Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cool Or Just Creepy?

A million years ago when K.Z. was a tiny guy I heard all about the planning and subsequent opening of "The Holy Land Experience" in Orlando. At the time I thought it was a genius idea and I was itchin' to go. But my baby was still a toddler when they opened and I did not need to race right down at the time. The thought has popped in my mind a couple times through the years as my family has grown and my children have aged.

Recently I caught site of a picture on their website of an actor there portraying Jesus, with the caption, "Look into the eyes of the One who changed the course of history". I was a bit offended. It's a great theatrical picture, as the actor is posed with a young visitor gazing compassionately upon her face, but "Look into the eyes of the One who changed history"? As far as I have been taught, those eyes left the earth and ascended into the clouds thousands of years ago. I cannot wait to look into those eyes when they return, but I know for a fact that those eyes are not currently in a theme park in Orlando.

So what is the harm? I have taken my kids to Disney World, Hershey Park and Busch Gardens where they are bombarded with actors dressed up as various characters. They know that the big Hershey bar is not a real Hershey bar and that Buzz and Woody simply cannot be real. After all, they are 7 feet tall at Disney and in "real" life they are dolls. But there is still that glimmer in their eye at the prospect of meeting Cinderella or Ariel and the wonder of, "is that the real one?".

I am not quite ready to be that mom that reveals that Cinderella is just some chick that commutes from Kissimmee or that Ariel is just an unknown actress from New York residing in Florida for a season to work at the park. They will know it soon enough as their own common sense takes over.

But the pretend Jesus? That is a different can of worms. I don't mind seeing someone play Paul or Joseph and Mary or perhaps Ruth. They were all real people, but mortals. Yet the King of the Universe in human form is sacred. It's a little unnerving for me to see Him portrayed at a theme park mingling with the guests as if he were Christ the King.

I still love the idea of "The Holy Land Experience", and would like to go. Maybe I am wrong as to how He is portrayed and represented. Has anyone been there? Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Is this really cool or just creepy?


Lea said...

Way over the top I think. I have been to a wonderful passion play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and it was really touching but the person who played Jesus did not walk around pretending to be him before and after the production. That is just too much. I would not want my kids to see that either.

Between the Trees said...

I gotta tell you, we really loved the "experience". At the time we went, our children were 6 and 2. We were very careful to explain "pretend" Jesus and that they had a pretend Jesus to remind some that He was fully human, though no actor is without sin. Nothing about the place resembles a theme park. Every bit of it is for the glory of God and that is obvious immediately. The musical presentations were fabulous and the historical and archaeological information was very well presented. Sure, there will be faults with anything done by man, but we were very touched by our time there and look forward to going back.

There definitely wasn't anything creepy, but I can see how the world wouldn't like it very much. Here are my links to posts that I did when we went...with pics.

Mrs. Sam said...

Yah, I hear you, its a tough one for certain. But, if something like this can make you examine your faith and what you believe even more, if it can take you to the edge and you don't fall, if it can stir passion in you about the one who made you...gotta be a good thing. I think back to the Passion movie. When I looked at Jim Cavezel playing Jesus, I was moved. Because I know that Jesus was a man and those playing him are potraying the man part, not the divine part, I'm able to connect with the man Jesus who then supernaturally took on the sin of the world in the Divine. There's no way a mere human could do that. So to see a mere human playing that part of Jesus dosn't offend me but gives me courage. I know that Jesus knew how to feel raw emotion, he wept for Lazarus. I love being pushed in my faith. Going deeper is always hard, but worth the result.