Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Passion of Hotel Rwanda

found via The Gutless Pacifist is this article - The Passion of Hotel Rwanda about Hotel Rwanda, which I've written about previously. Columnist Brian McLaren raisese the issue - if the Christian community rallied for people to see The Passion, why aren't they rallying for people to see Hotel Rwanda? It's a good question, but I'm afraid the answers may be obvious....

Some excerpts:
"A year after Mel Gibson's movie, I found an even more Christian film, one that most Christians are ignoring...
For whatever reason, when I walked out of the recent film Hotel Rwanda, the story of a hotel manager who saves more than a thousand Tutsi refugees from Hutu-led genocide, this thought wouldn't leave me: If we really had the mind and heart of Christ, this is the movie we would be urging people in our churches to see...
Then I go back to the film again. I think about Tutsi and Hutu locked in a cycle of fear and aggression, insult and revenge, attack and counterattack. And I also think of the Twa (the literal "little people" of our world) whose story is so little known, who suffer in the crossfire between the larger, more powerful tribes. And I think about how our community of Christian believers is divided by tribes also caught in long-standing cycles that seem to defy reconciliation: Protestant, Catholic; liberal, conservative red-state, blue-state; contemporary, traditional; postmodern, modern; seeker-driven, seeker-sensitive; purpose-driven, tradition-driven, and so on.
And I go back to the film, and think of the hotel and its manager, himself a Hutu, but one who loves Tutsi as well. I think about his distinction early in the film between family (who deserve help) and non-family (who one can't worry about), and how in the course of the genocide, he comes to see that all neighbors are family. And I wonder why so few of us see our neighbors in the Christian faith in anything close to a similar way, not to mention our non-Christian neighbors who may also be modern-day prostitutes, tax collectors, and Samaritans. I wonder what kind of tragedy it would take to bring us to the insight gained by that hotel manager...
In fact, I can't think of a more worthwhile experience for Christian leaders than to watch Hotel Rwanda and then ask themselves questions like these:

  • Which film would Jesus most want us to see, and why?
  • Why did so many churches urge people to see Gibson's film, and why did so few (if any?) promote Terry George's film? What do our answers to that question say about us?
  • What were the practical outcomes of millions of people seeing Gibson's film? And what outcomes might occur if equal numbers saw Hotel Rwanda as an act of Christian faithfulness?
  • In what sense could Hotel Rwanda actually be entitled The Passion of the Christ?
  • What do we make of the fact that a high percentage of Rwandans who participated in the 1994 genocides were churchgoers?
  • What do we make of the fact that a high percentage of the Americans who ignored the 1994 genocides (then and now) were and are churchgoers?
  • What kind of repentance does each film evoke in Christians in the West? Why might the kind of repentance evoked by Hotel Rwanda be especially needed during these important days in history? "

    Ok, now I've quoted half the article. But I think it is worth the read! And a movie worth the watching.
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