Anticipating Noah

I must admit that my taste in movies is a bit skewed.  Normally I like ‘fantasy’ epics (think all things based off Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and various recreations of Greek/Norse mythology, Sci-Fi thrillers, etc) and superhero stuff (though the quality here is a VERY mixed bag – often TOO much action, with insufficient pause to allow tension to grow).  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy ‘serious’ films and biographies & stuff (usually in the comfort of my home), but if I’m going to blow what few discretionary dollars I have, I want to escape ‘reality’ and have fun (and all the better if the story has some cleverly disguised social commentary woven in, just nothing too over the top, please).  So, it probably comes at no surprise that I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s major motion picture release of ‘Noah.’

Now, I’m probably going to get myself in a lot of trouble by lumping the story of Noah into the kinds of films & stories that I just mentioned.  I’ve seen a bit of what’s been written by religious leaders about the film.  Some are concerned that the movie isn’t literal enough (I’m not sure what that means, as the entire account of Noah spans merely Genesis 5-10, and the first and last chapters are essentially genealogies).  A wooden reproduction of the text might be sufficient for a 20 min feature in a cartoon video for a 5-year-old, but hardly sufficient for a 2 hour + major feature film.  I suspect there will be a lot of creative license and some over-the-top fanciful insertions.  The assertion is that these things will make the Biblical story ‘unbelievable’ (a largely fundamentalist assertion – whose views of the Biblical material and greater cultural activity do little to aid their cause).

So, just why am I looking forward to this movie?  First, I’m usually supportive of anything that gets people talking about the Bible and/or biblical themes.  Everyone knows the basic source material here.  Most also know that the story is about sin, judgement, salvation, and grace.  Second, I really like it when people (Christian or not) re-imagine the themes and stories of the Bible in fresh and relevant ways.  It doesn’t mean that all views are equally acceptable, but when things are presented in a new light, it helps keep the familiar from becoming stale.  Third, I like a good story – and if there’s one thing that Hollywood has become particularly good at, it’s telling a compelling story.  Story helps to grab the imagination of the viewer (hearer, reader) and immerse them in the tale so as to help the point of the account to become intensely real and personal.  In the end, anyone who is serious about the Bible and what it has to say HAS to be interested in having its stories and message inspire the hearts and minds of today’s culture to higher and greater things – just as it has for countless generations past.

– Pastor Jim Kushner


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