"Passionate." Until recently this word was reserved, for the most part, for steamy novels and seductive movies, but in the last few years it has been introduced into the Christian church to show strong feeling. I decided to do an online search for the definition of this word. The first "hit" was from the Bing dictionary and said, "showing sexual desire: expressing or showing strong sexual desire." The Merriam-Webster said "easily aroused to anger." Of course when you look further into both dictionaries, you see "showing intense emotion" or a similar phrase. Interesting.
"Intimate" is another such word. A search showed "close," "cozy," and "private and personal: so private and personal as to be kept secret or discussed only with a close friend or relative," and in another dictionary the same sort of sexual definition as with "passionate."
I'm not sure why the church has dropped the use of such words as "zealous" and "personal" in favor of the more sensual "passionate" and "intimate," but I have the feeling that it has to do with the fact that the church is becoming more like the world instead of encouraging the world to become more like the church. Or better yet, more like Jesus Christ. He said we're to be "in" the world but not "of " the world. You may not agree with me...and that's fine, and between you and God...but I see the line of separation there becoming less clear.
Being a person of strong conviction who stands staunchly by my beliefs (some call it stubborn) I'm not one to embrace the phrase, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," but in this case I'll make an exception. If "passionate" is what the church wants, "passionate" is what it'll get here. Just this once. (Until I find myself forced to use it again.) :)
In recent years, some strong Christian people decided to make some strong Christian movies. "Facing the Giants," "Fireproof!" "Courageous," and "God's Not Dead" come to mind. They are biblical and teach enormous life lessons using, of all things, The Holy Bible. I use the more formal name The Holy Bible because it is that...holy. It appears to me that the church is beginning to lose the grip it once held on that fact...that The Holy Bible was written by God, automatically making it holy and perfect. Translations or paraphrases have come onto the scene in the past decades that have lost that concept in big ways. That's all I'm going to say about that in this blog post, but stay tuned.
What this "passionate" post is about is the fact that Hollywood has seen us rushing en masse to the Christian movies (because we're hungry for something other than their usual worldly fare) and they started seeing dollar signs. The next thought seems to be, "If it's Bible movies they want, then Bible movies they'll get!" Enter "The Bible" miniseries and "Noah." This would have been HUGE for Christianity, for the kingdom of God...had they been biblical. (I'm not a Hollywood basher. I'm actually on the prayer team of Mastermedia International based in California.) Call me old fashioned, but I sorta think that if an attempt to produce a biblical movie is made, said movie should be, oh, I don't know...biblical.
My husband and I watched "The Bible" miniseries when it first aired on TV and hoped for the best, but we were sorely disappointed on many levels. Not the least was the fact that the producers, Mark Burnett* and Roma Downey, chose for the sake of art and time, as has been suggested, to combine biblical stories so that, even though they didn't occur simultaneously in the Bible, they were portrayed as if they did. Many people don't have a problem with this. I do, and here's why: As a young person, I watched "The Ten Commandments" several times and loved it. Not that I was a Christian at that time...I wasn't...but it was a Bible story and it made me closer to God to watch a Bible movie, right? (No. God doesn't want "favors." He wants our hearts.) Anyway, years later around the age of thirty when I actually did get saved and began reading the Bible, I read the story of Moses and was shocked. You mean it didn't happen the way Charlton Heston portrayed it? Hardly. Cecil B. Demille got not just a few things wrong in producing that one. For the sake of art and time, I guess. Here's another thing that God's not interested in: Whether or not our art and time are preserved instead of His Word. I think He likes that we want to attempt to reach "the lost" and encouage "the found" through our art, but I think He is enormously grieved that we care more for the art form than for what He would like to express through it. I think Mark and Roma would have done well to have told a few stories right rather than many stories wrong.
I have not seen "Noah" but I did see an interview with its director, an atheist who didn't want it to be biblical; and from the reviews that say it never mentions God, my guess is that it is terribly misleading to the viewer, to say the least. My guess would also be that God is greatly displeased.
What I am attempting to say is that I am "passionate" for the Bible. God wrote it. He wrote it for all time and for all people. We don't need to rewrite it. We do need to translate it into the languages of the world so that it can be read and understood, but rewriting it to suit our wishes and beliefs does not stand well with Him. Nor does watering it down and changing His original meaning. How do I know this? Because He says so in Deuteronomy and The Revelation. Whether we're translating it into paper form, cyber form, art form, or any other form, the Bible stands as our life manual from God. He doesn't need us to make it "hip" or "cool" or anything except what it is. I know there may be problems you have with what it says. I have to admit....I do. If I had been writing the Bible, I certainly would have left out a lot that God put in! Praise God that writing the Bible wasn't my calling! (Do you think for a minute I would have left in the part about gluttony being a sin?)
I'm okay with someone translating it so that it can be read and understood as long as the original meaning isn't lost. There are those who think it must be "cool" and "modernized" to the point that it is insulting, that there are people who are too dumb to understand what God said so they give it a little tweak, dumb it down, even water it down in places so as not to hurt people's feelings thereby altering the truth of the Bible. That was not what Jesus Christ was about when He walked this earth. He told the truth, whatever it was. He loved us enough to tell us God's truths.
Hubby says I go a little berserk when this topic arises in casual conversation. It's true. I'm "passionate." Others are "passionate" about other things. (Have you ever watched the Superbowl game with "passionate" sports fans? It's a thing of beauty, if you're "passionate" for sports.) Some things I let slide because they're not worth discussing. It's like raising children: Some battles aren't worth the fight. Choose them with discretion." For me, though, this isn't one of those topics, so if I offend you in my "passionate" discussion of such things, I ask your forgiveness and hope to receive it. However, this in no way changes my beliefs. :) I'm trying very hard (and failing often) to discuss and not preach.
You might think that I've been "passionate" in this post, yea even zealous, dogmatic, and stubborn, and I understand that we are all different, but to me disrepect for the Bible is disrespect for God.
So when a version of the Bible is released that says, "Yo, dog. When everything started, the Big Man made all this stuff outta nothing and throwed it out here and plopped us on this planet," stand back. You ain't seen nothin' yet.
*Mark Burnett, who professes to be a Christian, also produces the TV show "Survivor," a reality show in which the participants engage in such acts as walking the beaches nude or semi-nude, lying, cheating, stealing, and vying for idols, little carved figures or necklaces, all in the name of a chance to win a million dollars. Just sayin.'
I don't think professing Christians should produce such shows, nor do I think such hypocritical Christians as I should watch them. Just sayin.' I never claimed to be perfect. Just "passionate."
(If it wasn't a sin to envy, I would certainly envy those bloggers who get to blog about pretty things all the time. Sweet things. Nice things. Everybody loves them.)