Things to See When You're Not Watching The Passion

All right, what are they supposed to do at Christian colleges these days? They can't study theology , at least not if they live in Washington State and want to get a state grant.

And they can't take off all of their clothes, like they want to do at Havard, even if their professor offers them an A for doing so.

(Terry Mattingly tracked down this cautionary tale from the campus of Mars Hill College. The professor meant it as a joke but one student took him seriously. He's been fired, and the student, despite displaying their birthday suit, gets no A. She - he - no one is saying - should've gone to Harvard.)

Meanwhile, Dear Abby is offering advice to a woman who's got a "serious crush" on her minister. (He's divorced.)

Find a new church, Abby says, then "say a little prayer and invite him to dinner."

Then there 's about congregations giving up Krispy Kremes just in time for Lent, with this quote from Autumn Marshall of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. Most evangelical Christians don't drink, smoke, curse or commit adultery, she says.

"So what do we do?" she said. "We eat."

And since no religion blog is complete without a little Passion news, here's three that caught my eye.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune wrote about a conversation he had about the Passion with a waitress, whom he described as "a friendly woman from the South."

She was going to see the film on Sunday--but was "powerfully worried."

About what? Kass asked.

"About Christ's pain," she said. "I mean, we know why he had to go through it. But since I'm going to see it, it worries me some.

"It worries me that I'll see my poor Jesus suffer so much for me."

And in the "I am not making this up" category, the pastor of the Lovingway United Pentecostal
Church is Denver put up a message saying "The Jews Killed Jesus" on the church's sign -- (think he's a bit confused about this being the loving way to act). Anna Ship, a Jewish woman drove by and got so mad called the church and banged on the church door. There was no answer, she told the AP.

She decided not to wait, buying (a) ladder and a tarp at a store across the street, intending to cover the sign. When that didn't work, she removed the word "Jews" from the message board.

"I'm raising four Jewish little girls, and I would like the community to be a safe place for all
religions," Ship said. "I felt it was anti-Semitic, incorrect, and a cowardly thing to do."

And last but not least, there is this piece - Do You Recognize This Jesus?
by Kenneth Woodward, Newsweek contributing editor and longtime religion writer.

Woodward is not one to pull punches. He thinks Christians more than Jews, will be "shocked" by the Passion.

A few samples:

Mr. Gibson's raw images invade our religious comfort zone, which has long since been cleansed of the Gospels' harsher edges. Most Americans worship in churches where the bloodied body of Jesus is absent from sanctuary crosses or else styled in ways so abstract that there is no hint of suffering. In sermons, too, the emphasis all too often is on the smoothly therapeutic: what
Jesus can do for me.

Like Jeremiah, Jesus is a Jewish prophet rejected by the leaders of his own people, and
abandoned by his handpicked disciples. Besides taking an awful beating, he is cruelly tempted to
despair by a Satan whom millions of church-going Christians no longer believe in, and dies in
obedience to a heavenly Father who, by today's standards, would stand convicted of child abuse.
In short, this Jesus carries a cross that not many Christians are ready to share.

Like other Americans, Christians want desperately to know that they are loved, in
the words of the old Protestant hymn, "just as I am." But the love of God, as Dorothy Day liked to
put it, "is a harsh and dangerous love" that requires real transformation.


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