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Hello fellow Progressive Christians,

I'm looking for a "religious" movie to rent to watch with my teenage kids this Easter weekend. When they were younger we watched all the old biblical epics ("The 10 Commandments", "Ben Hur", "Jesus of Nazareth") and I put my own personal spin on how to interpret them.

 

Now that my kids are teenagers I definitely don't want to watch anything that emphazes the fantastic elements of the old Bible stories (miracles, etc.), nor am I interested in anything that gets bogged down in pious preachy sentiment.

 

I like "Jesus Christ Superstar" because it tells a story that everyone should know (and in an entertaining fashion) without literalizing the miracles or the resurrection.

 

I'm familiar with "Godspell" but I'm sure the movie is so dated that I'll wait until it's being performed onstage at a local playhouse.

 

Any other ideas? I remember one of the Turner channels had a series of Biblical made-for-TV movies but I'm not sure how literal or preachy they were.

 

thanks!

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Guest wayfarer2k
Hello fellow Progressive Christians,

I'm looking for a "religious" movie to rent to watch with my teenage kids this Easter weekend. When they were younger we watched all the old biblical epics ("The 10 Commandments", "Ben Hur", "Jesus of Nazareth") and I put my own personal spin on how to interpret them.

 

Now that my kids are teenagers I definitely don't want to watch anything that emphazes the fantastic elements of the old Bible stories (miracles, etc.), nor am I interested in anything that gets bogged down in pious preachy sentiment.

 

I like "Jesus Christ Superstar" because it tells a story that everyone should know (and in an entertaining fashion) without literalizing the miracles or the resurrection.

 

I'm familiar with "Godspell" but I'm sure the movie is so dated that I'll wait until it's being performed onstage at a local playhouse.

 

Any other ideas? I remember one of the Turner channels had a series of Biblical made-for-TV movies but I'm not sure how literal or preachy they were.

 

thanks!

 

Welcome to the Forum, Jesusian! Cool handle!

 

Hmmm. Progressive movies about Jesus? I've not seen any, at least any that have done the life of Jesus WITHOUT making his death and resurrection the centerpoint of everything. Maybe some others here have some recommendations.

 

But, seeing as you are good at explaining things to your children, what I would recommend is two movies that, while not specifically about Jesus, are about the kinds of things that Jesus would or would not do:

 

The first one is called "Saved". It is the story of a young girl who gets pregnant and how the "Religious Right" kids at her school shame and disown her, while the "least of these", the misfits, take her in and show her compassion. There is an excellent scene in this movie that talks about how people use (or misuse) the Bible.

 

The second one is "Juno." It is, again, about a young girl who gets pregnant and struggles with what the right thing to do is. It's a quirky movie but, again, it portrays compassion coming from people who really care more about relationships than religious rules.

 

And, finally, if you want a REALLY progressive movie about the life of Christ, there is always, "The Life of Brian." :lol:<_<:unsure:

 

bill

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I'd recommend "Sister Act." It models how the church needs to adjust its ways to connect with real people. I guess it's not really a story from the Bible, though, but I believe it is progressive.

 

Another interesting movie is "Joshua", about a character like Jesus being in our world today. It has been a long time since I have watched it, so don't know if it would be too conservative. Sometimes kids (and others) can't understand why people wanted to crucify Jesus. I think it helps to put Jesus into our current times and see how we think leaders/church would react to him.

 

"Evan Almighty" is a recent religious flick I enjoyed. Even though the miracles of God are part of the humor, the part that is progressive is the idea that if someone asks for patience, God gives them opportunities to be patient, etc. I wouldn't say that comes from a progressive world view, though.

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There was a movie on Archbishop Oscar Romero a few years back. It starred the late Raul Julia. There is also one on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but it was never in wide circulation. "Doubt" is worth seeing. Then there was one called something like "The Third Miracle" with Ed Harris. It was a little preachy, but the acting was good. These aren't exactly "biblical" but they all have religious themes that are generally worthwhile.

Edited by grampawombat
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  • 3 years later...

“Peter and Paul” – in two parts on YouTube, also on Netflix— with Anthony Hopkins and Robert Foxworth. Amazing to consider the hardship, danger and conflicts among themselves the apostles had to work through. I would have preferred a different ending, but other than that, the best film I’ve seen on the beginnings of Christianity.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izKHaDzn5q8

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  • 2 weeks later...

Recent readings have sent me on a Pauline-Gentile-Christian-movement verses the James, the Just, Jewish-Christian-movement within first century Christianity tangent. One facet of the tangent is a movie titled A Polite Bribe which will never come to rural Missouri. I am interested if any of you city-dwellers are aware of it and might have even seen it.

 

If I understand the plot Paul's last journey to Jerusalem was to deliver a "good faith" gesture in the form of coin to the Jewish Christian faction. However, since asked to perform the gesture, the Jewish faction had either rethought the request or had pressure to distance from the Gentile Christians and that's when the final riot of Paul's journeys took place. He was then arrested and eventually sent to Rome to answer for his rabble-rousing. The Epistle Romans may have been written while awaiting trial or execution, either pseudonymously or actually.

 

Has any one seen the movie? It fits with my current journey; James Tabor's Paul and Jesus and Heemstra's Fiscus Judaicus being parts of my tangential journey.

 

Obviously, I am interested in the History of Religion as opposed to the Theology.

 

Ron

 

Just dawned on me-"Critique" instead of "Critic."

Edited by Vridar
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I'm afraid I can't help Ron, being in Australia and all. I hope somebody can provide soem criticing :) of it. Their website says a book and the DVD will be released next year - I've registered to be kept in the loop as to when they are avaliable.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Ron,

 

Thanks for letting us know about this film, had not heard of it. From the trailer, it suggests that the pagan converts’ peace offering to the Jerusalem Christians was the start of Christianity. Does this mean that Judaism and Hellenism were reconciled, by accepting the gift? that Paul and Peter’s disagreement on gentiles having to become Jews before converting to Christianity was then resolved?

 

I read an interview with director Robert Orlando –apparently he had planned to call the film “The Greatest Story Never Told.” He says he was motivated partly by “a desire to chip away at the modern tendencies in all religions to slip toward fundamentalism….In my opinion, religion — and especially conservative Evangelical brands — are belief systems that are verified solely by an emotional experience: something that happens to a person in a very deep place that cannot be challenged. We see this also with Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism. So the most difficult thing in the world is to challenge someone whose existential meaning is attached to a certain belief. To ask them to step back and be historically objective or even critical seems impossible. But I believe that the critical mind plays this role for us. It was a Greco-Roman idea that reason could temper the passions, away from the extremes of self-delusion…”

 

To me, Paul comes across as a mix of passionate mysticism and cerebral rationality—both were needed. I’d like to see the film.

Edited by rivanna
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...Does this mean that Judaism and Hellenism were reconciled, by accepting the gift? that Paul and Peter’s disagreement on gentiles having to become Jews before converting to Christianity was then resolved?

 

Reconciled may not be my word choice. My take from the website was the movie told the story of Peter and James allowing Gentiles to ignore the Jewish requirements, circumcision, kosher diet, etc. and Paul was to return a remuneration collected to the Jerusalem Church as good faith, "A Polite Bribe." But, upon collection and return to Jerusalem, Paul was rebuked by James, not Peter this time, and Hellenistic Christianity parted from Judaism and Jewish Christianity.

 

We shouldn't get confused, we're interested here in the non-Jewish Christians, Jewish Christians and Jews. My take is that the proto-orthodox Christianity, e.i., Pauline Christianity, and Jewish Christianity separated at this time. Eventually Jewish Christianity and other Christians (Ebionites, Gnostics, etc?) were crushed, metaphorically, by what became Orthodox Christianity. The Jewish community rejected Messianic Christianity in all forms, Jewish or Pauline, and continued on their Rabbinic ways. I understand that Rabbinic teachings, Jewish Christianity, and Pauline Christianity separated and this is termed "The Parting of the Ways." My readings indicate this period, 56-60 CE, was the start of the parting and final partition came at the end of the century.

 

Thoughts?

 

Ron

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Others here are more up on history than I am... if I understand correctly, the film calls attention to the fact that James rejected Paul’s collection from the Gentiles (which he had undertaken to help the poor and show support for the temple in Jerusalem- not as a bribe) and that the reaction of the Judean believers against Paul led to his being severely beaten, imprisoned in Rome and finally executed. You’re saying the film shows the start of the division of Judaic and Hellenistic versions of Christianity, during Paul’s mission. The development of the institutions per se doesn’t interest me, but learning about this particular confrontation with the other apostles makes me feel more acutely the extreme conflict and danger Paul faced. He seems even more a tragic figure.

 

The one thing Orlando said that bothered me was “Jesus was profoundly pro-law and pro-Jewish” –do you agree? To me that doesn’t do justice to Jesus’ vision.

 

You would think a TV station might show this documentary…maybe a less negative title would help – “Paul’s Final Journey” or something…

Edited by rivanna
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Others here are more up on history than I am... if I understand correctly, the film calls attention to the fact that James rejected Paul’s collection from the Gentiles (which he had undertaken to help the poor and show support for the temple in Jerusalem- not as a bribe) and that the reaction of the Judean believers against Paul led to his being severely beaten, imprisoned in Rome and finally executed. You’re saying the film shows the start of the division of Judaic and Hellenistic versions of Christianity, during Paul’s mission. The development of the institutions per se doesn’t interest me, but learning about this particular confrontation with the other apostles makes me feel more acutely the extreme conflict and danger Paul faced. He seems even more a tragic figure.

 

The one thing Orlando said that bothered me was “Jesus was profoundly pro-law and pro-Jewish”

You would think a TV station might show this documentary…maybe a less negative title would help – “Paul’s Final Journey” or something…

 

Yes, my recent readings indicate Jesus was promoting living more by the intent of Jewish law. There were Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, Gentile and even early Jewish Christians in Jesus' time. The Sadducees were favoring Roman rule and living by more relaxed rules. The Pharisees, were attempting to follow and promote living by the law. Many here may disagree, but, some scholars believe Jesus was a Pharisee attempting to live by the laws intent. (I know the Pharisee stories questioning Jesus' relaxed law living, but some can be explained by literary license and point making).

 

As to Paul not bribing, I'm suggesting the movie, and other sources, say between the time Paul was sent to procure the treasure and the time he presented it, James was head of the Jewish-Christians which were essentially Messianic Jews. James wanted nothing to do with Paul and his converts. They were muddying the waters. Also, true Jews wanted nothing to do with either group as they were creating problems for the exemption the religion of Judaism enjoyed. Claudius' edict of 41 CE essentially protected Judaism under laws of antiquity. The same edict stated other start up religions were in Jeopardy. Hence, both Pauline Christianity (non-Jewish Christianity) and Jewish-Christianity (Messianic Christianity) were stirring the pot and Romans were getting jittery. The jitteriness of the Romans was a Jewish concern. The conflict hit the fan with Paul's return. Riots broke out and Paul was arrested. Again, my current references all agree on this riotous time. Tabor's book Paul and Jesus, Fiscus Judaicus and now this "A Polite Bribe."

 

Truly there will be no major network presentation against the grain of current popular religion thinking. It's not profitable. And, I don't disagree. Religion has it's purpose the way it is interpreted and the boat doesn't need rocking. But some of us like to think outside the box.

 

Again, I'm not here to tell you I know what happened. I'm trying only to present the tangential journey I've recently come across. Given time I can cite sources if needed. It's fun to discuss.

 

Ron

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  • 4 weeks later...

This interesting dialogue was brought to my attention so I thought I might jump in and try to be helpful. I am the Writer/Director of the film (and author of new book) A Polite Bribe.

 

Let me start by establishing some facts

 

1. Yes, the collection (bribe) that the Apostle Paul agreed to deliver to Jesus' original disciples (James and Peter) as part of the agreement for Paul's allowed Gentile missionary work was a historic fact. It also opens a door to the human struggle inside early Christianity.

 

2. Jesus was a practicing Jew and by definition pro law and never varied from that position. He only pointed out the abuses of how hypocrite Holy men (ox out of ditch) would lose site of their fellow man (or animals) to maintain the mere technicality of the law. He also believed in salvation by the following of the law like any practicing Jew. There are in the gospels passages that also show how Jesus maintained the cultural distinction between Jew and Gentile and instructed others to do so also.

 

Then Jesus said to the woman, "I was sent only to help God's lost sheep--the people of Israel." Matthew 15:24

 

3. The rift between Paul and his Gentile Church and James and Peter and the Jewish Christian church was only temporarily resolved (in part)

by the collection (bribe) but eventually, as we know from Romans 15:31 and Acts 21, blew up on Paul and at last he was soundly rejected when he returned to Jerusalem!

 

4. Although, the facts behind this film can lead one to degrees of conviction, a consensus of diverse scholars from rlght to left embrace the facts as historical with the exception of fundamentalists. And yes, I agree that fundamentalism is locked in certain emotional states that critical reason cannot penetrate. I think it is more of a psychological phenomena than a religious one, for ALL religions.

 

5. We are in the process of choosing a theatrical distribution partner and hope to announce our release date soon, which will include international screenings along with domestic ones. Hang in there Missouri! And Australia! The release of the book will also be announced with the film.

 

Please contact me or my staff if you have any other questions regarding the film and book or sign up to follow the project at info@apolitebribe.com

 

Robert Orlando

Writer/Director

A Polite Bribe

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This interesting dialogue was brought to my attention so I thought I might jump in and try to be helpful. I am the Writer/Director of the film (and author of new book) A Polite Bribe.

 

5. We are in the process of choosing a theatrical distribution partner and hope to announce our release date soon, which will include international screenings along with domestic ones. Hang in there Missouri! And Australia! The release of the book will also be announced with the film.

 

Robert Orlando

Writer/Director

A Polite Bribe

 

Mr. Orlando,

 

Thank you so much for your post. And thank you so much for your promise to bring your film to Missouri. Within 150 miles, I promise to view it. There may be a supernatural watching over me after all.

 

Thank you also for your input clarifying your understanding of Paul's bribe.

 

Ron

Edited by Vridar
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