FOX kicks off Holy Week with 'The Passion'

"It’s so different from anything else that’s been done on television." — Tyler Perry

On Sunday night, FOX staged a live musical event, "The Passion," presented by host Tyler Perry and featuring a host of famous musicians and singers. Live from New Orleans, for two hours on Broadcast Television, the story of Jesus during Holy Week was presented.

I didn't hate the telecast, but I didn't totally buy into it. That being said, it was incredible to see a network spend money and broadcast hours essentially preaching the Gospel. Live musicals are big right now, and FOX has stolen the thunder from NBC, which kicked it off. "Grease" live was the best live musical event so far. And "The Passion" captures a lot of those production values.

In the wake of seeing the telecast, here's a look at what I thought worked and what didn't work.

What worked:
* Like "Grease" Live, this was a great production. The park in New Orleans looked good, the show got the crowd involved, and it made great use of its surroundings.

* It also featured a good cast and some great singers. That made some of the moments very powerful. The recitation of Scripture, the hosting by Tyler Perry, and the powerful declaration of faith all worked.

* The Gospel message was conveyed in a moving and beautiful way.

What didn't work:
* I know they wanted to appeal to the masses, but I was confused a bit by the modern dress/setting and tone of this production. It felt weird to see Jesus ordering from a food truck and looking like He was part of a Backstreet Boys cover band.

* The music. Some of the songs were beautiful and carried the message. The passion of the singers always worked. But using modern rock songs in the midst of this story didn't always work. Sometimes it felt a big odd, especially since not all the artists and pieces were Christian. It felt like trying to re-interpret some of these pieces for reasons that didn't work. That, to me, sometimes took me out of the moment.

In the end, "The Passion" wasn't perfect but it was engaging. It was an opportunity to preach the Good News of Jesus' death and resurrection to the world. I can only hope more opportunities like this are afforded Christians in the future, and kuddos to Tyler Perry for making this happen and sharing his faith with the world.


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