Presbyterian Voices for Justice 

A union of The Witherspoon Society and Voices of Sophia

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The Passion of the Christ -- The Film

"The Passion of the Christ" - resources and comments on another hot topic

Click here for a variety of comments from our visitors!


The request that got us started:

We've received this note from a frequent visitor, a Presbyterian pastor, and a Witherspoon member:

Dear Doug,

Perhaps your readers have some wise thoughts about "The Passion of Christ." I have been asked by parishioners literally dozens of times this week if I think they should go to see Mel Gibson's movie. No, I haven't seen the movie, so I am facing the same decision myself, however, I have come up with an answer using the familiar WWJD criteria.

What would Jesus do? Would he go see "The Passion of Christ?"

I think not, first of all because Jesus would never have considered violence a form of entertainment. Secondly, he would not have wanted his story to be told for profit (and a large one at that).

What do you think?

A great piece in the New Republic Online has some good points to make, as well. Here's a link to it:

God bless you,

Dean Lindsey
Salem, VA

So, always glad to get a note that blesses us (unlike some), we're happy to offer a few other things we've found that look like they might be useful:


The Rev. Bruce P. Gillette, Co-Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman, NJ, has posted an extensive collection of Biblical passages and hymns relating to the Passion of Christ, along with a number of commentaries on the movie. (Some of them are mentioned below.)


You may want to visit the official site for the film.


"Mel Gibson's Passion"

Charles Henderson, host for the Christianity section of, offers a good essay on the film, headed by the divine Word according to Hosea (6:6): "I desire steadfast love, not your bloody sacrifice."


Scholarly Smackdown: 'The Passion' by John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III. A liberal professor and a conservative professor debate Mel Gibson's movie, the Bible, theology and more.


"The Death of Jesus and Anti-Semitism: Seeking Interfaith Understanding" by the late Raymond E. Brown, explores anti-Judaism in New Testament thought about the Passion of Christ, and exposes faulty interpretations of the passion narratives, as literal history or a product of Christian imagination.

Raymond E. Brown was the Auburn Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies (Union Theological Seminary, NYC) and a member of the Roman Pontifical Biblical Commission.

This Update article is adapted from his book, Reading the Gospels With the Church: From Christmas Through Easter (St. Anthony Messenger Press).


NCC Interfaith Relations Commission offers reflection guide for 'Passion of the Christ' film

The National Council of Churches Interfaith Relations Commission has prepared a reflection guide for Christians who want to consider an array of issues raised by the film. The guide, in a bulletin-insert style suitable for reprinting and sharing with congregations, is available on this site in PDF format, which requires that Adobe Acrobat Reader be installed on your computer.


Rabbi Michael Lerner of the progressive Jewish group Tikkun has issued a thoughtful "plea to Christians to Respond with a Gospel of Love and Hope in place of this new fundamentalism."


"A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews" is a helpful study by the PCUSA General Assembly.


"Not My Passion" is a brief essay by Martin Marty, long-time church historian at the University of Chicago, who raised half a dozen issues about the movie (like "I don't take to depictions of gratuitous violence. It puzzles me that conservative Catholics and Evangelicals who oppose violence in films find it fine if Jesus is in one ... you get your kicks from the sight of blood and gore, this is a way to get them "sacredly.").


Christianity Today, a conservative Christian magazine, has a special section of many positive articles about the movie.


BeliefNet offers many pro and con perspectives on the movie


ABC News provides an interview with Mel Gibson.


Thanks again to Bruce Gillette and many others!

What have we missed?
We'd like to hear from you - either your own comments on the film, or others you've found helpful.
Just send a note to be shared here!



GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We're providing resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest are:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which would remove the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.

If you like what you find here,
we hope you'll help us keep Voices for Justice going ... and growing!

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Or send your check, made out to "Presbyterian Voices for Justice" and marked "web site," to our PVJ Treasurer:

Darcy Hawk
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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.


Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.


John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


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