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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Nativity Story

My wife and I have just returned from the preview of The Nativity Story. It is a must see for everyone. Excellent in every way (for a Hollywood production)

I started off skeptical (I know, you can hardly believe that) I tried to be offended by the "great spirit" way in which the Holy Spirit was portrayed. And I wanted to be offended by what I, at first, saw as a "flirty" portrayal of Mary. But my wife turned to me and said that, "she was very young and she just wanted to go play with her friends."

Then I saw the mastery of the writers. They set up Mary to want to be normal, and then showed her to be a (reluctantly at first) submissive, modest, and humble woman. Submissive to the Holy Spirit and submissive to her parents. Nice !

This began to draw me in. The settings were superb. The costuming was excellent and even educational. Even the scenery was full of good detail. (Except they showed the temple in reverse a few times, but now I am picking nits. Few in the audience would know the difference and this way the ignorant would know it was the temple. ) I saw a machine that was used to move big blocks of stone (to build Herod's stuff) It was very believable. The houses, the scenes of families at night, sleeping all together in one room, the scenes of family meals, were all very accurate to the times. Even King Herod's family was shown to sit around a common meal and partake with their hands.

The detail was astounding. Even the preparing and marketing of goods was quite accurate to the times. The entire movie is full of little insights into the life and times of Mary and Joseph.
They are deeply troubled and saddened by the behavior of others towards them during their predicament. The time Mary spends with her Aunt Elizabeth (John the Baptists mother) is precious.

Another example of detail is the staging of people walking through the wilderness on narrow paths in ever increasing numbers as they traveled to Jerusalem for the feasts. (It would have been great if the director had included the group singing of a couple of the Psalms of Ascents )

The details you learn about the "Wise Men" more than make up for a few liberties. Few have heard the meaning of "Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh" but you will in the film. And who would have ever thought about the shepherds life as a solitary one, and thus, when they heard the glad tidings, they independently walked to the place of Jesus birth? I don't know about you, but I have always thought them to all be sitting around a fire or something and leaving in a group to visit Jesus. What a night that must have been ! With glory all around the silent dark countryside.

The movie comes out on Dec. 4th. Let others know. Take your parents and kids. My thoughts at the end of the movie were, " You did a great job. Now, when are you going to tell the rest of the story?" They definitely had the sensitivity and talent to tell the whole story of Jesus like nobody has before.



Blogger quistian said...

Yes, yes, yes.
I heard the co-creator of the film on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. Hugh asked him how he dealt with each of various difficult portrayals/representations and it was very cool. The other co-creator was a woman. They are "religious Christians", but the one thing that made me weary was they said they didn't want to preach in the film. But maybe they also said the material preaches enough for itself, sooooo, I thought it *could* be very cool. They're focus was to be authentic and tell the story and tell just the story. Fine by me. Because, like you said, he conveyed a lot of attention and care to detail and accuracy and authenticity. He thought angels have never been impressive in films (so this portrayal tried to be non-lamely angelic). They looked into the star and learned from a scientist(s) that every three thousand years, three or so things line up to make a spectacle in the sky like no other: Jupiter, and maybe Venus, and I can't remember exactly. The movie starts with Herod's slaughter of the infants, to kick-start the movie, especially for contemporary entertainment expectations, to capture attention.
So, Bruce, you "tried" to be offended by the "great spirit"ness... what's your follow-up to that? At second thought was it adequate? I can see their possibly being a Great-Spirit-ness, kind of like when the Father says loudly, audibly This is my beloved Son. (I'm just extending the conversation here. Don't mean to say you were confusing or cause trouble with great-spirit-ism... especially since I haven't seen it yet.)
This is going to be very good for the family, like "The Passion of the Christ". Sweet!

2:32 PM, November 17, 2006  
Blogger quistian said...

Have you seen "The Gospel of John"? What did you think? It's pretty real good. It's the best movie out there so far, of movies that cover most of the Gospel story. There's certainly more room to do even better, like you say, by these movie-makers. In "The Gospel of John" I really like the portrayal of Jesus, especially the way he says his sentences, with genuine interaction and context... very thoughtfully portrayed. Jesus is strong in the movie, not wimpy. Especially, it stands out when he rebukes the Pharisees. Jesus is always determined and purposeful, in the movie, as the Son of God. If he walks kind of cocky a couple times, that's his prerogative... he's Jesus. What do you think? Huh, hmm, huh?

10:58 PM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger quistian said...

Anyone, anyone?
(Not pushing, just checking.)

12:04 PM, November 20, 2006  
Anonymous Amber said...

Nope Quistian...haven't seen the Gospel of John yet. Looking forward to seeing the Nativity though. :) We will have to look into the Gospel of John....never really heard anything about it until you wrote. :)
Hope your well.

4:10 PM, November 20, 2006  
Blogger quistian said...

Well, then, I have to say that "The Gospel of John" is a "must see" if "The Nativity Story" is... definitely.

The movie is available at Blockbuster for rental and amazon for purchase. The film's website is this.
And my blog post on the movie is this.
It got drowned out by the swell of "The Passion of the Christ".

5:21 PM, November 21, 2006  

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