack imagination, creativity or what I consider to be true spiritual convictions. Traditionally Christ is always portrayed as a distant, intangible figure who somehow lacks both the qualities I associate with humanity (humor, desire, a libido) and the characteristics of an all powerful god. Rather, the Hollywood Jesus lives a self-fulfilling prophesy of martyrdom defined by bipolar mood-swings and sporadic miracles. In short, Jesus films are generally marketed to an audience that has already established a solid foundation in Jesus and developed a so-called “personal relationship.”
Generally speaking Jesus films are always placed in a strictly Biblical context and are designed for believers – not uncommitted admirers like myself. Which is why I appreciate Jesus: Identity Theft Victim so much. Granted: it’s short, somewhat irreverent, ridiculous and seemingly deprived of any moral foundation. But it also seeks to place Jesus’ significance within a modern context, which in our digitalized downsized celebrity obsessed world, proves to be somewhat difficult. I don’t think the ancient Israelites truly understood the significance of Christ’s place in hunan history. And as we approach Easter 2008, it’s hard to imagine that we’ve come much closer.