Donald Sutherland compares Jennifer Lawrence to Jesus

Two critiques of Mr. Tharpe’s post.

First, Mr. Tharpe seems dismayed by Donald Sutherland’s call for a youth rebellion.

If you click on the linked text in the post, you’ll find an article from the Guardian in which Sutherland expresses concern about, “Drone strikes. Corporate tax dodging. Racism. The Keystone oil pipeline. Denying food stamps to ‘starving Americans’.” Sutherland wants youth to rebel against those things. And what’s wrong with youth rebelling against those things? I’m glad Sutherland wants youth to dislike those things, even if I’m not afraid of the (now probably dead) Keystone Pipeline.

In fact, Mr. Tharpe ought to consider Sutherland’s stance quite moral. Is Jesus sitting there thinking, “Man! I wish we had more drone strikes, more corporate tax dodging, and more racism! How devilish for that actor to suggest people should oppose those things…”?

Second, consider exactly what Sutherland says about Jennifer Lawrence and about Jesus Christ.

Sutherland says Lawrence is “the right person at the right time in the sense of Joan of Arc or Jesus Christ, any genius, in that sense.”

So, Jesus Christ was the right person at the right time, according to Sutherland. For most of Hollywood, that’s crazy talk!

Consider his comparisons of Lawrence to Joan of Arc and Jesus Christ as hyperbole, not as a suggestion for redemption.

After all, as Sutherland continues, he says, “[Lawrence] has the ability as an actor to tell the truth out of the material….” The material he’s referring to is simply the script of the movie. She finds and expresses what’s true within the script.

Sutherland goes on to say, “…and that truth is immediately recognisable with everybody because it hits you in your heart, your solar plexus and your mind.”

If that wasn’t the case for Lawrence, it also wouldn’t be the case for any storyteller of any story that has stuck around for more than a few years. And over the centuries, Christians have found good reasons to read all kinds of stories from their surrounding cultures.

For that matter, Christianity frequently has appropriated pagan texts and stories: The Apostle Paul’s quotation of pagan philosophers in Acts 17:28; Augustine’s use of Platonism and neo-Platonism; Thomas Aquinas’s use of Aristotelianism; George MacDonald’s use of German Romanticism; J.R.R. Tolkien’s use of Norse mythology; and C.S. Lewis’s use of several mythological stories.

I think Mr. Tharpe has lassoed Sutherland and dragged the actor into a controversy he didn’t have in mind.


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