Screw ups who changed the world

By Tom Quiner


Even if you’re a total screw up, watch out. God may use you to change the world.

The list of screw ups who changed the world for the good is long.

My favorite Old Testament example is King David. This guy could do it all. He was a musician and a song writer whose  lyrics are sung more to this very day than Paul McCartney and Cole Porter’s combined.

He was a fearless warrior who mowed down Goliath despite being woefully outsized.

He was a man after God’s own heart, scripture tells us. And yet he cheated on his wife. Worse, he had his mistress’s husband killed after impregnating her.

He was a lousy father, raising one dysfunctional child after another.

And yet God used him to raise Israel up before its enemies.

And then there was St. Peter who denied Christ.

And then there was St. Paul who was an enemy to the early Church before God knocked him off of his horse and opened up his eyes to the shocking beauty of Christ’s love.

I loved St. Augustine who used his considerable intellectual and rhetorical gifts to oppose the Church in the public square, only to be overwhelmed by the love of God in his 30s.

The list of screw ups who did amazing things for the sake of God’s Kingdom is staggering. A modern example has got to be Mel Gibson.

Mr. Gibson, of course, produced, financed, and directed “The Passion of the Christ,” the most controversial and financially successful Jesus film in history.

Gibson was a screw up before and after making this film.

He cheated on his wife.

He was (is?) a raging alcoholic.

He got a  gorgeous movie actress pregnant and dumped his wife (and mother of his seven kids); then split up with his mistress in a ugly row that became public.

He was arrested for drunk driving and uttered anti-semitic remarks. Mr. Gibson is a man at odds with himself in a perpetual battle to properly channel his seething passions.

Despite his demons, or perhaps, because of them, Gibson loves Christ. He made this brutal film to convey the unfathomable sacrifice the Christ made on my behalf and yours.

Love him or hate him, Mel Gibson changed the world with his film. As Christians continue to bask in the glow of this Easter season, The Passion of the Christ dramatically reminds us of the price that was paid.

Watch the interview above conducted by EWTN’s great reporter, Raymond Arroyo, with Mr. Gibson and Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Christ. Gibson gives hints of his demons as Arroyo really fleshes out the director’s creative vision, and brilliance.

Mel Gibson is simply a brilliant story teller who will always be remembered for this life-changing film, even if he is a screw up.



  1. Tom Maly on April 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Wonderful column, Tom!! You are spot on, fer shur!! I also think of a priest who touched/influenced and helped heal countless lives who had/has his own demons and is shown to have feet of clay. Sometimes the line between saint and sinner is blurred, at best!

    • quinersdiner on April 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks, Tom. Great to hear from you.