So after subjecting myself (and my poor girlfriend) to watching all 5 episodes of the History Channel’s Bible and livetweeting it, I took a few days away from thinking about it. And now that I’ve had time to reflect on it, what stands out is not the bad acting, poor sets, or even randomness of the…
Honestly I’d love to see a Bible series that stressed context, theology, and apologetics. That’s the kind of stuff that I *don’t* think everybody hears, unless they frequently attend a church with a great, scholarly pastor. Heck the feedback alone would be useful for Christians just in finally confirming or killing the idea that most people think Christianity has a works-based doctrine.
It would be kinda awesome to go through the Bible and when you get to Jacob mention that God went and chose an asshole pretty much just for one of his sons. Cover some cultural things too: ebeneezers, the holy of holies, enough of the old law and covenant so people know what’s up with kosher. Talk about Israel, Judah, how you got a split kingdom and the various invasions, conquests, resettlements, and cultural dilutions. When you get to the Gospels, make use of the detail of Luke to work out the dates and locations and talk about what else was going on in the world at the time. Spend a bunch of time in Acts covering the history of the early church, cover Caligula and maybe Nero while you’re at it. If you’ve got time cover the early theological divisions in the church and the letters from people like Paul cautioning against them.
The thing is, the story parts of the Bible are the stuff everyone has heard a million times. It’s been forcibly beaten into the head of all of western culture during childhood, and the associations aren’t exactly positive as a result. It’s the context, critical for actually deriving any meaning from the stories, that’s almost never given outside of a Bible study. That’s the dramatic stuff.