Black folk and the Passion
Perhaps I was wrong in thinking that black folk wouldn't go for the Passion. According to this article black (and other minority) Christians are very interested in the Passion and it's message of suffering and redemption.
An African-American Christian's View of 'Passion'
Descendants of slaves FULLY UNDERSTAND why Gibson's cameras show the instruments of torture and repression--whips and chains evoke powerful collective memories of the suffering of our African foremothers and forefathers HERE in this country at the hands of so-called "Christians." It wasn't so long ago that our great-grandparents literally bore the scars of slavery in their bodies--and the infamous cat o'nine tails was ALSO used on subjugated Africans by viscious, sadistic overseers who acted just like the Roman legionnaries and lictors depicted in the film.
One of the reasons people of color are responding so positively to THE PASSION OF CHRIST is due to Gibson's frank, realistic depiction of the horrors of scourging and crucifixion. The Yeshua of Nazareth depicted in this film shows a full range of emotions--He cries, laughs with His mother, stands up to angry religious authorities who want the adulteress stoned-but most of all, THIS Jesus experiences mental anguish and physical torture, is mocked by Herod and spit upon by the Roman soldiers and bears the full brunt of human hatred manifested in unspeakable brutality. In no other commercial movie venue is there ANY comparable depiction of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53--the "Man of sorrows" Who "hid not His face from shame and spitting", although "we hid as it were, our faces from Him...His visage was marred...yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise Him."
It is THIS Jesus--the JEWISH, biblical "Lamb of God"--not the "Pale Pitiful Mystical Robot-Poppet" of Hollywood's imagination--that African-Americans and Latinos recognize as "OUR Jesus"--the God Who let Himself be beaten, humiliated and crushed, Who felt the sting of violence under a harsh regime, Who suffered injustice and oppression, and Whose torn, lacerated flesh bore the marks of a savage, repressive empire bent on world conquest. Black Christians identify with the God Who becomes a "slave" during Passover, the Festival of Freedom--He is bought for 30 pieces of silver, the market value of a slave in first-century Israel--in order to free humanity from its captivity to sin and death. The honest, unsparing depiction of the harsh reality of Roman punishment "hits home and "rings true" for those whose lives are impacted daily by systemic injustice and senseless violence.