Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This semester's book are ordered! Woohoolelujah!

For History of Christianity 2: Reformation to the Present:

"The Story of Christianity: Volume Two - The Reformation to the Present Day,"
Justo L. Gonzalez.

"Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture," by Jaroslav Pelikan.

"Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition (2nd Edition)," by Barbara J. MacHaffie.

"A History of Christian Missions," by Stephen Neill.

"The Missionary Movement in Christian History," by somebody.

For Native Americans and Christianity:

"Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide," by George Tinker.

"American Indians and Christian Missions: Studies in Cultural Conflict," Henry Warner Bowden.

"Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance," by Richard A. Grounds; Paperback.

"God is Red," by Vine Deloria.

For Theology in Film:

"Hollywood Dreams and Biblical Stories," by Bernard Scott.

Plus 30-something movies, and y'all can look 'em up if you want. :-)

Required Films:

About Schmidt 2002

Big Night 1996

Doubt 2008

Grand Torino 2008

Groundhog Day 1993

Jesus of Montreal 1989

Juno 2007

Lars and the Real Girl 2007

Last Orders 2002

Pieces of April 2003

Prairie Home Companion 2006

Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002

Smoke Signals 1998

Straight Story 1999

Stranger than Fiction 2006

Sudden Impact 1983

Ten Canoes 2006

The Last Temptation of Christ 1988

The Lives of Others 2007

The Passion of the Christ 2004

The Soloist 2008

The Truman Show 1999

Unforgiven 1992

Unstrung Heroes 1995

Water 2005

Whale Rider 2003


As Good as it Gets 1997

Babettes’s Feast 1987

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman 1994

Frozen River 2008

Letters from Imo Jima 2007

Million Dollar Baby 2004

Mystic River 2003

Nobody's Fool 1994

Station Agent 2003

Super Size Me 2004

The Story of the Weeping Camel 2003

The Visitor 2007

Transamerica 2005


It's been nearly two decades since I read God is Red, and it's nice it's still in print. I have another work of Deloria's, And Custer Died For Your Sins, and reread it every once in a while.

Sounds like an interesting, exciting semester ahead of you. Look forward to your reflections on your progress.
Big Night is on the movie list? How does that have anything to do with theology? it is a great movie about food though.

Groundhog Day?? Supersize Me??

This is a very odd list, but fun.
Like Alan, I was trying to make sense out of the whys of some of those movies. Love that Trans America, Smoke Signals, and Whale Rider are on it, though. (I own the latter, if you have a hard time tracking it down.) You'll have to keep us informed on that class!

Also, surprised that The Mission wasn't on the list. Too obvious, maybe?

(Hee! My word verification: redcryin)
Some of the movies are a heavier lift than you might think on first glance.

For example if you are going to watch "Water" you should see the first two of the movies "Fire" and "Earth".

Have fun.
Big Night puzzles me. The prof could be using the term "theology" loosely; there are plenty of biblical parallels of such relationships between first-born sons (Primo) and second-born sons (Segundo[sp?]), the brothers in the flick.

But, the first parallel I thought of was this: They put everything they had into the one big party on the promise, false as it turned out, of a feast with a special guest who never came. And that is THE story of the first generation of Christians. Yet, a fine time was had by all. And the next morning, and in the next generation, life went on.
Groundhog Day is about time, being inside it and outside of it at the ... same ... time. Maybe a reincarnation angle. Definitely a story of a soul's journey, or just a person's, to enlightenment and improvement.
Big NIght: Their restaurant is called Paradise, meant to be vastly better than the rival's Pascal which has mediocre "Americanized" Italian food. Paradise is going to be authentic, perfectionist.

They are preparing for the Big Night waiting for their version of Godot to come and bestow victorious blessings on their Paradise.

The centerpiece is a very difficult creation, of which I cannot remember the name, but it has everything under the sun including hard boiled eggs, eggs being a symbol of new life. This creation serves as a kind of eucharistic focus.

In the end, the big, famous guest does not appear, but the night takes its meaning from the corporate body of friends eating a supper, for free - the last one for Paradise.

Deep into the night all hell breaks lose and arguments are had.

In the dawn of the next morning, Secundo makes an omelette and splits it between himself (Secundo), and someone whose name is alliterative with Christ. Primo then comes in and Secundo serves him, too.

Paradise did not succeed as they had hoped. What does one do now?
The centerpiece: something like Timpani, as in drum.

At any rate, the eucharistic symbolism is shot thru, combined with the existential experience of the eucharistic community.

Babbete's Feast has many parallels but centers on Nordic protestant stringency being punctured by gathering around a sensual meal cooked by a refugee from French wars.

But don't let us get started on that.
Dude. Wow.

BTW, very busy this week, and still, and behind on a thread here and there.
Best moment in Big Night is when one of their customers breaks down crying saying, "My mother was such a terrible cook!"

Like a horoscope, movies like that can have whatever meaning one wants to read into them, I guess.
I've always thought of Groundhog Day, as a God for a Day over and over and over
Well, there *was* this exchange:

Phil: I'm a god.

Rita: You're God?

Phil: I'm a god. I'm not *the* God ... I don't think.
And there's this:

Phil: Well maybe the *real* God uses tricks, you know? Maybe he's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long he knows everything.

And I really like that last line: He's just been around so long he knows everything.
Re: For Native Americans and Christianity

Looking at the books, I just wonder how much "Indian" religious understanding you'll get in order to enable you to adequately understand what the coming of Christianity ment? I mean it ment a whole bunch of a different thing to the Ojibway than it did to the Sioux.

I'll offer up just two examples of the complexity of the subject. Sweet Medicine's two volumes by Powell only speak to the Cheyenne belief system. I've listened to Father Powell talk for hours on the subject and never get past the "medicine bow" meaning and uses. Then there is Wovoka's prophacy dance, The Ghost Dance, and the work by James Mooney that shows a trans-tribal relgious view and messianic movement at the end of the era of "free roaming"tribes.

Those two alone would take a semester each to understand even on a simple plane.

Not to mention the serious differences between the Christian/Native Relion interaction would have be significantly different in the early 17th century conpared to the late 19th century.

Keep us up to date on this course as you go. I bet it will be interesting.
I am preparing for pure hostility, judging from the texts, and it wouldn't be unwarranted -- unless ir ignores the agency, limited though it might have been, some native people exercised in becoming Christianized.

Richard Grounds, author of one of the texts, is the prof.
Oh, I also expect -- and hope -- it's like a grad seminar I had on "Revolutionary America." Snort. It was a good survey, but I got to drill deeply into a sliver of a topic in my paper. ... The only dang thing I wrote for my M.A. that has not seen the hint of being published, as a matter of fact. With a lot of work work, I could get it in the Chronicles maybe.
Maybe not so hostile:


Sounds like somebody I need to know, anyway, for my own history interests!
I probably should of thrown it the difference between the French methods and sucess of Chistianizing the Indian and the Anglo's version and failure.

Have fun.
love the book list, we read Gonzalez as well for church history... one of my fav classes since i've been here.


Babbete's Feast is used in like 3 classes here, ppl go nuts for it! prolly cause we're in an old german reformed area and we have stuffy people by the bushel here.

Stranger than Fiction is an AWESOME theological film. same with Gran Torino. Lives of Others is really good. Supersize Me is a great ethics film and I agree with another commenter that if you're watching "Water" ya gotta at least watch "Fire" at the very very least.

Wow, that film list is really quirky, even though I don't see how they relate to the course title. For what it's worth, I've seen about 98% of them. Though not directly related to the course on Native Americans and Christianity, I'd suggest reading "The Silence" by Shusaku Endo. Set in 16th century Japan it's a rare case where the "natives" succeed in fighting off the conquering Christian missionaries, most of whom meet a brutal death. Needless to say I'm on the side of the Japanese. It's an intriguing mirror to the experience of the indigenous populations in the Americas.
Hey, stranger.

Most of the ones I've seen so far seem to make sense for the class somehow by the end of the movie. But sometimes it's a stretch.

I've read a little Endo. There's one where the story eventually winds up in the present Southwest U.S. ... I'll check into that one.
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