On Teaching “Jesus in Fiction and Film”

  • Author(s): Darren J. N. Middleton
  • When: 2015-04
  • Where: Intégrité: A Faith and Learning Journal
  • Since I teach in Texas, where the Cowboy Church represents one of the state’s fastest growing forms of Protestantism, songs such as Thomas Rhett’s “Beer with Jesus” are educational, because they suggest Jesus is “down-to-earth,” as one student put it, “the kind of ‘regular guy’ who talks everyday theology after ordering up a couple tall ones.” 4 Other students note that Rhett’s narrator struggles to live his faith, faced as he is with many questions, and some in the class struggle with him, eventually forging their own link to this modern story of Jesus drinking with sinners (Lk 7:34). Now, some critics might see this approach as trendy or irrelevant. But Nacogdoches relates to Nicea. Like the local ways of thinking about Jesus that reverberate throughout today’s country music, the ancient creeds resound with their own contextual christologies, crafted from thencurrent images, symbols, and ideas, as their creators sought to communicate traditional teachings in a fresh form that would appeal to their contemporaries.

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