Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Film and Faith Course at Salt Lake Theological Seminary
On Thursday I begin co-teaching a course of film and faith on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Salt Lake Theological Seminary. The course description reads as follows:
Christians engage with films in various ways, from rejection, to critique, to embracing these expressions of popular culture. While designed primarily for entertainment, popular films also shed light on religious, spiritual, and ethical aspects of the cultures in which we live. In this course, we will watch and reflect on a variety of genres of film to develop skills in both cinematic interpretation and theological reflection. This will allow us more responsively to engage the spiritual climate of cultures reflected in films and more faithfully to bring the Gospel into conversation with these cultures. Come join us for an interactive exploration of films and faith!
For my part will lead the first discussion that lays the foundation for engagement with film. The course textbook is Robert K. Johnston, Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Baker Academic, 2000), and I will also be drawing upon Gordon Lynch, Understanding Theology and Popular Culture (Blackwell Publishing, 2005). As I discuss using the texts and practices of popular culture as material for theological reflection I will show clips from Minority Report (2002) (with the issues of divine foreknowledge and free will) and Devil's Advocate (1997) (with the issues of freedom and theodicy). Later on in the series I will lead a discussion on race and religion as we watch the original Planet of the Apes (1968) in its entirety, with the assistance of Eric Green, Planet of the Apes As American Myth: Race, Politics, and Popular Culture (Wesleyan University Press, 1996).