- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

This here’s a post about pain and suffering — and delighting in pain and suffering.

First, the pain and suffering: “Winter Light,” part of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s spiritual trilogy of the early-‘60s. (By the way, I’m one of those renters, chronicled not too long ago in the Wall Street Journal, who uses Netflix primarily for artsy movies, only to let them collect dust for months.)

One of Bergman’s sideline characters tells Tomas, a rural parish priest whose crisis of faith is at the center of the drama, that it’s misguided to focus overmuch on the physical suffering of Christ. Argot, a hunchback, says he has, cumulatively speaking, suffered more than Christ did. The more severe suffering, Argot says, was mental and emotional: the dread anticipation at Gethsemane; the abandonment by his disciples; indeed, feeling forsaken by the Father himself on the cross.

While not diminishing, certainly, the pain that accompanies crucifixion, I think this is an insightful point, and one I wish I’d come across before seeing the carnival of cruelty that was “The Passion of the Christ.”

Now, the delight: If you’re ever bored and find yourself near an Internet connection, do yourself a favor and search for self-published cover versions of your favorite songs on YouTube.com. I can’t get enough. I’m reminded of a joke Dennis Miller used to tell: “Folks, the country is officially out of talent.”

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