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Being misunderstood is no fun at all

By Curtis Shelburne

Being misunderstood is no fun at all, as Mel Gibson is now finding out firsthand. Not that many months ago, Mel would certainly have been considered the darling of any television talk venue. Reel him in to talk about any upcoming movie, and you’d landed a segment dotted with laughter, good humor, mutual appreciation, and all sorts of warm fuzzies.

One thing at least is still the same. Everybody wants to talk to Mel. About his new movie. But now the segments are characterized by deeply concerned and troubled looks, searching questions and “sniffy” questioners, barely concealed condescension, and no warm fuzzies at all. What happened?

Mel got serious about his faith.

Mel made a movie about what he considers the most important day in the history of the world.

And Mel broke the taboo of media and Hollywood elites that says you don’t talk much about your faith in public, particularly if your faith is in Christ.

Mel could have converted to the Muslim faith and, yes, the tabloids would have loved it, but he wouldn’t have drawn criticism and fire.

Mel could have announced that he was leaving his wife for a jiggly actress he met on the set of one of his films. The tabloids would have been absolutely giddy about it and he would have been subjected to almost no criticism at all.

Mel could have made a movie based on the premise that Martians colonized the earth 4 billion years ago, that we are all their descendants, that Bill Gates is actually a Martian sleeper agent and the Windows operating system was originally written in Martian code—and even if Mel had absolutely believed it, it would have been pretty much just what Hollywood expects.

Mel could have done all of those things, and lots of things much stranger, and nobody in Hollywood or on the TV talk shows would have raised even an eyebrow.

But instead Mel has made a movie that centers on the sacrifice of Christ and has said, “With all of my heart, I believe in the One who loves us all so much that he died on the cross for our sins.”

I don’t know what bothers Mel’s deeply “concerned” (don’t you just hate that “look”?) interviewers and critics most — that he really believes that Christ did indeed die for the sins of the world and that salvation is through this one suffering Savior. Or that when Mel says he had reached the pinnacle of what our society counts as success and found it completely devoid of real meaning, he is romping all over the values of his interviewers who are killing themselves to try to get what he has already had and found to be less than worthless.

It’s hard to be misunderstood. But who was ever more misunderstood than the Christ?

Curtis Shelburne is minister at 16th and Avenue D Church of Christ in Muleshoe. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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