Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Role That Slipped Through Denzel's Fingers

We're a month plus a couple of days into the school year  and we're off to a good start at WCS. I like my five academic classes- two 8th grade Bible sections in which we spend the whole year on the book of Luke and three high school Gospels classes. I've mentioned before that we use some sort of video clip everyday, including a number of movies on the life of Christ. It's fascinating- and I've mentioned this before as well- that Jesus in the films tends to be taller, better looking than the crowd with brighter clothes than the others who inhabit the landscape with Mary tending to be lovely as well. So, I told all my classes yesterday that it was time to let them know that Paramount Pictures was making a movie based on my life. You may think this is ludicrous especially when some of these kids have known me since they were babies but I can be pretty persuasive. I picked out one student in each of the sections and dropped this bombshell on them; cast in the lead role playing yours truly is Academy Award winning actor.........Denzel Washington!! There were some jaws dropping but I pursued it with the selected kids and asked what they thought of the casting decision. The answers tended to be as follows:
"Well, Coach......ummh, well, ummh......."
I countered with, "Isn't he a good actor?"
"Uh, that's not it really ..."
"Is he too short?"

Finally someone else would chime in that we are of different ethnic groups so the movie would lack a sense of realism. Few were willing to say he's 
black and you're white and I get that. I confessed that I had pulled the wool over their eyes but we continued. I asked if a movie should be made about pop singer Shakira, would it be mandatory that the actress be Colombian? Some thought yes but most believed she would have to be Latina. I discussed it with Natalia in the hall this afternoon, setting up the same scenario. Natalia, who is Colombian, in her final answer that at the very least, the actress must be pretty. We agreed on that point!

And as we discussed in my classes, I offered my opinion that Jesus in the movies was always American because these films are aimed at Americans and we want it easily understandable language-wise. In one class, I inquired as to how many have seen The Passion Of The Christ. Many had. I asked them who played Jesus in that film- no one knew so I told them it was Jim Caviezel who also plays the lead character on the CBS show, Person Of Interest. Caviezel, an American, is neither of Middle Eastern descent or Jewish, and at 6'2", probably much taller than the Savior. And yet to a student, they believed his portrayal to be accurate and realistic. But no Denzel for me!

You might wonder why I spent close to half a class period on what you might perceive to be a silly topic. I tell them how we shape our views on what we hear by what we see and that is not always accurate. (It's funny but I have yet to meet a youngster who can stomach the idea that Mary might have been unattractive to our standards. I challenge them and the response is always along the lines of, "Coach, she's the mother of the Lord!!!") We've talked about how the Gospels make no reference to what He looked like and I tell them my thesis; if they thought they could recognize Him, there would be many impostors....and there still were. I told them it was interesting how demons recognized Jesus but His closest followers did not. But according to Paul, we can resemble Jesus spiritually in a manner that can lead many to see the Lord in us! Second Corinthians 3:8 tells us that, 
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
I like that thought, even thought I am now resigned to never making it to the big screen! There is regret. I feel really bad for Denzel- I could have made him famous!

Applicable quote of the day:
"My faith helps me understand that circumstances don't dictate my happiness, my inner peace."

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybook.com

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