Tag: the bible miniseries

The Bible Miniseries: Stuff I Loved

or rather,
The Top 10 Details That May or May Not Have Been Completely, Documentary-Level Accurate But That I Totally Loved About The Bible Miniseries.

1. Noah telling the creation story to his family while on the arc. Historically, perhaps not (though we do not know that just because it wasn’t yet recorded that God didn’t share the knowledge with Noah. They were on good terms). It was a creative way to begin this epic tale, and it was a sweet rendering of the family unit God chose to save when He destroyed the whole rest of the world.

2. I love how so many iconic figures were shown in their flaws… Sarah and Abraham, David, Samson. I love how there was a sympathetic lean to some of those we might think of as villains or weaklings (Delilah, Zedekiah, Judas)…. lest we ever forget, all of them were humans.Jesus Loves You

3. Jesus was full of love. It is so simple and obvious, yet often overlooked. I love that He was depicted as a true friend, a son who loved his mother, a man who was heartbroken over the troubles of others.

4. Mary Magdalene hanging with the disciples… Yeah. That would have been me :)

5. The passion and crucifixion was bound to have comparisons to The Passion of the Christ. I think for a made-for-TV product, it was just right. The goriness factor was obviously turned down, but two aspects of Diogo Morgado’s performance made the suffering palpable to me: his constant trembling, and his crawling to the cross. Ugh. I can barely type those words.

6. The use of satan was spot-on… subtle, shadowy, menacing, but not interfering. Isn’t it like him, to appear in the background and make us lose our focus?

marys7. The sisterhood moments between Mary the mother and Mary Magdalene after the crucifixion… might not have been recorded anywhere, but may it serve as an inspiration. Christian “Mamas” need to be there for Christian “daughters,” the pure and focused need to love and mentor the newborn in Christ. Rock on, sisters.

8. I before never saw a depiction of the stoning of Stephen. It was chilling and inspiring, even if the culprits were watered-down. he stood for Jesus, and then He saw Him in the sky. Could I do that?

9. Saul’s conversion to Paul was intense. I enjoyed how a shout-out to “Amazing Grace” as well as an oral presentation of 1 Corinthians was part of his testimony. Again, the message has been shared!

10. As a lifelong (well, since age 7) pentecostal, I LOVED and APPRECIATED the depiction of the “upper room experience” more than I can say. People who are not pentecostal do not “get” speaking in tongues… some do not believe… some think they are scary, weird, made-up, etc. I even have a sweet friend who looked up some instances of tongues-speaking on You Tube just to see what it is all about. I cannot imagine the amazing-ness of the moment when the Holy Spirit first visited the Church, but I love to think it was exciting, exhilarating, empowering, and not to be mistaken for anything but the Spirit of God. Boom! I’m gonna go rewind it again…

The B-I-B-L-E

“Blessed are the Christians who challenge The Bible Series in its Biblical correctness yet be the same ones who sing scripturally incorrect gospel and worship songs.” –Sue Duffield

 

bible memesWe watched The Bible five Sundays in a row. Our church, like many, made it an event. We had in-home viewing parties, our pastor tied it in with his sermons, and we Facebook’d it like the Oscars or something.

Basically, Christians who also happen to be fans or followers of pop culture get Excited when Christian-based entertainment is offered that is not cheesy, cheap, or that panders. It is rare.

I grew up watching the 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth and the classic Ten Commandments. In my little world, those were the gold standards of Biblical representation on film, and both have stood pretty well against the test of time. Then in 2005, Mel Gibson gave us the phenomenal The Passion of the Christ. That movie was so challenging to watch, so raw and beautiful all at once, but alas, it showed only a portion of Christ’s life and a sliver of the whole Bible. I know I am one of many who wanted more.

jesus

The Bible miniseries is extra culturally-relevant because of the explosion of social media that has occurred since those other films were made. And from the night the very first segment aired, the debates began:

 

 

  • Why didn’t ‘they’ show Joseph’s coat of many colors, or Elijah and Elisha, or Ruth and Naomi, or _____ (other favorite Bible story)
  • Why are there LIQUOR commercials?! My eyes! My eyes!
  • Why is Jesus so good looking (/smoking hot/etc)? {Really, people? He is the King of Kings…why not?}
  • So and so did not say that at such and such a time. What gives, Touched-By-An-Angel Lady? You are going to mislead millions of people! (I especially enjoy this article… and pose to this author: Any of these ‘kingdom’ issues? Does it really matter if King Saul was peeing or pooping in the cave? REALLY?!)

I think it is safe to say that many, many Christian viewers missed the point.

And that got me thinking: maybe this series wasn’t for us.

I mean, if “we” are such experts on what the absolute correct details of the whole Bible are, and the order of importance of each, we don’t need to see a series.

And if “we” are so sensitive to what we watch that a Jim Beam commercial is going to send us straight off our holy high horses on to a bender, then by all means, we should avert our eyes. {I’m not talking about people who struggle with alcohol here, either… I’m talking about the pious}

I choose, rather, to participate in the dialogue. I don’t know “who” outside my circle was watching The Bible. But I do know that between 11 and 14 million people were watching it for 5 straight weeks. And what did they see?

– God made us
– we are flawed
– God loves us anyway
– God gives us amazing things, like children when we are infertile, strength to slay giants, protection from fires and floods and hungry lions, and second chances. And third chances. And many more chances…
– God came to Earth in the form of a man, His son Jesus.
– Jesus served humbly, loved politically-incorrectly, ministered supernaturally, sacrificed completely, died painfully, resurrected miraculously, and ascended to Heaven after leaving us a Spirit to comfort and empower us.
– The Spirit of God visited the followers of Jesus after His ascension, showed off by causing them to speak in different languages, and gave them power to Do His Work.
– God continued to speak with, inspire, and enable His followers to preach the good news and live in service to Him.

I saw someone today call the last two hours of The Bible a “weak and almost unidentifiable Gospel presentation.” I am not sure what he was watching. In particular, the representation of the “Upper Room Experience” (the different tongues, from Acts 2) was surprisingly 1) not offensive, 2) cooler than even I imagined it, 3) fairly self-explanatory.

In my own opinion, majoring on the minors is the tragic flaw of the mainstream Christian churchgoer. Literally *millions* of people saw The Bible series and heard the gospel. As a result, they might accept it, reject, research it, argue it, love it, balk at it, understand it better, care about it more, debate it, or pass it on. But chances are, they will not forget it…because when God sends out His Word, we are unable to ignore it.

Regardless of what details went askew (and I am willing to bet most of the quibbles are based on denominational theologies, but that’s just a guess, and that’s a whole other post…), 14 million people saw and heard that God created us, Jesus loves us, and that He is the way, not to mention that He calls, equips, heals, and walks with us still today. I’m feeling pretty excited about 14 million people hearing that! That they saw it with modern special effects and attractive actors is a method, not a new gospel.

Today, I visited my favorite entertainment website and saw they had finally paid attention to the series (and will mention here that it was the back page ad of their weekly mag a few weeks ago – prime real estate):

EW on The Bible ratings

Along with this, celebrities Tweeted their congrats to the producers… some of the same celebs who showed very little regard for Mel Gibson’s work in 2005. Columnists from a variety of outlets are reporting on a hunger for ‘religious entertainment’ and a new interest in Bible stories. A game app has been developed, and there are already talks of spin-off that will focus on Jesus. Maybe it will all end up a twisted mess, or maybe, these pieces will continue to break barriers and speak to people who won’t, just won’t, pick up a Bible or go to a Bible study.

Let’s at least agree that turning their eyes toward Jesus is a good thing…

The Bible – the book, not the miniseries, is available to read for free at many places on the internet. Check out YouVersion or Bible Gateway.

Coming Thursday: “The Top 10 Details That May or May Not Have Been Completely, Documentary-Level Accurate But That I Totally Loved About The Bible Miniseries.