Five Reasons Progressive Utopians Will Hate “Divergent”

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

Screen capture of the movie Divergent, in theaters now.

Screen capture of the movie Divergent, in theaters now.

The newest box office hit for the year is the Movie Divergent, which will have appeal to the younger set as well as those who are older, but Progressive Utopians will hate it and here are some reasons why.

The Hunger Games has new competition in the box office this year and it’s also a book-based dystopia where the rebels become the heroes and where a strong female character is the lead. I don’t know what the political affiliation is of this author, but I think that there are a great many reasons why the story has struck a chord and why progressives will hate it.

Here is the synopsis: the Earth has survived a cataclysmic global war. Only one urban center and its rural surroundings have survived: Chicago. Society has separated itself out into five basic factions; Erudite (intellectuals), Dauntless (the Brave), Abnegation (Selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (the Honest). At the age of 16, people are separated are allowed to choose for themselves (after an ability test) the faction they want to belong to for the rest of their lives. The main character, Betrice, later know as Tris, comes from the Abnegation faction. But after taking the test, she learns that she doesn’t fit anywhere as she has characteristics of all of the factions.

Tris is encouraged to hide this truth from her friends and family, everyone in fact and when the selection process occurs, she chooses to belong to the Dauntless. As the story progresses, the secret she hides crops up and threatens to destroy her and her family.

The plot thickens when the girl finds out that the Erudite faction is planning to usurp Abnegation as the ruling government class. They plot to use the Dauntless class to eliminate Abnegation and only the Tris and her friends can stop them.

There is a lot of action and great effects in the movie, but the story is what makes this story a hit I think. And now, my reasons why progressive Utopians will hate it, (and why it won’t be winning any awards at Oscar time!)

  1. Socialist Utopias don’t work and will ultimately fail. The government has established an artificial social order and rewards those who conform to that social order. Those who don’t are punished and live below the social order abandoned by the society that swore to help them. A few of those who “diverge” from the norm eventually find themselves fighting that society that becomes self-destructive.
  2. In a society where only an elite minority hold all the power, eventually the disenfranchised masses will rebel. Social utopians always say they are doing what they do to help society, but really it’s just about retaining power. When another group finds themselves being disenfranchised, as always happens eventually, there is a rebellion and the social order changes once again. The pendulum swings.
  3. Control of education, media and government are essential for Socialist Utopias to maintain control. Without all three, society will eventually slide into chaos. Progressives always try to quash debate. There can be no free will in society and everyone must conform to the big government ideal. In order to do that they must ostracize those who do not conform and praise those who do. Education institutions are used to brainwash the masses, media is used to put out propaganda messaging, and the boot of the military/police will quash any resistance. But when there is a chink in the armor in anyone of the three, or all at the same time, progressive societies begin to fail.
  4. Power comes from the barrel of a gun! The ultimate power of the state is maintained through the use of force. Power is taken away when the populace arms itself. This is the truth that the NRA has known all along.
  5. Free will and diversity are the signs of a healthy society, not conformity. The state without diversity is stagnating, but when there is free will, communication, knowledge and culture, society grows and thrives. Automatons who lack diversity, free will and debate, sicken and eventually dies. A society that struggles against itself will grow stronger because of that struggle, and thrive.

I haven’t read the series of books upon which this movie was based, but my interest is intrigued now, so I think I will pick it up. I recommend this movie to my friends. If you loved Hunger Games, you’ll love this one two. I honestly cannot pick which series I like the best.

Poor progressives, you’ll just have to go see Noah instead. This movie is not for you.

Watch a trailer of this exciting new movie here.

A graphic of the different factions in the new thriller movie "Divergent".

A graphic of the different factions in the new thriller movie “Divergent”.


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God’s Not Dead – A Movie Review

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

godsnotdeadI saw the movie “God’s Not Dead” featuring Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty, Kevin Sorbo from Hercules and the Christian Pop music group Newsboys; and I have comments on it. But first: a story.


I was in Egypt one time, making a climb to the top of the traditional site of Mount Sinai. (There are reasons why I don’t believe Moses received the Ten Commandments on this particular mountain in the Sinai Peninsula, but I’ll save that for another column.) The tour guide told us it would be enjoyable for us to ride 75% of the mountain climb via camel back and then climb on foot the rest of the way. “There are steps,” she said, about 250 of them. “Too steep for the camel! You just have to make it the rest of the way yourself,” she said. The ride down via camel back was not recommended, as the steep downward incline would be uncomfortable for most westerners. That’s because the saddles they put on the camel are made wide enough only for the ass of a teenaged girl and not for a full-grown man. The guide neglected to tell us that, but that is exactly what we found out.


I was traveling with three other people, two young women and an older heavy-set man. We had been together for our trip through Israel where we were with a larger group touring the Holy Land. The main body of the group departed after that trip and a smaller group stayed on to go into Egypt. I remember the girl because I had a huge crush on her. Her name was Yasmina and she was Mexican. Her younger sister was with us and sadly I don’t remember her name. Yasmina spoke great English, but her sister spoke not a word, so we didn’t talk much. The other gentleman’s name, sadly escapes me.


We started climbing the mountain at around midnight and we could not see the path, it was pitch black. For a dollar the camel drivers, Muslims all, would put us on the camels. (For a dollar more they would get us off again at the end of the ride. If you’ve ever ridden a camel you know why. In the rocky terrain of Egypt, it’s dangerous to jump off a tall camel because you risk spraining an ankle or breaking a leg. It’s too far to drop on rocky terrain.)


We mounted our camels in the dark and proceeded up the mountain. I’ve only been more scared one other time and that was when I was deployed to Iraq. Visibility was limited and that’s a good thing. Those mountain paths were dangerously narrow and there are shear drop offs. I hate to think what the climb would have been like if I had done it during the day. I lost the girls and the old man in the dark and I feared that I would not see them ever again. As it grew light towards the top of the mountain, five hours later, I dismounted the camel and started to look for them. I debated on whether or not to stay where I was or to proceed to the top where there would be more people. I decided that we all had the same goal in mind and that would be to get to the top before dawn and so I proceeded on. The so-called steps going up the last quarter of the mountain were not as advertised. They are not ‘steps’, they are rocky crags whose sole purpose is to leap out at one and snag the unwary traveler in an attempt to break a leg. I climbed carefully and eventually, I made it! It was surprisingly cold in the desert at night and I could see my breath, when I could see at all. It was very bitter. I called for Yasmina and realized that, since I did not remember the name of the younger girl, I couldn’t call for her. What would happen if I found the younger girl, but not the older sister? I was in panic mode. I hoped for the best and kept calling for Yasmina, hoping the women were together. I figured the old man was on his own. Suddenly I heard my name being called and when I turned around, Yasmina appeared out of the morning mountain mist. He sister was with her. I gave them a hug, happy to see them, and we proceeded up the top of the mountain. The old man was nowhere to be found. We hoped he just stopped along the way and we would catch up to him on our way down. We agreed to keep an eye out for him.


We hung out at the top of the mountain and waited for the sun to rise, as was the tradition and when the light touched the mountain, we drank in the view for a few moments, said a prayer and then proceeded down the mountain. It was a very moving event for all of us. We huddled there together and paid another Muslim a dollar US for the blanket he had conveniently brought for us.


On the way down, we commented to our Muslim guide if he had seen our older companion. He laughed and told us he turned around early. It turns out he was too fat for the saddle, (some saddle, it had wooden prongs front and back that dug into your flesh on both sides, keeping you in your seat better than a seatbelt. No wonder the old man turned around and demanded to be taken home! It was painful enough for me, let alone a man of his size. Ouch!) As we lamented amongst ourselves on the failure of our friend to reach the top, the Muslim guide laughed again. We inquired as to the reason to his laughter and were shocked at his response. He said, “Your spirit might be willing, but your body has to climb the mountain!” I wondered if the Muslim man who had been our guide was aware of the proximity of his comment to the comments of our Lord Jesus to the disciples as they lay sleeping in the garden of Gethsemane: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!”


And now, my review of the movie. I was hoping that it would be a good, but frankly I feared a weak script and a laughable plot. Religious movies don’t always do well in the box office and I feared I would be wasting my money on a flop. The previews were good, so I was hopeful. Happily, the movie was much better than I expected it to be. The script was surprisingly solid, the story was satisfactorily dramatic to be entertaining, and the biggest surprise of all, the scriptural background of the story was solid and not overdone. I was happy to see in the credits that the movie had an apologetics research team that assisted in the script; and from what I saw, they earned their money!


The story unfolds like this: a Christian student, Joshua Wheaton, finds himself in a college philosophy class with an avowed atheist instructor, Professor Radisson played by Kevin Sorbo. The professor begins his class by declaring that God is dead, or more to the point did not ever exist in the first place, quoting the famous quote from philosopher Frederic Nietzsche who said, “God is dead”. He offers to skip an entire section of the class, which he finds tedious if all of the students will stipulate their agreement on paper that God is indeed dead. All of the students, not wanting a bad grade in a class meant to be an elective, agree: all except one, Joshua. He declares that he is not willing to sign his name to a document and that is when the gauntlet is thrown. The professor allows the student to make appearances before the class on three separate occasions to argue his case on why God in the student’s view is not dead.


This is the main thread of the story but there are about three other threads loosely tied to the main thread that ties all of the characters together. The student Joshua risks a bad grade from a hostile professor who threatens to ruin Josh’s chances of getting into law school later. Josh’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to stop with the challenge or she will leave him, fearing Josh will ruin both their futures. There is a Muslim girl who runs amok of her father because she is secretly a Christian. Another student from China is caught up in the story and intrigued by Josh’s refusal to back down from the professor’s challenge. All of the different threads of the movie are interesting and the writing is tight and never boring. I actually found myself enjoying it, laughing at some parts, crying at others and wanting to cheer once or twice.


Duck Dynasty reality star Willie Robertson and his wife make a cameo in the beginning of the movie and start one of the more dynamic threads of the show. A female reporter from a liberal blog confronts the couple outside their church and asks a bunch of ambush questions aimed at making the reality stars look stupid. Robertson is gracious and agrees to answer the reporter’s questions about fame, hunting and faith.  In the course of the contentious interview, Robertson makes a bold claim of faith, which is one of the moments that made me feel like cheering. He says that money and fame is fleeting, but Jesus is eternal! He says, quoting the Bible, he that declares me (Jesus) before men, I will declare before my Father (God the Father), and he who denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father. That passage is important later in the film and is part of the core messages of the film.


We’ll get back to that in a minute, but let’s continue with the rest of the reporters’ thread. She finds out later that she is diagnosed with late stage cancer and will likely die because of it. She tells her boyfriend, a successful businessman of her tragic news and he breaks up with her because of it, leaving her devastated. Oh it was good for a while, he says, but her personal issues can’t bother him, he says.


Later, as her life is falling apart, the girl buries herself in work. She plans another ambush interview, this time with Christian pop artists, the Newsboys. She pops in on them unannounced at their dressing room right before a concert. In one of the more moving moments in the film, the Newsboys find out that the contentious ambush reporter is dealing with a serious, perhaps life threatening disease. Far from casting her off as an offensive non-believer, the group offers to pray for her healing.

I won’t talk about all the different threads of the movie and how they turn out, but I will say this: it was entertaining as anything I’ve seen in film and worth viewing. I also recommend that you bring a non-believing friend. It might be a good way of putting the seed of faith in the mind of that non-believer.


I’m happy to report that the movie has breached the top five best grossing films of the weekend despite being shown only in limited a limited number of theaters. Christians who see this film will be entertained and won’t go away offended that the scriptures have been misquoted or maligned.


There is an important subtext to this movie that should not be lost on the viewer. At the end the producers reveal a number of lawsuits students and student groups have filed against their universities because of religious persecution on the behalf of faculty. Our institutions of higher learning are plagued with liberals and atheists who want to crush religious faith from their students, who will find the college atmosphere increasingly caustic as a result. College students should be encouraged by this film to stick to their faith despite the animosity they will find from fellow students and faculty.


Another review I read snarkily analyzed the reasons why this film is so successful. I feel that review, which you can read here, misses the point entirely. It’s good that the movie is in the top five, but it wasn’t made just to get revenue from a sympathetic choir. The goal of this film is not to make money, but to win souls for Christ and I feel that it has a good chance for reaching out to unbelievers who are on the fence when it comes to faith.


Life is like that mountain I climbed in Egypt. God does not dwell on the mountain, any more or less than he dwells on any mountain or valley or anywhere at all. God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit, dwells everywhere in the universe in equal measures. That’s what it means to be omnipresent. All of us on this Earth are on the mountain, making the climb. All of us are climbing for different reasons and different goals. Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Jews, Pagans, we are all there. As Christians, we like to stick with our own group. That’s ok, but we shouldn’t shy away from interacting with others on our way to the top of the mountain. Jesus gave us the great commission, which was to be prepared at any time to share the good news of our faith to anyone we interact with. We shouldn’t shut our selves away in our own little group, eyes closed and keep everyone else away. We are to interact and give a satisfactory answer to the person who questions our faith. This movie is one of many good vehicles for sharing that faith with an unbelieving world.


It’s ironic that in the Holy Places of the world, Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Holy Mountain of Moses, where ever, thousands of pilgrims gather. But in equal or greater numbers there are non-believers there too, like the Muslims I encountered in Egypt. They don’t see those places as Holy. In fact, one of my guides said he absolutely hated the mountain. Why does he stay in a place he hates? Money! The economy in that place is supported by religious tourists who spend their money on camel rides to the top of a desolate rock with a small chapel at the summit. These guides are the same people who tried to sell me a splinter of the True Cross for a dollar and to my female companions a single square of toilet paper for the same price so they could relieve themselves behind a rock. I missed an opportunity to witness to them, it occurs to me. I should have said something like this to them, “A Christian would offer the whole role for $5 and build an outhouse for the women and make a heck of a lot more money than you are making now. Let me share this secret and others and talk a little bit about why I have faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God!” Classy huh? In the end it’s not about winning over that hardhearted Muslim. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. But perhaps you’ll plant a seed in that heart that another further down the road will later reap. You never know, but you should try regardless.


Remember that scripture that Robertson quoted, it has a role in a later scene of the movie. Josh is in a church on or near his campus praying. He has no idea what to do, he just knows he wants to make a solid case for his class on his faith and he doesn’t want to screw it up. A young pastor give him some encouragement, and gives the young student some Bible passages to read as a start. One of them is Matthew 10: 32-33 read here. Quote:

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. KJV

The other advice the pastor gives is this, which I think is so important. He said, “don’t try too be clever.” Just deliver your argument in a thoughtful and respectful manner. You might win, you might lose, but in the end, you are just trying to plant seeds. You won’t necessarily be the one to reap what you’ve planted.


This movie is not about winning revenue; it’s about winning hearts, which is why the Hollywood box office doesn’t get it. The mindset of the big studios is like this: Oh, why do those wacky Christian Occultists love movies about their imaginary skygod friend? Maybe we should make one of those so we get them in the theaters and take their money? Why don’t they like sex and violence like the rest of us? So they’ll make disaster films like that freakshow based loosely on the Biblical Noah, staring Russell Crowe, because they want to get your money. Don’t waste your time on a $100 Million flop that insults your intelligence as well as your faith. Go see “God’s Not Dead” and bring that non-believing friend or co-worker. You might be surprised and glad that you did.

Learn more about the move “God’s Not Dead” on their website here. 

Jeremy and friends in Cairo

Jeremy and friends in Cairo

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Humvee Mounted TOW Missiles could turn the tide on an overwhelming Russian Armor Force

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

Humvee mounted anti-tank TOW missile system

Humvee mounted anti-tank TOW missile system.

The defense of Ukraine depends heavily on whether or not they are able to defeat the awesome power of the Russian armor and motorized Infantry. That’s why I recommend the US support Ukrainian independence by flooding the region with Humvee mounted TOW missile teams.

The first job I received as a newly minted Second Lieutenant in the Army National Guard was as an anti-tank platoon leader. I trained as an Infantry officer at Ft. Benning Georgia, so when I came to the anti-tank company, it was kind of a disappointment. The other disappointment was that the unit was using the horribly underpowered ITV, Improved TOW Vehicle; basically a M113 Armored Personnel Carrier with a TOW Missile system mounted. It was a horrible system since the M113 was a carrier left over from the Vietnam War and horrible to keep maintained. It would have been much more effective if we had used Humvee mounted TOWs, with uparmorned or unarmored Humvees, it makes no difference.


Now I know it looks like I didn’t sell that well in the previous paragraph, but I’m telling you, it’s the TOW weapon system that is the key, not the vehicle. If you combine the TOW, (Tube Launched Optically tracked Wire guided anti-tank missiles) to the Humvee platform, you get a tank killing weapon system that is highly maneuverable and hard to defeat. I think this system would be the equivalent of Stinger Missiles against Russian Helicopters in Afghanistan.


I recommend the US send as many of these systems to Ukraine as possible and expert trainers to train the Ukrainian military in their use. In six to eight weeks of training, you could have effective TOW teams ready to defend against the tank threat of the Russians. You can augment this capability through the use of anti-tank land mines in a defense in depth against Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers.


Russian BTR 90s drive in convoy in the occupation of Crimea in Ukraine. The Russians, like the US, are far too dependent on their armored vehicles.

Russian BTR 90s drive in convoy in the occupation of Crimea in Ukraine. The Russians, like the US, are far too dependent on their armored vehicles.

Nothing would say “Fuck You” to Russia more than US Humvees with TOW missiles in the hands of Ukrainian National Guard and Army units and it would speak volumes to the former Soviet Republics who are looking to us for leadership and support.


Let a Russian BTR or BMP roll over the berm in their arrogance and find a well-trained TOW crew there waiting for them. The Russians, like the US, are way too dependent on their armored vehicles. So when they roll into a place, they in their arrogance feel like their enemies will just fold in awe of them. I want to see burning Russian tanks in the news. Let’s see how popular Vlad Putin is then, when his tanks are on fire and his men are dying on foreign shores.

The Ukraine has every right to their independence. They aren’t like the muslim countries we’ve made the mistake in supporting in the past. They’re much more sophisticated and westernized. The potential for a Jeffersonian Republic taking root there is far more likely than in any muslim country. Like Poland, Ukraine could be the new battle ground of a new cold war. The US has a huge opportunity in this moment and should take the lead.  I would gladly volunteer for the duty of training those Ukrainian soldiers. Unhappily, our president doesn’t have the brass to do it. This, is how I would defend Ukraine if I was president. We’ll see what happens.

The Author in Kuwait

The Author in Kuwait



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Top 14 Scenes from Bible Retool “Son Of God”

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

Diogo Morgado as Jesus in "Son Of God".

Diogo Morgado as Jesus in “Son Of God”.

I saw “Son Of God” in theaters this week and I liked it. I would recommend it to any of my friends. It had all the tear-jerking drama of the greatest story ever told without the gratuitous gore and blood of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of The Christ” which came out a decade ago. While the acting was solid, it wasn’t quite up to par with “Passion”, but the viewer would be engrossed in the story without being grossed out.


I have to say, I found it hard to divorce the steely-eyed film critic from the Bible believing Christian I am, but I gave it a go this last Monday. I found it hard after a while to see through tears and I wondered if it wasn’t because of my faith in the story rather than the eloquence of the drama as portrayed. As I sat in the dark watching this film, I complied a best of list of 14 or so great scenes I think made this film a good one, if not great, and I added a short list of scenes I thought were not up to par. I found myself comparing the film to Passion of the Christ from film director Mel Gibson. The acting in this film wasn’t quite as good as Passion, the cinematography was excellent, the acting was good most of the time and there were just a few scenes I felt really didn’t cut it for me. Overall I thought this film would be of interest to Christians, who would appreciate the story told without all the messy gore brought to us by Gibson’s movie. I have no idea how this film would affect non-believers who are not familiar with the story in scripture.


Compliments go to Roma Downey who was one of the producers of the film and also portrayed the mother of Jesus in the film. I thought she did an outstanding job in the film and really connected with the audience. She really did a good job convincing the audience that she could be the mother of Jesus. That is not the most important work she did for this film however; that job was the one of bringing this movie, and The Bible mini-series to completion with her husband Mark Burnett. This movie was largely the extended version of the life of Jesus as told by The Bible Series that came out last year, but it was not a rehash that I worried it would be.


There were some notable characters that deserve some credit for the drama and delivery of the film. Sebastian Knapp, who played John, was one of the more believable of the disciples who connected best with the audience. Greg Hicks, a marvelously complex actor, played the charismatic and ruthless Pontius Pilate. Darwin Shaw gets an honorable mention as Peter. Diogo Morgado plays a passably good Jesus with just a moment or two where the acting and script is weaker.


There is one last character I’d like to mention who made an impression, the individual who played Barabbas, Fraser Ayres. He has two moments in the top fourteen.


And here they are; the top fourteen moments in “Son of God”.


#14 Jesus and Barabbas: Ayres and Morgado have a moment where Barabbas and Jesus meet for the first time. There are moments in the film in which Jesus seems to stop time with his authority from God and this is one of those times. Jesus is marching into Jerusalem on a donkey when he is confronted by Barabbas; who is trying to whip up the crowd. Jesus silences Barabbas with a gesture and you can see the loud-mouthed Barabbas instantly moved to silence by the power of the Son of God. Well played on Ayers’ part.


#13 Barabbas again, I like this rather minor character. The religious leaders are trying to trap Jesus in the Temple after the Lord overturns the money tables. “What shall we do?” they ask Jesus. “Should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Barabbas is there trying to start a riot, yelling that the Jews should “not pay”. He’s almost gleeful as he is enticing the crowd to violence. Jesus gives his legendary answer that one should pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Barabbas leaves, visibly deflated by what Jesus has said.


#12 Jesus feeds five thousand: Jesus and the disciples disembark the boat and find a crowd waiting for them. They have no food for them, only a basket with some fish and some bread. Jesus prays and then distributes the food. The Apostle John, as surprised as the rest, has a basket in his hand that was all but empty a moment before. Suddenly it is filled and John cannot contain his happy enthusiasm. It’s a great little moment.


#11 Pilate is practicing his fencing: while not strictly in the Bible, this scene shows how charismatic and ruthless Pilate is. He is dueling a servant and deliberately wounds him in the swordplay. The audience gets a feeling that this is not a governor to be trifled with, a hands-on guy who is willing to inflict a little pain if it serves his purposes.


#10 Mary Magdalene played by Amber Rose Revah is on the boat with the disciples. Thomas the Apostle played by Matthew Gravelle is griping about something, saying in essence that Jesus’s recent actions don’t make sense to him. Mary gives him an earful on having faith. I like this moment because it shows that it just wasn’t men who had contact with Jesus, but women played a role in the early church. Revah is a firebrand who I liked very much.


#9 Mary again: Jesus has been crucified and buried. The disciples are in morning and hiding. Mary goes to the tomb alone and finds the stone that covered the tomb opening is not only rolled away, it is shattered in half. The tomb is empty except for the burial cloths. Mary is dumbfounded. Suddenly Jesus appears in the mouth of the tomb and Mary is inside the tomb looking at Jesus backlit from the sun. I like this scene because it shows Jesus in the light of life and Mary, who represents all of us, in the darkness of death inside a tomb. Well done by both actors.


#8 Thomas, played by Matthew Gravelle, is talking to Jesus at the last supper. Jesus has told the disciples that he is about to be betrayed, but he tells his followers not to fear. He is going away and his friends will follow him soon where he is going. Thomas asks, “How can we follow you to where you are going when we don’t know the way?” Jesus responds, “I am the way!” Me crying!


#7 Peter renounces Jesus: After the last supper, Jesus is talking to Peter. Peter is adamant; he says that even if all leave, Peter will follow Jesus even to the grave, he will lay down his life for him. “Will you?” says Jesus. “Before dawn you will deny me three times!” You can see the blood ebbing from Peter’s face as he turns to follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Wow!


#6 Jesus is arrested: Jesus is about to be arrested and is kissed by his betrayer, Judas, played by Joe Wredden. A riot ensues and Peter rushes to defend Jesus, cutting off the ear of the captain of the guards. Jesus stops time again and everyone focuses on Jesus as he reprimands his disciple. “Those who take up the sword,” Jesus says, “will perish by the sword.” This is probably one of my best scenes in the movie. Well acted.


#5 John in exile: The Apostle John is one of the last disciples left alive after all of the others have died or have been murdered. He is living on an island all alone, exiled for his faith. Jesus appears to John and John is crying tears of joy. This is the moment he has waited for all his life, to see his Lord again. A visibly older and frailer John cannot believe his eyes as the Lord approaches him. Very moving.


#4 Jesus is marching his cross to the site where he is to be crucified. He stumbles and falls. His mother, played by Downey, stoops to help him and mother and son exchange glances and a few words. This is an incredibly moving moment. Not quite as strong as moments in “Passion” where Mary flashes back to Jesus’s boyhood, but still quite strong. This is one of the best moments of the film and best depicts Mary’s anguish at the event of her son’s death.


#3 Pilate and his wife: Jesus is being executed and you can see parts of his body marred by blood. The scene cuts to Pilate who is getting a massage with oil. His wife is there rebuking him for being involved in Jesus’s death. This scene is very well done. Now Jesus is suffering, but wait, it will be these two who will suffer later. Very well done.


#2 The Sea of Galilee as Jesus calms the storm: the disciples are in the boat and Jesus is not with them. This scene combines two separate scenes depicted in the Bible; one where Jesus is in the boat asleep during a terrible storm and calms the storm before everyone is killed. Another scene is where the disciples are in the boat and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. In this scene, the two stories are combined. We see the disciples in the boat about to be killed in a storm and then a ghostly Jesus, who was not in the boat, comes walking to them on the water. Peter goes out to him, walking on the surface for a while, but looking back, he loses his faith and his footing and plunges down. Jesus rescues him and rebukes him for his lack of faith. Foreshadowing? A good scene for everyone involved.


#1 The Great Commission: probably the most moving scene in the movie. Jesus is talking to the disciples atop a mountain. He commands them to preach the Gospel to the world and then vanishes in a brilliant light. Peter turns his back on the where Jesus once stood and strides away off the mountain. “Come,” he says, “We have work to do!” In this moment the disciples are transfigured from cowards into faithful and brave servants of Christ and Peter, who was a denier of Christ before, becomes their captain. Very cool.


And now for the not so great. There are moments in the Bible story of Jesus that resonate with every Christian. Sadly, in this movie, the acting or the script or something gets in the way and is not as strong as it could be. First on my list, the moment Jesus rescues an adulterous woman about to be stoned. It would be a great moment except; Jesus doesn’t follow the scrip as told by the original scripture. Instead, he makes it up and the line he delivers is not as strong as what the Bible originally reports. Very sad.


Number two: This is the most disappointing scene in the film and unfortunately, it is not Greg Hicks’s (Pilate) fault. Jesus is being interrogated by Pilate in prison. Pilate played by Hicks delivers his lines flawlessly and instead of getting torn down by the awe-impiring Son of God, we get a rather weak and mushy response from Morgado as Jesus. This is really upsetting because this is normally a great opportunity to show how Jesus interacted with people around him and Morgado doesn’t deliver. Bummer. Compare this scene with the scene involving the same characters in “Passion”. Jesus is played by Jim Caviezal, one of the all time best portrayals of Christ in film, and the very best portrayal in movie history of Pontius Pilate portrayed by Hristo Shopov!


While Shopov and Hicks are at their top of their game as the charismatic and complex Roman Governor, Caviezal and Morgado are not even in the same ball park. Clearly Caviezal is playing the World Series and Morgado is little league, but Morgado wasn’t at all helped by the script writer or the videographer at this point. Jesus as played by Morgado looked like a crazy person on acid with far too much hair. He didn’t know what he was doing, did not give the appearance of the second most powerful entity of the universe. Very disappointing.


Overall I think this show is worthwhile if you want to spend your time and money to see it. The characters with the exception of Roma’s Mary aren’t top billed actors, but they all deliver solid performances with very few exceptions. I would give it four and a half stars out of five, deducting half a star for some script and acting problems I previously mentioned. In comparison I give “Passion” four and a half stars as well, deducting half a star for Gibson’s obsession with dousing the audience in gratuitous blood and gore, and for scaring the B’Jesus out of us with a nightmarishly hermaphroditic Satan character. And that’s my view


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