Day 24 • 40 Days (and Nights) of Christian Filmmaking

24-Logo.svgIt’s been a very interesting day 24.

First, I started the day by wading into the American culture wars, and losing a Facebook friend over the gay wedding cake baking issue.  My point?  As Christians, we should consider responding to people the way Jesus responded to people, with more concern about the people we’re interacting with than our rights as Americans.  I was disappointed that my Facebook friend – who identified as a conservative Christian – was so adamant, obstinate, and even insulting (which is what ultimately led to his de-friending me).

Conversely, I’ve been encouraged by the numbers of Christian friends who have chimed in since, recognizing that living as Christians in 21st Century America is not simple, and acknowledging that our role as followers of Jesus might take us to some uncomfortable places.

We 21st century American Christians have a really hard time divorcing our Christian faith – which should be paramount – from our American citizenship.  Over the past few years, it seems like God may have been working pretty hard to demonstrate to us that our hope should not be in our wealth, in our security, in our political party, in the president that we would prefer to win, or even being the dominant cultural force.  At the end of the day, most faithful Christians in history have lived under difficult circumstances, and we shouldn’t be surprised if our experience is anything else.

In fact, we might even find that we’re growing stronger in our faith when our lives are watered with difficulties, rather than stagnating in the pools of comfort and ease, which is what most of us really want, at the end of day.

MV5BMTc1NDU0MzgyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ3MDg1MzE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Second, I ended the day by watching the first episode of A.D. The Bible Continues, the brainchild of Roma Downey (how did she ever go from playing an angel to being the Mother of Christian Filmmaking?) and Mark Burnett (and how did he go from Survivor to being the Papa?).

I have mixed feelings about the start of this mini-series.  On the one hand, I’m glad to see that someone with some clout in Hollywood has the courage and the vision to tackle this project.  Nobody has really ever done what the dynamic duo is doing, and so kudos to them for the ambition.  I’m really curious to see where they take this series, and what they do with the early church.

On the other hand, the first episode didn’t really grab me.  It seemed rushed, in a hurry to get through the crucifixion, which hit me as odd.  Also, I disliked the way that it was written, as if everyone really knew who Jesus really was.  Nearly every line seemed to be filled with the truth of Jesus’ importance, even though it hadn’t been proven yet, which made me feel like many of the lines weren’t earned.

For example, when Pontious Pilate questioned the guard who was responsible for expediting Jesus’ death, it seemed especially pointed that the filmmakers were trying to prove to the audience that Jesus was dead.  It was – as they say – a lot of telling, rather than showing.

It seems like we Christians just really have trouble with writing with subtlety, don’t we?

I am going to stick with the mini-series, because I am curious where they’re heading and how they’ll get there.  I’m expecting a lot of on-the-nose dialogue (which should please the majority of my Christian brothers and sisters, unfortunately), and I don’t expect many surprises, and at the end of the day, I’m guessing that the mini-series will just be alright, but nothing special.

But it does give me something to watch, and for that I’m grateful.

But why – again – do people in the Bible have to speak with British accents?  I just don’t get it.  But at least they had some diversity in the casting!

Day 24 in the bag.

By the way… a Christian-made film I’m looking forward to?

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5 thoughts on “Day 24 • 40 Days (and Nights) of Christian Filmmaking

  1. If I’m right, A.D. is supposed to be a sequel of sorts to their series, The Bible. In that series, the crucifixion was in more detail. So, maybe they’re hoping that people already watched that…

    …I have yet to see the first episode of A.D., but considering I really enjoyed The Bible series, I am looking forward to watching it…

  2. “As Christians, we should consider responding to people the way Jesus responded to people, with more concern about the people we’re interacting with than our rights as Americans.”

    How would you say that Jesus responded (responds) to people? The only predictable thing that I could say about how Jesus responded to people in the Bible was that he was unpredictable. And the only predictability about the result was that he would lead those with open hearts closer to him and those with hardened hearts away from him.

    Jesus is not in control of people’s motives when coming to him, but he has a habit of confounding the self-righteous, healing the broken and serving those who have faith in him. That is a role each of us should follow in our daily lives.

      • Maybe not a model, but an instruction to love God and love neighbour. I think for Jesus, it wouldn’t be a case of do I bake the cake or do I turn the people away but I think he would see it as an opportunity to reveal himself and his Father, and he would lead them to either come to accept him or walk away in disgust. I think that people calling for free expression of conscience by turning them away are taking the wrong path.

        Look at how Jesus revealed himself to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well over a drink of water. He also revealed his knowledge of her situation, through which she came to see him as as a prophet and ultimately the Messiah.

        I can’t think of any examples of Jesus actually telling people to go away from him, but I think its a mistake to think that he just caves into their wishes in order to be nice and tolerant. Often he was threatened with stoning or taken to be thrown off a cliff. He never disobeyed God and stayed true to the Holy Spirit to the end. We are asked to do the same. I’m not sure exactly what being faithful to the Holy Spirit would be in this circumstance, but I do have a particular view of marriage formed by the Bible and by reason. There is a case to say that we are not even talking about the same thing anymore. If you take out God, it is not a sacrament, if you take out the possibility of children, it is not the joining of two into one body.

        I think if I personally was in that position, I would not turn them away but engage them in a conversation about marriage, and about the nature of work being an offering to God. I think the Christian baker is in a stronger position, as ultimately the couple come to the baker, not the other way around. The fruit of his or her labour will be present at the wedding, and the gay couple will have to work out if they are going to be happy having him or her present at their wedding in that way, by eating the fruit of the Christian’s labour, with all the Christian prayers that will go into it.

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