Having seen neither movie yet, I couldn’t tell you what their relative merits are. However, I can make a guess as to two reasons why:
First, The Passion had a truly amazing marketing push behind it. To talk about it as a purely grassroots hit movie is to ignore the accomplishments of Mel Gibson and the distributor in promoting this film as a must-see for Christians. There is a common mistake made when talking about evangelical Christians. Despite the talk about cutting ourselves off from the world, we are very much aware of it and are exposed to the tools used in the rest of culture. In other words, it’s hard to separate “religious” church and/or school life from the “secular” world of working and shopping. The evangelical community has always had a large community concerned with marketing to it, just like any other niche market with special interests.
Second, it’s far easier to feel sorrow and horror over the depth of sacrifices made for you than it is to watch and accept that you yourself might be called upon to make a difference. There’s a remove in the first place, even for those who feel it deeply. This is not a knock on The Passion. I’ve met several folks who found it inspiring in their own lives and wanted to make that difference. But I suspect a marketing message saying “Look what was done for you!’ goes over easier than one that says “Look what you can do for others!” when you’re trying to reach millions of moviegoers.
But, that’s always been the dichotomy in Christianity. Is it about your life, or is it about how you live? According to the Gospels, it’s both, but we’ve always had trouble with that idea. 😐
Link courtesy of The Revealer