Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Evangelical passions

I guess it pays not to jump into every crazy evangelical fad that blows through the church every six months. When The Passion came out two years ago, I felt like I was the only Christian in the country who didn’t see it. No great reason, I just didn’t care for the goriness. But when you’re a part of the evangelical church, you’re not supposed to have blah reasons for failing to support the-chosen-means-by-which-God-is-going-to-evangelize-the-world. You’re supposed to have these super amped-up moral reasons for everything you do, certain that you have divined the secret purposes of the Almighty. It’s not supposed to occur to you that a movie is just a movie and a director is just a human being who might embarrass you someday.

God seems to elude the grasp of evangelicals just when they think they’ve captured him in their box. After riding the crest of The Passion's smashing success, many pro-Israel dispensationalists are now faced with the reality of Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic tirade. It has been a similar irony that after two and a half decades of campaigning for lasting marriages and family values, the evangelical right is finding that at long last their message is being embraced . . . by the gay and lesbian community.