It’s been a couple weeks since the premiere of the BIBLE on the History channel. I’ve heard a range of opinions, some hating it, some loving it. Last night I caught a rerun of some of the first and second episodes. I have to say that it was better than I expected, and it made me wonder what other Sunday school teachers are thinking. I’ve been teaching first grade lately, but haven’t been in the classroom since it’s aired, so I haven’t heard the buzz from kids who are watching. Is it sparking any interesting questions? Any meaningful family discussions?
Two things struck me as I watched it. First, it can be tricky to remember exactly what is in the text and what comes from the imagination of the writers and directors. Sampson’s mother, for example, plays an interesting role onscreen. I don’t remember her in the story… It’s hard to watch without thinking, "wait, is that how it happened?" or "nope, they missed it there" or "I bet that was what he was thinking!" So it sends me back to the text to explore and remember these great stories.
Second, the real human emotions come through in vivid ways on screen. I was struck by the sadness of the plagues that finally killed the Pharaoh’s son and all the other firstborn boys in Egypt. I was sitting on my couch with the baby monitor next to me and I could see my baby girl sleeping in her bed as the smoke surrounded Pharaoh’s son. It made me think about how the sin of a parent affects a child too, and the pride of a leader affects the whole community. Wasn’t it strange to see the children cheer when the soldiers drowned? It’s hard to imagine that children were there too, running from the soldiers and celebrating the death of their enemies.
I found it fascinating to watch these stories from Scripture unfold and to wonder about the choices that were made—things added or left out (like the whole passover meal) in order to tell the story in this medium. What are your thoughts about this new mini series? How do you see it sparking conversations at church and at home? How might it shape kid's perception of the Bible or of God, for better or for worse?