In particular the temptation(s) ascribed to Jesus in the film "The Last Temptation of Christ." Martin Luther King, Jr. in the previous post (I believe though would welcome your comments) is warning us about the temptation to force a weaker party to our will because to do so, he says destroys any relationship, and he applies that caution to the relationship between human and divine as well as between humans.
So I thought I would watch someone else's take on temptation, specifically that of the film, "The Last Temptation of Christ" which both Anita* and Dave* recommended. I did not like it, not that I bothered to watch the whole thing, and went whining to Richard to get his take.
"They are trying to portray the inherent tension
between divine calling and instinctual survival."
Ann: Richard, I hate to be the odd man out, but I really don’t like this movie. About two-thirds through and see no reason to continue.
Richard Burton: Let’s take that from the top, shall we? First, you don’t mind being the odd man out. After a lifetime of fighting it, you seem to have embraced the role. This is what has allowed you to do what you are doing now.
Instead, what you really mean is that, if your friends Anita and Dave like it so much, what are you missing, both in your perception of the movie and internally, that is, what deficit is preventing you from seeing what they are seeing? And, yes, you should see the rest of the movie, not that it will change your mind, you stubborn old thing, but then you will know why it won’t change your mind.
The real problem is that you don’t like the Jesus character or the actor playing him so you don't want to watch the rest of the movie. It is not that he is too human for you but that he does not carry through his transformations in a manner believable to you. He seems rather silly and so do those around him. Some of this is due to the dated nature of the cinematography. (I should know, have you seen “the Robe “ lately?) But more importantly, you have not grasped the message. Dafoe in an interview say he gets it. So far you don’t.
A: OK, explain it to me please - if in fact you get it.
RB: I’ll not dignify that last comment with an answer, but as to what the film is trying say, I would suggest that they are trying to portray the inherent tension between divine calling and instinctual survival which in the film does not resolves until the end. Which is why you should suffer through the entire film.
A: Alright, OK, already, I did.
RB: Having said that, I don’t disagree with you that the film lacks emotional power. Dave and Anita saw it earlier in their lives, that is to say, when their individual spiritual development as well as the culture in general had not progressed to the point it is today. As a result, they were more open to a somewhat simplified portrayal of the tension between human and divine. Cathy (St. Catherine of Sienna) portrays it in infinitely more subtle and, to me, effective terms in the posts on this blog as well as in her other writings.
I did not know Dafoe (our careers never intersected), but he is a fine actor. So I think it is more likely Scorsese’s depiction of Jesus that rubs you the wrong way. He’s just not believable. In your present state of being, what you hear now, what you see in your mind and access through these writings is nothing like as simple as the camp story that movie tells. The idea of Christ as a mortal, as a man who sins, has sex, makes mistakes is no longer shocking.
A: I didn’t get why he was making crosses, I didn’t get why/how he changed, and I didn’t get why he was so militaristic, then backed off to let himself be crucified.
RB: No, that is not it. You just don’t buy into the idea that Christ was crucified for your sins or anyone else’s. A martyr, yes, but a martyr to a cause he could not control and never has because he depends upon his invitation being accepted by each individual soul. He then works through those who can see his light shining against the aggression, hate, and destruction that has been perpetrated in his name and others. The film was a game changer; you are just seeing it after the fact.
A: So what's the temptation?
RB: The temptation is to run from the invitation of the Divine. And that's what you have been doing when you complain about not getting this movie. Not to worry, love, we all do it.
December 13, 2019
*Anita Sacco, David Johnson (See "Recommended Channelers" under "Resources" tab above)
All blog entries are works of the imagination and are for spiritual and entertainment purposes only.