The Bible – Episode One

I watched the first episode of the four week miniseries “The Bible” last night.
I was a bit nervous about it, since the History Channel always seems to throw in a host of unrelated mystical topics when discussing the Bible… if we’re talking about the historically documented reign of King David, there’s suddenly an expert on extraterrestrials who believes that David was influenced by an alien overlord.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good alien overlord as much as the next gal (probably more than the next gal, if I’m honest), but… no.
Considering that I will debate an issue (and my fellow debater) into the ground (if backed into that corner… I don’t go there by choice), arguing with a person who can’t see or hear me is particularly painful… like having rusty nails driven deep into my orbital sockets.
So, it took me a few days to decide to watch, and as I sat there with a ginormous mug of cocoas, I thought, “I really hope this is good. I hope this is amazing, because these Biblical epics are always so inaccurate.”
Yes, I’m quite pompous in the privacy of my own thoughts. You should hear me when I speak aloud.
I scrolled through my Twitter feed while watching, and instantly felt convicted.

What struck me last night was not the miniseries itself… it was the acidic comments made by Christians watching it.
“There are too many white people!”
*insert record scratch here* Um…really? How many are allowed?
“Angels aren’t black or Asian!”
Is that a fact? How do we know?
“Angels don’t kill people with swords!”
Seriously, I really, REALLY hope they do… that whole sequence deserved its own parade.
“The burning bush didn’t look like that!”
Right… I keep forgetting that Moses snapped a Polaroid. We all know that it was a tiny, flaming bonsai.
“That wasn’t in the Bible!”

“That wasn’t what he said!”
“Why are they speaking English? Why was Noah Scottish?!”

“Oh, sure, women are bad… that’s what they’re saying… same old, same old!”
“This is ridiculous!”
“The special effects are bad!”
“Moses is ugly!”

“The children in my Sunday School class could have done better!”
“They’ve butchered it again! Morons!”

I wasn’t surprised to read comments like the ones above, which is terribly sad, when you think about it. Having been a Christian for most of my life, the one thing that I know about Christians is that we’re mean.
We are… mean.
Sure, there are perfectly delightful people who, in my opinion, exemplify the example of Christ, but as a whole… as a body… Christians are a vitriolic bunch, and it’s sad. Who can you depend on to say something hateful about Christians and their efforts to create something that hopefully will draw people to Christ?
Other Christians.

There were a number of awkward comments made by people who weren’t Christians (I’m not making assumptions, they clearly stated that they were not Christians), but I wasn’t offended by those comments. After all, if someone doesn’t know or doesn’t believe, how could you blame them for being snarky about it (particularly since we’re not without snarkiness)?
Christianity doesn’t, on the face of it, make perfectly logical sense. The entire Bible is crammed with story after story of supernatural acts and interventions, and it’s easy to understand why such things would be hard to believe, so there’s no point in getting huffy because someone doesn’t believe in it yet.
Do you know what’s harder to buy, though? Let’s say that you could accept all the miracles, and all the sticky bits, and all the resurrections… do you know what really trips people up?
Seeing Christians rip each other apart over something that we should all be able to set aside our Junior Bible Quiz trophies for and support.
Fine, Abraham and Sarah looked quite young when, Biblically speaking, they were in their eighties and nineties… but since the point of the story wasn’t, “Look how fit and active these elderly these people are” but “Trust in God” (which Abraham delivered as a Braveheart volume battle cry when rescuing Lot), I don’t think it really mattered to the narrative.

So Abraham wasn’t quoting directly from Genesis.
Did this actually kill the message?
So we didn’t see Jacob and Joseph.
Boo hoo. We’ve got 10 hours to distill the essence of a book that has fascinated and confused generations upon generations. Every story can’t be told in 10 hours. Stop crying.
So Moses went through Swashbuckle 101 while living as an Egyptian prince.
How, precisely, do we know that this didn’t happen? More importantly, did it detract from the point of the story? Did it hurt anything, or was it more interesting and fun to watch than laying out pictures on a flannel board (no offense to flannel boards, but I would have given up my Goldfish crackers to see a few more sword fights)?

I’m probably going to watch episode 2… and I’m probably going to have to switch off that side of my brain that cries, “Well, actually, so-and-so said this instead of this, and the Ark of the Covenant was made of acacia wood at that point, not gold…”
Basically, I’m going to have to get over myself.
This miniseries isn’t for me, it wasn’t made for me. I already know the stories, and I already know God.
This show is for people who don’t know.
Let’s not let our incessant bickering cloud the point.
If you can’t watch it, don’t… but don’t trash it, either.
Pray that someone will be touched by it, and go watch something else.

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