Crusty Goes to the Movie…
Fiction By Gary Piper
“Yo, Crusty my wife and I seen it the first night!” I yelled back trying my best to embarrass him in return.
It didn’t work though, “Good,” he yelled back, “I’ll pick your pea brain after I get my soda. You want one?”
Instantly I felt every eye in the food court staring at my head trying to see what a pea brain looked like. After a few seconds of re-building my dignity, “Yeah a large cola,” I managed to squeak out.
Five minutes later Crusty walked up to the table with our sodas and sat down, “I hope I didn’t embarrass you with that pea brain comment,” he said apologetically
I thought for a second or two of blasting him but I thought better of it, “Me and my dignity will survive. Thanks for the soda. What’s up?” I asked.
“My wife and I went to the show last night to see the Passion movie and I wanted to get your opinion on it. Do you mind?” he asked.
Normally I shy away from giving opinions because they can lead to disagreements and disagreements lead to broken relationships! “I don’t mind giving my opinion so long as it is taken as my opinion and not the beginning of a debate,” I answered back.
“What do you mean a debate?” he asked.
Pausing to think about how I wanted to answer him my mind drifted back through various time when expressing my opinions became starting points for arguments which then lead to bad feelings and broken relationships. “Crusty,” I started, “I do not want to do anything to harm our friendship. I’ve lost friends and have seen churches split because persons have felt as if they needed to defend their opinions. I’ve even been the cause of broken friendships for that very reason. If we can express our opinions in a non defensive way then lets go for it.”
As I watched his facial expressions changing I knew he was deep in thought. Suddenly, “Gary, it goes like this each morning I wake up I ask God to help me keep an open mind because there’s so much I don’t know and at the same time I ask him to help me sift out what’s not right. You’re my best friend Gary and I value what you say but I also know you don’t have the whole picture either. But I’m thinking if we put your picture and my picture together maybe we can come closer to having the whole picture does that make any sense to you?” he asked.
“Sometimes its kinda scary when you and I think like it,” I replied jokingly, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” he answered with a smile.
“Okay Crusty, what about the movie,” I asked.
“Well, first of all I’d like to know what I saw?” he asked with a serious expression.
“I’m not sure I know what you mean by that question it was a movie about the last 12 hours of Jesus’ earthly life. Did I miss something?” I asked.
“Oh, no nothing like that but is that what we saw or did we see a Hollywood blockbuster? What I mean did the movie illustrate reality or did it exaggerate it?”
I knew what he meant after all the movie grossed over 100 million dollars in 3 days and that can cloud the real motivating factor. “Crusty, I know what you mean but remember we see what we want to see in all things even movies,” I said.
“Did they really beat Jesus like it showed them doing. Or did they exaggerate the beating to sell more tickets?” he interrupted.
Again I knew what he meant because society is so “show me lots of violence” orientated it easy to wonder if violence and money was the real motivating force in making the movie. “I’ve seen interviews with Mel Gibson,” I replied, “and I believe he’s not in it to make money. But there’s still a lot of Hollywood hype surrounding it so don’t let it detract from what Mr. Gibson sat out to do, which is tell as best he could the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life.”
“But what about the beatings?” Crusty interrupted.
“First of all let me say again this is only my opinion. It was a very emotionally powerful movie and I think it was designed that way. Anyone who gets emotional easy will react differently than someone who isn’t emotional. I’m not an emotional person, my wife is,” I replied, “I reacted differently than she did. How did you react?”
“I’m not real sure,” Crusty answered, “how should I react and did they really beat him like the movie shows?”
“I don’t know Crusty if the movie was true to the actual events or not. I know Mr. Gibson researched historical records but we have to remember there are no eyewitnesses alive and the only one who is alive after all this time is Jesus himself and he isn’t talking about it as far as I know. I’m no medical doctor or pathologist but after I saw all the open wounds on Jesus I would think he’d bled to death. I think they may have over emphasized the severity of Jesus’ beatings but they were trying to make a statement.”
“They sure made a statement alright,” Crusty interrupted me again.
“Did they ever!” I replied, “As far as I’m concerned one lash would have been worth more than my life. But remember Crusty that’s only my opinion about what I saw and remember neither I nor anyone can else tell you how to react.”
Suddenly Crusty expression changed, “Every time those whips hit Jesus’ skin it was like an electric shock started at my feet and went to the top of my head and exploded in my brain but I didn’t cry,” Crusty said, “so maybe I’m not an emotional person either but I felt something and it was real!”
“Crusty, my friend what you felt was real even if you’re the only in the whole world to feel it hold on to those feelings and don’t let anyone tell you any different.”
“But I don’t understand it,” he replied.
“Don’t try to understand it Crusty,” I pleaded with him, “you never will and if you try all the movie will be is Hollywood blockbuster.”
I could tell he was still deep in thought. “Sometimes I think I was an eyewitness. That’s kinda crazy isn’t it?” he said.
“Maybe your spirit was,” I commented.
“What was your favorite part of the movie?” Crusty asked.
“There are two points that are standouts for me,” I answered, “the first one was when Jesus, still in the Garden stomped on the snake. The second was at the end when Satan screamed because Jesus finished what he came to do.”
“I remember those scenes too,” he replied, “why do those stand out for you?”
“We are surrounded by evil and in fact we live our lives in Satan’s world,” I answered. “I believe the closer we get to Jesus’ second coming it will appear as if Satan is getting stronger and stronger yet as the movie so aptly illustrated Jesus put Satan in his place. I don’t know if the movie depicts the beatings accurately or not but I know it depicted how Satan moves among us. In that last scene when Satan screamed I knew with Jesus alive in my heart I don’t have to worry.”
“You remember that scene with the Jewish leaders where Satan was moving through them?” he asked.
“That’s what I mean they didn’t even know he was there,” I answered back.
“Why do you think the movie was shown in sub-titles,” Crusty asked.
“I’m not sure but I think when the characters were speaking and we couldn’t understand them what they were saying was really unimportant. For example when the Romans were beating Jesus no one would have known for sure what the soldiers actually said. And if we could understand what they were saying perhaps it would distract us from what was really happening. But then again that’s just my opinion.”
“While we’re expressing opinions,” Crusty said, “the movie left me feeling guilty and I know I should feel guilty but where does the resurrection come in?”
“I’ve read where some church leaders plan on using the movie as an evangelistic tool but the movie doesn’t go far enough Jesus came to give us life not leave us guilt ridden. You can’t tear people down and not pick them up again. Maybe in the sequel Mel Gibson will depict the life of Jesus from to the crucifixion to the ascension 40 days later. That’s my opinion and I’m stick’en to it,” I replied jokingly.
“I don’t know all about that evangelistic stuff,” Crusty replied, “but I do know the movie has unquestionably brought me to a closer understanding of what Jesus did for me. I just don’t want to feel so guilty I think and feel he wants nothing to do with me. Do you know what I mean Gary?”
“I do know what you mean Crusty,” I answered, “one of the big arguments I read about the movie was who really put Jesus on the cross some say it was the Jewish leaders others say because he died for our sins so we put him there. I think Jesus endured the beatings and the cross because he wanted to; he put himself up there. He said he gave his life for us, he also told that Roman dude he had no power over him. He definitely died for our sins but he did so because he wanted to.”
“Oh my gosh,” Crusty exclaimed looking at the huge clock leading out into the mall, “I’ve got to get going I’m late for a doctor’s appointment. I’d love to continue Gary but I can’t.”
I watched as Crusty headed through the doorway and toward his car, “that’s only my opinion,” I said out loud as if he could hear me.