Monday, April 1, 2013

The Bible Miniseries - a Review

Off topic? Let me just say the cinematography in The Bible Miniseries is as professional as it gets, superbly done, and very engaging. I wish I had PVR'd the whole series to watch it a few time over again. I'm sure (and hopeful) there will be re-runs. There - I mentioned the photography, so I'm on topic.

Did I like the series? Oh yeah! It is indeed remarkable, when you view the world as a whole, it seems like Christianity is under greater attack than it has been for decades, maybe even centuries that this miniseries is getting such a good reception all around. I am also very surprised that most criticism of the series is indeed coming from the camp of non-believers, those who typically want Christianity, or aspects of it, destroyed from off the face of the earth - non-believers aren't pulling any punches! Christianity over the most recent hundred years has been very busy doing nothing but attacking itself from within - maybe these kinds of critics simply haven't weighed in yet, but it's encouraging to see the generally positive reception, not to mention the tremendous number of people who tuned into watch the series.

I was expecting huge criticism from the Christian right wing concerning the many inaccuracies portrayed in the series. I noticed many, but I'm not going to name them. I understand that there have been a set of "home study" kits released in conjunction with the show, which is very good - it will allow the fundamentalist critics to air this all out in Sunday School, and I hope they keep it there. What really engaged me the most personally is how the series gave me the courage to move my Christian faith one more step from out of my head and into my heart. When this is taking place, then it follows that in-discrepancies in the story telling matter a whole lot less. What this series accomplished, hopefully for everybody who watched it, is to show us in modern times the way all of these things actually transpired to the people who actually witnessed the real events, long before Theology came along to spoil it all. Man's theology always seems to disconnect the real events from our hearts, doesn't it? When people witnessed Samson's laying down his own life to conquer evil, when he leaned on the public building of the Philistines, why would it matter that in the series, it only shows him leaning on one pillar, when the Bible says there was more than one?

The best accomplishment of all is how the series shows the "centrality of Jesus the Christ" and his gospel throughout human history. The episodes provided us with a very quick journey through the Bible, and it could've been far longer and deeper, but the events chosen were those which look ahead to the Christ from the Old Testament, then it slows down considerably in portraying his life and teachings on earth, and his death, burial and resurrection, followed by a very quick wrap of the beginnings of his movement early in the First Century. I| personally would've liked one more episode, to have gone deeper into events of the New Testament; however, in keeping with the intent of revealing the impact of the Christian narrative had on real people in real time, then it was enough. As an example of what I mean, we are very clearly shown how, as he hung dying on the cross, there were only three people who remained steadfast - Mary his mother, Mary Magdalene and John. These three in fact, although others who failed him at the crucifixion would rise up and serve later on, became the seed of the earliest witness of the Christian faith. The sheer beauty of these three being the ones strong enough to not abandon Jesus, and the visual impact of it portrayed in the photography of this series has done some great things in my own heart. Perhaps the real gospel as it was seen and felt has once again, through this miniseries, gone into the whole earth as it already had been accomplished in the First Century? If so, I rejoice!

I give it four and a half stars, only because I would've liked to have seen more portrayal of the "Acts of the Apostles" in a final episode.

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