Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mel Gibson is not Judas Iscariot.

Mel Gibson was on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" last night, and even though I knew I was about to witness a scary trainwreck, I couldn't help but watch.

It was tense even as Mel walked across the stage, and when he sat down he couldn't stop crossing and uncrossing his legs. First sign of nervousness. He immediately picked up his water mug and took a big drink. Second sign.

Of course Jay wasted no time in getting straight to the jugular - "What's going on with your marriage? You're getting divorced, right?" Mel admitted that the rumors are true - yes, he and his wife are divorcing - they've been separated for three years - yes, he has a girlfriend (and I realize that the fact that he and his wife were separated does NOT excuse this behavior, so don't think I'm condoning it), yes, the girlfriend is pregnant. Then Jay went so far as to ask what caused the dissolution of his marriage. Mel answered "I pretty much took a hatchet to my marriage." I breathed a (slight) sigh of relief. At least he wasn't playing the blame name game.

Then he said something that made me ache a little for him - "I thought you wanted me to come on here to have some fun." And he looked at Jay Leno, someone whom I'm pretty sure he considered to be a friend, and for a moment, there was a flash of betrayal on his face. You sold me out, Jay.

Now I'm the first to admit that Mel Gibson has screwed some stuff up. I was one of his champions a few years ago, during the whole "Passion of the Christ" controversy. I thought (and still think) it was an extremely brave movie to make, especially in the social climate that it was made in. But I remember being nervous for him then, too - my dad and I even had a conversation about it after I came home from the movie, spent from crying. My dad said "You know, the moment that someone in a position of power or fame shares with the world that he or she is a Christian, the devil starts standing at attention. And he will tempt him in any way he can."

And then came the drunken anti-Jewish tirade. Hollywood started sharpening their claws. Mel "Mr. Passion of the Christ" Gibson is a racist idiot. Mel Gibson is evil. Mel Gibson is right up there with Judas Iscariot.

I was horrified at his behavior - I really liked him. I really wanted to like him. Once again, he admitted his guilt and took the heat. No more movies. No more talk-show appearances. Old friends denied their connections with him.

Mel was laying low.

And now this.

And of course I've gotten caught up in the whole "Jon and Kate Plus 8" debacle going on right now. My friend Amy and I were talking tonight, and we almost feel like we know these people. We hurt for them. We want to take them aside and say "Can't you see what you're doing? Stop it! Stop it right now!" Which, of course, we can't. Because we don't know them at all.

And I guess that's my point. None of us actually know these people, but we all seem to feel very just in summing them up in one sentence - "Mel Gibson is a bigot." "Kate is just mean and money obsessed." "Jon is an idiot." My friend Hannah even saw a "reputable" news-station asking viewers the question "What would Kate Gosselin's hair look like on...Halle Barry...or Angelina Jolie?" What? How did we jump there?

I read an interview with the contemporary Christian singer Bebo Norman a few months ago, after he wrote a somewhat controversial song called "Britney," which was blatantly about Britney Spears. The lyrics spoke of an apology from all of "us," and how we had acted like we knew her, we loved her, and then boom! we rejected her just as fast. Bebo said that he had been sitting on his couch flipping through TV stations and came across another TMZ-type show making fun of Britney Spears. Disgusted, he began to turn it off just as the screen froze on a picture of her. Crying. Hard. Bebo said he suddenly realized that she was a person. A woman who was hurting. A child of God.

That's what has been bothering me since last night. Mel Gibson has made some pretty horrendous mistakes - he gave into some hideous temptations that were sent to him for just this reason, and he will pay for these mistakes for the rest of his life. Jon and Kate - same story. The repercussions of an alleged affair will echo for a long time in their family.

But they're still people. Just people. Who fail. Just like me.

We've already written the ending to their story - failures. Disappointments. I'm so thankful that God doesn't share our viewpoint. Our stories are never over. They go on and on. There is re-creation every morning. He makes all things new. We can rise again, victorious after a long defeat.

We're all so fast to cast the first stone. I think I'm going to hold onto mine for a while longer, thanks. Lord knows it's just one of many that I've caught coming my way. I'm not too eager to pass it on.

Song that I'm digging today: "This Year's Love" by David Gray

It's been raining so much here lately that my playlist has been reflective of the weather. I'm a real sucker for any piano-driven song, and when I got this CD in college, this was the song that stayed on repeat. The gloomy piano part, the melancholy voice, the bittersweet lyrics - ah...music to my soul.

I realize that I tend to gravitate towards depressing music. But as Elton John says - "Sad songs say so much."

Best line: "Won't you kiss me on that midnight street?/Sweep me off my feet,/singin' 'ain't this life so sweet?'"


Anonymous said...

Amen to it all!


Jane said...

Oh girl, that was good stuff!!! Such a powerful reminder! I've been sad about Mel and his choices - and what your dad said makes such sense!!! Wow!

Thanks for sharing and thanks for the reminder!