Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Christian, A Rabbi And An Atheist Walk Into A.........(add your own punchline)

They actually walked into a radio studio and debated the Old Testament on Justin Brierly's Unbelievable show on Premier radio. 

The radio show came hot on the heels of the premier of The Bible tv series currently being aired on channel 5.

Rabbi Josh Levy, Christian lecturer Chris Sinkinson and an atheist you may well have heard of, Richard Dawkins were discussing the rights and wrongs of the Old Testament stories, including Abrahams near sacrifice of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah.

Most surprising for me was that Dawkins very much encouraged the reading of the Bible - albeit as a wonderful work of literature not a historical document; a lot of his atheist contemporaries are very much against any form of Bible teaching/RE lessons within schools, yet it was at school where Richard came to the Old Testamant which as a work of literature he enjoys.  So there you have it, Richard Dawkins encourages the reading of the Bible.

If you have been watching the tv series as I have, this radio show was a helpful addition to further unpack some of the more difficult passages that Christians and non Christians alike find unpleasant, I found particularly helpful Chris' observation that in the OT times they were only just getting to know God and the sort of God he was and what he wanted for them and from them.

I can also recommend Chris' book Time Travel To The Old Testament, it is written in such an easy to understand way, that the intellect with which it is written doesn't overwhelm you and the historical and archaeological facts don't bore you, moreover it makes you want to pick up your Bible and go travelling yourself with God and his people!

Did you listen to the Unbelievable show? Are you watching The Bible? What do you think about it? I enjoyed episode 2 more, it is growing on me! I think I may buy the dvd set as I still can't stand all the ad breaks and that ridiculous sponsor puppet Buck Denver!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas Giving

Ah, Christmas.....the annual switching on of the town lights, a new Christmas release at the cinema, the shopping for gifts and food, the collection for the teacher......I'm sorry, what? Yes, the termly collection for the teacher, you know, the one that gets done at Easter and Summer and of course now Christmas.

Now, I'm a bit of a grump when it comes to Christmas, I be-grudge buying gifts for people I don't ever see and haven't a clue what their interests are, which is why gift buying for nieces and nephews stops when they hit 18, tough isn't it? And as for cards what a waste of money and paper they are; while wishing someone you see regularly a 'Merry Christmas', you hand them a card that wishes them a 'Merry Christmas'.  And someone you don't ever see from one year to the next and may probably have even died years ago, you post one to! Why?

But the one thing I really dislike when it comes to Christmas, is the annual email that comes round asking for contributions of a fiver towards a gift for the teacher! Multiply that by a class of 30 and you're looking at £150! Yes, teachers are overworked and underpaid, but aren't most people? Especially the volunteers; in fact the people that run the Brownies/Cubs, toddler groups, Sunday schools, etc. all do it voluntarily, in their own time, for our children and never once have I as a parent been asked to make a contribution towards their Christmas gift!

And as Christmas is about giving, whether it's splashing out ridiculously and going to into the red, because you can't bear to see your child have a tantrum because they didn't get the latest iphone, or inviting family or friends around for Christmas dinner, or giving your Son as the Saviour of mankind to the world, maybe this year if you haven't before, think about giving to someone who isn't expecting it, especially someone who already gives to you by way of volunteering.

And as for the teachers gift? Hand in your homework on time, will probably be the nicest surprise they'll get all year!

Do you have a Christmas collection that gets your goat?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Bible Leaves Me Dissapointed

I have opened up the broken laptop in order to post, having not done so in a few months I really wanted to be able to give my thoughts on the much anticipated tv series to come over from America. The Bible. 

So while my laptop dies and whirs away in the background, so for me did the tv drama.

I am not reviewing the sponsorship, but what on earth were they thinking? Do Christians not already have a hard enough time showing others that actually they can be intelligent people, who are able to run a perfectly normal life and yes, believe in an almighty God in Heaven, a man in the sky if you will, without then having to sit through dozens of ad breaks while some patronising puppet asks kids 'what's in the Bible?'......Honestly atheists, this isn't a made up kids story we believe in.

I was hoping this drama would be one that would be very watchable for Christians and non Christians alike; apparently in the US it went down a storm with many people becoming Christians after watching it, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church in South California did 3000 baptisms as a result of the show!

The opening scene with Noah telling his children the story of creation as the Ark rocked to and fro was a good idea, after all how are they going to fit the Bible into 10 hours? But almost immediately it felt like a students short film as Noah narrated and clips of wilderbeast and birds and whales appeared as if cut and pasted into the production from a David Attenborough documentary.

We then move swiftly on to Abraham, and it's at this point I start to feel disappointed in the programme, while at the same time enjoying it?! I love the stories and was keen to see how they would be translated to television in 2013, trouble is it felt very 70's to me, the characters were lacking, well, character! It was around this point about 15 minutes in that I thought, if I wasn't a Christian there's no way I would still be watching this, it became boring and slow, not unlike some sermons I have sat through, where you cringe thinking I hope if there's a visitor to church today they understand it's not always like this.

Skipping straight past Joseph? (According to some tweeters he was busy doing a song and dance somewhere) We move to Moses in Egypt and I really start to feel I've seen it all before, which I guess if you're making a show of a film that's been made more than once, from the best selling book of all time that you don't want to deviate from, you will have seen it all before! So what was I expecting? How do you produce a modern tv show of the Bible while keeping true to it's word?

I don't know, but the BBC do - they got it spot on only a few years back with both  The Passion and The Nativity.

Will I be tuning in next week? Absolutely! I just may not watch it on Saturday night prime time viewing! Maybe Monday morning when I'm doing the ironing!

Did you watch it? Are you Christian or not? As always the book's better than the film!