In this issue of Mennonite Life, we offer two major groupings of articles.
First, Mel Gibson’s controversial film,
The Passion of the Christ, shaped the meaning of the Lenten season in the spring of 2004. It was, as Heidi Regier Kreider says in her sermon in this issue, a
quasi-liturgical event. The film prompted a blizzard of passionate MennoLink comments, letters to editors and short articles in Mennonite publications. For this issue we invited scholars to reflect in more depth about the impact and meaning of the film, with special attention to issues of violence and the atonement. The essays reveal creative ferment in pacifist Mennonite thinking about what J. Denny Weaver calls the current
hot button topic of atonement. The essays also reflect current events. Phil Stoltzfus and Phyllis Bixler both juxtapose Gibson’s Jesus on the cross with the black-hooded Iraqi prisoner from Abu Ghraib prison. People who ponder these images necessarily confront central issues of the Christian gospel.