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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Video Review: BASIC.Fear God by Francis Chan

As one of the primary people responsible for finding small group curriculum for my church, I have found that videos work particularly well in the summer when regular attendance and outside study both take a vacation. Last summer, for instance, we worked our way through some of the Nooma videos by Rob Bell. However, if I may be honest, I have found something I am even more excited about for this coming summer.

Francis Chan has begun a new video project called BASIC that lends itself perfectly to the small group (both teen and adult) and addresses the fundamental building blocks for the Christian life and the Church. These videos are visually exquisite, intellectually stimulating and theologically solid.

The BASIC videos are being created by a group called Flannel, the same organization that did the Nooma series. However, based on the videos I've seen so far, they have outdone themselves on this current project.

One of the elements that sets these short 15 minute videos apart is the secondary story that takes place as Chan presents his material. The picture cuts between Chan and other characters that give us a sort of visual "parable" of what Chan is describing (trust me, it's not as confusing or distracting as it sounds).

Fear God is the first video in the BASIC series and it lays the groundwork for the videos that follow. Chan addresses some misconceptions surrounding the idea of the fear of the Lord, but also affirms some of the more challenging aspects at the same time. In the end, however, this fear should drive us away from self-sufficiency and toward the only one who can save us, God.

This will be a stellar series and I look forward to the future releases and using these videos in my own ministry!

You can watch the trailer for BASIC.Fear God here.

3 comments:

Mark Becker said...

Morning!
Jared, could you help me out a bit here? My Small Group watched the "Fear God" video and although we understood the Francis Chan part - the video of the submerging girl left us - well - gasping. Kind of unclear.
We got the bit where you begin to fear God is when you get that you are drowning and you need air. So is the basic premise that you need to fear God as much as you fear dying/drowning? And unless you act on that fear - well then you are done (or dead in the water?)
Thanks,
Mark J Becker (Regina, Sask)

Mark Becker said...

Morning!
Jared, could you help me out a bit here? My Small Group watched the "Fear God" video and although we understood the Francis Chan part - the video of the submerging girl left us - well - gasping. Kind of unclear.
We got the bit where you begin to fear God is when you get that you are drowning and you need air. So is the basic premise that you need to fear God as much as you fear dying/drowning? And unless you act on that fear - well then you are done (or dead in the water?)
Thanks,
Mark J Becker (Regina, Sask)

Jared Totten said...

Mark,

Here's from one of the creators: "The visuals in “Fear God” are spectacular. There’s this girl – the allegory in the film – who’s in this white room. She’s going through her own fear experience. What happens is the room begins filling with water. And it appears she’s drowning. We’re really trying to hammer home the message we’re actually talking about fear here."

I think the rising water was a metaphor for the holiness of God and the girl dressed in black represents our rebellious and sinful selves. And while we all think of the holiness of God as a great thing, it can be a truly fearful and threatening thing to a person in willful rebellion.

So the same thing we fear is the same thing we can rest in if we repent and trust in Christ. So in the film the girl in black is fighting the water, resisting the water, fearing the water, until at one point, she gives in, gives up control (pictured by the bubbles leaving her mouth in a dramatic exhale). And she finds that rather than killing her and drowning her, that she can breathe underwater (since it's a dream anyway, but I think the point has already been made).

Personally, it was a little distracting, kinda like the film makers were trying too hard. And the direct connection between what Chan was saying and the video were more often confusing than helpful. And as a public speaker, I would say if an illustration or visual aid is both a little confusing and a little helpful, get rid of it and find something else.