Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Bible and Billy Bob

Sometimes we have a hard time differentiating an actor from the role they play. Tonight's post is from April 18, 2012.
One of the best instructional tools I have found in the past few years is wingclips. A Christian-based website, wingclips provides short movie segments on any variety of topics that would come up in a Bible class or Sunday school/youth group setting. As we educate a generation that is overwhelmingly visual in learning style, the Internet and a projector can quickly and forcefully teach lessons in a colorful and interesting way. The clips, from one to three minutes in length, are easy to tie in to the subject matter of the day.... and they are free. On the average, I show a clip three days per week or so. Some of my students undoubtedly wish there were more. More clips = less notes. Seems right to me.

Today, I noticed a strange phenomenon or at least a mini-trend. Over the past several weeks, I've projected three scenes in my classes that had one thing in common: Billy Bob Thornton. In the three movies used- Friday Night Lights, A Simple Plan, The Apostle-, Thornton plays a prominent role as a football coach, a simple minded brother, and a reformed racist who wants to destroy a church building. My students were very much engaged as we looked at the topics, in order of clips, of prayer, wealth, and faith. A quick Google scan gave me a little background on the man's life. From Arkansas, Thornton was raised a Methodist, has been married five times, is an accomplished musician as well as actor, and was the son of a high school basketball coach who died when Billy Bob was eighteen. Most of my students were not aware that he was at one time married to Angelina Jolie which seems a strange pairing to them. It appears his ex is about to tie the knot with long time boyfriend Brad Pitt but Thornton say he has no plans to ever marry again. I do hope he makes more movies, especially of the variety which will show up on wingclips

Do you know what I think is interesting? Wikipedia gave no indication of any religion or belief system in Billy Bob Thornton's life at the present time. I read once that a splitting point between he and Angelina was her increasing involvement in charitable works in Africa, a passion which he apparently did not share. Still, we take most things we see/hear about celebrities with a grain of salt as we have become accustomed to sensational reporting to get noticed. I seriously doubt he made any of these films with an eye for teaching lessons to a bunch of kids in church or schools. Maybe he has never even heard of wingclips. And yet here he is, making a difference, at least with the one hundred ten kids who sit in my classroom five days a week. I don't think it's a stretch to say he is helping me supplement the telling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to young people from around the world. Sometimes we think the Lord cannot use us as we are too flawed to make an impact. It's not my place to pass judgement on this man I've never met but I can say this with certainty- his ability to act has touched a nerve with a bunch of teenagers he'll never meet. That's deserving of some kind of award, even though the carpet in my room is not red.

Here are the three clips of which I spoke; they are all short.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Movies these days have made killers into funny people. What's that all about? I've got kids and family and friends, and I don't like bad things. I don't think they're funny, and it's irresponsible to make movies that don't show you how that's not good."
Billy Bob Thornton 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at 


Cindy Ellison said...

It was so good to read you are using some "lessons" in your teaching from Billy Bob Thorton's movies. Billy Bob Thorton is one of my favorite actors, I have seen all of them. Slingblade is one of my all time favorite movies.

Keep up the good work.

Ciera said...

I doubt there will ever be a clip from "Faster" in which he plays a what turns out to be a bad cop, trying to cover up his past sins, but wanting to change his ways when it comes to his marriage...a case of repenting too late as he ends up dead. there is another portion of the film with two other actors that demonstrate true forgiveness. It's a very hard film though, because it's like those few moments were thrown in to soften the blow of the merciless revenge theme. :/