Theologians – Making Mountains out of MoleHills?

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This blog addresses a few criticism I received on a play I wrote and produced called, “The Cup.”  The drama ran on Thursday and Friday of Holy week (Easter).  This year marked its second year in production.  I am thrilled to report it was packed house on both nights.

The play depicted Jesus time and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I unpacked the figurative ‘Cup’ that Jesus asked God to remove from Him – exploring the types of sin that was in each of the cups with special attention given to the last cup that brought Jesus down to His knees making Him sweat drops of blood.

God really showed up as we attempted to display Jesus’ love, His compassion and ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.

Of course there is always a critic – and that’s okay!

Now let me say it this way, I (we) received many compliments about how great the production was.  It warmed my heart, as well as the cast of plus 60 and all those who worked behind the scenes.

But there were those who found fault with the production.   Let me me first say that “We won’t grow if everyone is constantly saying to us, “How Great Thou Art.”   You can not improve upon perfection because perfection is the ultimate. And I admit I am no where near perfection.

Constructive criticism is always helpful because the motivation behind it is that the person really wants to see you do better.  But then there are what I call  ‘Modern Day Pharisees – MDPs.’ In biblical times Pharisees gave Jesus a hard time rebuking Him for not washing His hands, not making His disciples fast or healing people on the Sabbath Day.

In other words, they were sweating over the small stuff!

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #4 Review

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #4 Review

This episode is called, “Mission.”

Description:

  • Jesus brings a dead man back to life
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey
  • Jesus turns on the money-changers in the temple
  • Caiaphas coaxes Judas into betraying Jesus
  • Jesus throws the disciples into turmoil at the Last Supper.

Categorical Review

  1. Things I Liked
  2. Things that were Shocking
  3. Things that were Missing in Action
  4. Things that I Did Not Like
  5. Things that the UN-Churched Learned about Jesus

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #3 Review

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #3 Review

This episode is called, “Hope.”

Description:

  • The Jews are enslaved in Babylon
  • Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den
  • The Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will bear a child
  • Joseph takes Mary to Bethlehem for the census
  • Judea comes under the ruthless rule of Pilate.

I hope you enjoyed Episode #3 of the Bible Miniseries.  In the video I discusses some questions and address some comments.

Feedback, Questions & Comments

  1. Jesus touching water to attract fish
  2. Jesus saying, “We’re going the change the world.”
  3. Jesus Baptism and why producers left off the Dove descending and God making pronouncement over Jesus.

I have enjoyed The Bible Miniseries and have observed where producers have used creative license to draw in their audience.

Challenge: Use series as a segue for faith discussions.

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The Bible Miniseries Critic’s Challenge

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Heard the saying, “Everyone’s a Critic”?

I received some comments and criticisms about the Bible Miniseries on how Satan was portrayed to look like President Obama.  This statement has gone viral and people are now all ‘out of sorts.’

We will always have critics and those who stir up dissension among the masses. In my opinion, I don’t believe that Roma and Mark (the producers of the show) went out to purposely look for an Obama look-a-like to play the role of Satan.

I will say however, this seems to me, like a demonic ploy to lead a protest against the show and I am sure that the ‘real’ Satan is getting a kick out of it!

Paving the Way?

Could it be, that in spite of these types of up rises, as well as our theological differences, that this Bible Miniseries could be used as a sort of ‘forerunner’ (like John the Baptist) paving the way that would ultimately bring in new people to our churches who may be finally ready to make a commitment to Christ?

Why critics so hostile?

Further, is it necessary for the ‘Christian’ community to be so hostile in expressing their views against the show?

It reminds me of the Pharisees in the Bible.  They did not rejoice over the healing, rather, they made an issue out of the fact that the healing took place on the Sabbath!

Our bickering and criticisms amongst one another illustrates, once again, the “GREAT DIVIDE.”

Who would want to join a religion or come into a relationship with Jesus when His supposed followers can’t agree on anything regarding their faith?

Someone wrote “A little poison kills” to which I say, “..and so does starvation.”

Let’s give credit to those who are making attempts.

At least they are doing something! They are making an attempt to evangelize and expose people to the Word.

Let’s tell the truth and shame the devil –  if exposing people to the Word or evangelizing were left up to many of us as their only form of nourishment, the people would ‘starve’ to death!

Are there some theological issues that I have concerning the show?

You bet.  I see them and have made note of them and will use this platform to discuss them.

Are they show stoppers?

In my opinion, they are not ‘show stoppers’ but opportunities for discussion. I offer a challenge to use the show as a segue to begin conversations of faith. Think about it, what an opportunity this could be.

To those who are ‘UNchurched’, we should use caution so that we do not play into validating their beliefs that the Bible contradicts itself, rather discuss scenes that in your view were theologically represented correctly.

For the believer, this is an opportunity to dig deeper for greater revelation.

 

Stay tuned I believe I will begin to address in a more formal way some of the theological issues that surfaced during the show.

 

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The Bible Miniseries Criticisms

 

I must admit that I really enjoyed part one of  The Bible miniseries.  However, I have heard some less than favorable comments from individuals with a background in the Bible.

Before I begin with any of the accounts to retell biblical passages, you must know that producers use what is called, “Creative license” when creating any film.

This is used to promote dramatization and to engage the viewers into the scenes.

Why is this important to understand?   Because the average person says that reading the Bible is boring and irrelevant to today’s culture.

Retelling biblical stories in an animated and creative way may spark interest and motivate the nominal Christian, as well as, the UN-Churched to pick up the Bible and read It for themselves.

Here are some top criticisms/observations I heard:

  • The Angels that approached Abraham and Sarah were NOT Black, Asian or White.
  • The Angels that went to Sodom and Gomorrah were not beaten and did not BEG Lot for help; nor were they ninjas.
  • Isaac was not a boy (age 10) when Abraham offered him up as a sacrifice.
  • Incomplete and they skipped the life of the major patriarchs: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
  • They didn’t show Moses’ staff  turning into a snake.
  • Hebrew people crossed the Red Sea on DRY GROUND not a wet ground with water spraying on them.

Multi-Cultural Angels

I thought the use of a multicultural team was most creative.  Our God is a God to all people.  If we were to really trace the ethnic background of all the characters of the Bible, there are those who would have said that the entire cast should have been Black – as in dark skinned people.

Angels took a lickin, but kept on tickin

I enjoy suspense movies especially fighting scenes where the good guy is fighting the bad guy.  Characters like Bruce Willis, Steven Segal. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are some of my favorites not because they can fight, but that they can also take a beat down.

I’m gonna take a stab at why I think they wrote it this way.  The angels stated that they were going to spend the night in the square.  Lot was desperate to protect them from the evils of the street. The creative license was to show just how evil and perverse the people of Sodom were.

Come on, No Ninjas!

ninjaWhen I saw the Angels break out in a fighting scene I was reminded of Michael, the arch angel and his military team engaged in battle with the devil and his imps when trying to answer Daniel’s prayer.

I am comforted by this passage of scripture because Hollywood has depicted angels as soft, cute, harmless and even powerLESS beings.

The Bible is clear in depicting the different roles angels play, especially those protective fighting angels.  I’m glad they were not portrayed as wimps and weaklings, but powerful beings that do what needs to be done to protect us everyday!

The ninja or Jackie Chan affects made for better entertainment for the viewer.  I can only guess that God’s military warrior angels could master those swords just as well.

Just how old was Isaac?

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I found out that Isaac may not have been a child when his dad offered him up as a sacrifice.  Scholars debate this fact and have Isaac’s age anywhere from 5 to 36.

Some facts that brought about this dispute include: the age of both Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael, the cultural age of weaning children, the age of Sarah’s death, along with some other historical events.

Most classic biblical movies have  Isaac depicted as a young boy. The point here was to demonstrate Abraham’s faith in God as well as God’s promise to provide.

Why did they skip events?

Yes it did appear as if the producers did skip some crucial scenes such as the life of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, even Aaron’s staff turning into a snake.

Two points, there are still four more shows  and perhaps we may be given a glance back and secondly the goal of the producers is to highlight the entire Bible in 10 hours. Certainly, they will use their creative license in determining what things to air and what things to skip.

Red Sea wet or dry?

The Bible does tell us that they walked across on dry ground and the water stood up like a wall on both sides. I can see why some would have trouble with this as it seems to minimize God’s intervention.  Clearly the producers used a creative privilege here too.  Perhaps it would have cost them too much time to truly unpack this scene.

 

The important thing is that The Bible is being brought into many homes around the world. It gets us all talking and gives us the opportunity to fill in the gaps in order to complete the story. We can only pray that this experience will result in people being interested in learning more and reading the Bible for themselves.

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