It’s been said by 17 billion people on every social networking platform in the universe that most/many Christian videos are cheesy. Whoa, that’s strong. What the heck does cheesy even mean?
I asked a smart, well educated international type (who is an American Christian and gets the arts) what ‘cheesy’ means. He said “the quality is below what we would expect from the professional world” or even, that which is “exaggerated”. Okay, I get that. So, a few weeks ago, when I was asked to watch and review part of a British (Christian) video series, I was concerned. The subject is Jesus. Is this series “cheesy”? THAT is an important question.
The download (of disc 1) I watched was “Encountering The Authentic Jesus” which has three episodes:
Jesus. the Hero (14:30 min. + credits)
Jesus. the Revolutionary (<11 min. + credits)
Jesus. the Underdog ( <14 min. + credits) 26.34 40.22
Prior to viewing, I read what J.R. Briggs, whose opinion I often value, said about this series: “…the Jesus Revealed videos are legit and are something I’m excited about,…” READ J.R.’s thoughtful and thorough review HERE… Indeed, if you don’t follow his blog, you should.
Back to the cheesy question, IF I understand “cheesy”, this series, in my opinion, is not.
J.R. mentioned Rob Bell’s “Nooma” series which I have used widely and I don’t think they are considered “cheesy”. So, if Nooma is a standard for professionalism (non-cheesy?), this series gets really close. I found the scenery and acting to be compelling. I think I like Bell’s series best when he has the scenes acted out and he is the voice over. “Jesus Revealed” is put together and taught by Andy Frost, and, in my opinion, Frost is on camera a bit too much. Especially when they had such authentic (as far as I can tell) sets and actors to work with. This is a good teaching series and I get the need to be clear about the teaching, but I’d rather not seen Frost quite so much.
A further concern I have is accent. I think I can usually understand an English accent most of the time. However, Frost is not the clearest speaker I’ve heard. I’m really sorry if this comes off as judgmental (after all I’m a guy with a southern drawl so I understand what it means to not always be understood, but I’ve asked to write a review) but I see Frost’s accent as a small drawback. Why does this matter? Well, for adults, I think they would get used to his speech pattern quickly and it would not be a problem at all. But for the less mature (teens and some collegians)? Well, let’s put it this way, after 16 years working with both groups I KNOW how hyper-critical younger folks can be. Sadly, they sometimes turn off the message because of surface stuff. So be warned, this could be one of those times. I really hope I’m wrong.
I biggest reason I hope I’m wrong about kids turning this off is because the content is excellent. The presentation is thoughtful, passionate and (to use a terribly overused word…) authentic. I found the acting and the sets to be really helpful, and for me, visuals are important. I really liked these three episodes and I intend to use them. There are several main positives that I see:
1. The presentation of the story of Jesus is accurate.
2. From a practical perspective, the ability to download is better for overseas use which I really care about) and allows one to view on a tablet for small group use as well as other computer based uses which is superior to being tied to a DVD.
3. The episodes are easily split into short segments that can stand alone! Thus a single segment can be used as a really good visual illustration of a lesson for someone to ask the group important questions. Indeed, Frost’s teaching includes questions that he poses with passion.
4. Frost’s presentation is passionate without getting to the point of being ‘preachy.’
So, I hope you will check it out. Here’s the website where you can see the trailer CLICK HERE to see for yourself. If you would like to see more extensive previews look HERE.
BOTTOM LINE: I do endorse this material (though remember, I’ve only seen disc 1) and I plan to use and suggest its use to people I work with. For me, its a resource that I will make good use of. I think that this material and thoughtful questions may be used by God to open the curtains and reveal Jesus to some people.
Here are additional resources for you to consider:
Check out this new song that uses film from the series.
“Empty” Jesus Revealed Music Video by Dan Haseltine and Matt Hammitt from Vision Video on Vimeo.
DISC 2 -> CLICK HERE
2 responses to “opening the curtains on Jesus”
So, I got disc 2 in the mail in DVD and watched it and am blown away by the episodes!!! I love the way Frost is asking tough questions! I have added the disc two link to the bottom of the post!
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