Faithspotting “One Night In Miami”

Kenny and Mike discuss and spot faith elements in the film One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King. Written by Kemp Powers and based on his play, the film stars Eli Goree, Kinglsey Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr. who was nominated for an Academy Award for Supporting Actor.

Listen to Podcast episode ‎Faithspotting on Apple Podcasts

The film is an historical fiction narrative about 4 of the most famous black leaders of the time, Cassius Clay, soon to become Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke, gathering together on February 25th 1964. the night Clay became the World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion. Each of the four are on the precipice of changes in their lives that mirror the social, political, and economic changes that the United States will soon experience.

Leslie Odom Jr, Aldis Hodge, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree Amazon Studios

Faith Notes:

The faith to answer God’s call to change:

As with Abram (Genesis 12) and the first Disciples (The Gospels and Acts) who were called to leave their homes and families and other converts to the early Christian church, God calls followers to change and even defy family custom and tradition if necessary (Luke 14:25-26.) Whether the call is to personal changes in living one’s life according to the desire of God and way of the Kingdom of God,or drastic, public changes that significantly alters the arc of life, responding to God’s call requires faith.  Ultimately one must exercise faith to answer God’s call to live as Kingdom People rather than the known comfort of worldly ways of being and power. 

The Parable of the Talents and faith to employ skills given by God (Matthew 25:14-30): 

Does one use the talents God has given in Godly ways or does one bury them and pursue personal, sometimes more profitable and comfortable ways that lend to an easier life. The Recognition that God does not give talent to play it safe and remain in one’s comfort Zone requires faith.

The Importance and Place of Community:

Faith in God is intended to be experienced in the midst of community. While one’s faith and relationship with God is personal, it is also intened to be expereinced in communithy with other persons of faith. Faith is not to be private. Godly Community offers support, strength, as well as accountablitity. While the first two aspects of community are well known and accepted, the third is often overlooked and forgotten. (Matthew 18:16-17 and Paul’s Epistles) The tribes and Nation of Israel and the depiction of the Church as well as the Trinitarian God is communal.

The Place, Purpose and Power of story to lead to understanding and unity even in the midst of conflict. The people of God are a people of Story, God’s story of salvation.  

One Night in Miami recieved 3 Academy Award Nominations: Best Supporting Role (Leslie Odom Jr.), Best Adapted Screenplay (Kemp Powers), Best Original Song (Leslie Odom Jr. and Sam Ashworth) #academyawards

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Faithspotting “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Michael Hatch and Kenny discuss the film and spot the faith elements in Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Follow link to listen to the episode.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting-the-black-messiah/id1524339974?i=1000512632756

Lakeith Stanfield Warner Brothers

Faith Issues Spotted:

The Judas betrayal of Jesus Narrative- presented in each of the Gospels. Though William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) did not initiate the contact with the FBI, he agreed to inform and eventually betray Chairman Fred Hampton and requested and accepted payment. 

Through his powerful voice, teaching, and personality Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) becomes the leading populist voice and Messianic leader challenging the treatment of marginilized persons and brought together competing groups.

J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) serves as a Chief Priest Caiaphas petitioning that Hampton be killed even as he was heading back to prison to finish serving an earlier sentence. 

Jesus’s teaching on not returning violence for violence, but loving even enemies. (eye for an eye, offer one’s other cheek)  Matthew 5:38-48,  Love of enemies. Luke 6:27-36.  Paul’s teaching of marks of a true Christian, Romans 12:9-21.  Such and other teaching stops cycles of violence.

Those in authority (leaders and governments) have responsibility to serve as shepherds to citizens and look out for the well being. 2 Samuel 5:1-2 (David annointed King), 2 Samuel 7:4-7  (The Lord appoints Tribal leaders to shepherd the people)  Psalm 23 (God models shepherding role for leaders and those in authority) John 10 (Jesus models shepherd for leaders) The film depicts the accumulaiton of the failure of  governing and societal agencies to ensure fair access to economic, judicial and educational resources and opportunities to establish generaltional wealth and support. Such still continues. Refer back to Faithspotting review of The Bankers in season 1.

Daniel Kaluuya

Openness to examine oneself and one’s society as righteous or not is act of faith.  2 Corinthians 13:5-6

@revkennydickson @mikehatch

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Faithspotting “Promising Young Woman” and “Nomadland”

Mike and Kenny discuss the faith elements spotted in the films Promising Young Woman and Nomadland. Both films were nominated for Golden Globe awards with Nomadland winning Best Dramatic Picture and Chloe Zhao winningh the Best Director globe. Promising Young Woman is available on Amazon Prime and Yahoo Video on Demand, and Nomadland is available on Hulu.

Follow link to listen to podcast episode:

‎Faithspotting: Faithspotting “Promising Young Woman” and “Nomadland” on Apple Podcasts

Carey Mulligan Focus Features

 Faith Elements Spotted:

Processing Grief and Loss:

The two films demonstrate the consequences in trying to avoid or ignore dealing with and processing grief and loss vs working through loss, grief, and anger.

Cassie in Promising Young Woman responds to the attack and loss of her friend by withdrawing from others and holding on to much of her pain and anger. This results in her leading a life of self-imposed segregation built on and fueled by anger and resentment and seeking retribution and revenge rather than accountibility for those responsible. Rather than filling her voids of pain and loss with peace, seeking revenge only feeds her appetite for more vengence.

Frances McDormand Searchlight Pictures

Seeking and Living in and by the Peace of God offered in Christ. John 14 and Philippians 4. The place and work of community to be a source of exeriencing and accepting the Peace of God. 

Nomadland offers an example of living the peace that is of God and found through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Such peace is experienced through taking time and reflection as well as through the care and love within community. This peace of God is in contrast to the peace that the world offers that is in reality not peace. Revenge may seem to offer peace or closure, but such is not the peace of God, that Christ offers and is not truly peace.

The place and work of community as an agency of God’s peace: The journey motif as an avenue to God’s Peace:

The place and role of time within community in preparing for the new life of peace found in God. The Wilderness experience of the Isrealites: Numbers 14 to Joshua though not easy, allowed the Israelites time and opportunity to better understand themselves and their God.

In Christian worship, Passing the Peace prior to the sacrament of Communion as ways to prepare to receive the true peace of God and the new life such peace provides.

Lastly, one of the over-arching themes in Nomadland is not judging others for answering and following different callings in life. Those who believe they are called to live differently than others are not less than, just living a life that is not conventional, and visa versa. Also, there is the recognition that that callings and circumstances change in life, and persons should not be judged for turning into different roads in their life journeys.

Searchlight Pictures
Focus Features
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Faithspotting “The Trial of The Chicago 7” and “Mangrove”

Kenny and Mike discuss the films and faith issues spotted in two court dramas, The Trial of theChicago 7 set in 1969 Chicago and Mangrove set in early 1970’s London. Both films depict protest movements, violent response and trials where the justice is not blind and scales are not balanced.

Faith Elements Spotted:

Netflix

Chicago 7: Place of war within Christian teaching & tradition.     Is war compatible with Christian teaching, and if so in what circumstances, PacifismJust War (morally justified) Theory?  The 7 were on trial for leading a demonstration against the Democratic Convention for the party’s support of the Viet Nam War.  Interesting debate between Stanley Hauerwas and Nigel Biggar.  Matthew 5:38-48,  Luke 6: 27-36 Do not retaliate and love for enemies. Romans 12:9-21 Let Love Be Genuine

The responsibility of Governments, leaders, and officials to serve the people and use power appropriately and seek justice. Mark 10:41-45, Matthew 20:24-28 James and John’s request and servant nature of leadership.

Obligations to stand for righteousness and oppose pressure to act in ways one believes are unrighteous. The Daniel Narrative, Chapters 1-6 ,  Matthew 4:1-11 , Luke 4:1-12: Jesus tempted in wilderness.  Matthew  26:36-46 Jesus prays in Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 5:6,10 Blessing for those who thirst and are persecuted for righteousness. Romans 14:13-23  Resist temptation to be a stumbling block.

Mangrove:

BBC 1 and Amazon Prime Video

Responsibilies of Government and leaders to care for citizens. See above

Community: Place and Purpose – a place that provides support and nurture. In the context of faith it is where one expereinces the presence of God and others of faith unlike other times and places (churches, synagouges, mosques in diaspora.) Ezekeil 11:16-17  God is Sanctuary for Israel in exile. Paul and others preaching in synagogues during missions in Gentile areas. 

Body: the body is made up of many parts that have different jobs etc, yet all are necessary to support the health of the body. Applies to faith communities, cities, states and nations.  I Corinthians 12 Spiritual Gifts and Members of the Body.

The power of diversity and difference to enhance and enlarge experiences in life and faith. Diversity is seen in the Genesis 1 and 2 creation accounts depict the variety and diversity of creation and life.  In addition are the various expressions of the early Christian church: Jewish converts and Gentile converts in Acts and letters. Acts 18 Paul in Corinth, Ministry of Apollos, also I Corinthians 3.

Follow link below to listen to this episode. Rate, Review, and Subscribe by clicking “Listen On Apple Podcast link”

‎Faithspotting on Apple Podcasts

@theTrialoftheChicago7, @Mangrovefilm, #thetrialofthechicago7, #mangrovefilm @aaronsorkin, @steveMcQueen

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Faithspotting “The Black Church:This is Our Story, This is Our Song”

Kenny and Mike discuss the upcoming PBS Series, The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song with series director and producer Stacey Holman. The Black Church premieres February 16 and 17 at 9pm ET on PBS.

Follow link to listen to the episode

‎Faithspotting: Faithspotting “The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song on Apple Podcasts

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home church Waldon United Methodist in Piedmont, W.Va.
Courtesy PBS

Hosted and produced by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Black Church series examines the 400 year history of the Black Church and it’s place at the heart of black history and culture in America. Dr Gates travels throughout the country interviewing church leaders, theologians, historians, and celebrities who have been inspired and nurtured by the Black Church. Contributors include Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr. Rev William Barber, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Cornel West, Oprah Winfrey, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson, and John Legend.

Through 400 years of slavery, persecution, and prejudice the Church has served as the hub where African Americans could not only be reminded of their place as beloved children of God, but also experience the Kingdom of God through powerful preaching, singing, and community. Such experience of God and God’s Kingdom offered hope, promise, and assurance of rising beyond the struggles imparted by racism and hate.

The Black Church in America also served as the organizing force behind protests for civil rights, education programs, employment programs and other social initiatives. The Church also served as a place where some of the greatest singers and musicians were nurtured and developed their talents that would have a most profound impact on American culture.

Below are links for a Bible Study, Coloring Pages, and Recipies.

Bible Study

Coloring Pages

Dine and Dish 

#BlackChurchPBS

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Faithspotting “Soul”

Due to Covid protocols, Kenny joins Mike by phone for a virtual recording of Faithspotting as they share their thoughts about, and spot faith elements in the newest Pixar film Soul. We apologize for the less than optimum sound quality.

Listen to Soul episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting-soul-quarantine-edition/id1524339974?i=1000503502376

Disney Pixar Jamie Foxx

While Soul is perhaps the most impressive Pixar film visually, it is a complicated film that addresses age old questions, experiences, and wonder.

Soul is the most faith oriented film Pixar has yet to produce. By its name alone, it conveys a faith that life extends beyond the here and now limitations of finitude. In Soul there is the here and now, as well as the great before and the great beyond. 

Faith Elements Spotted:

The understanding of soul as wholeness, that which makes life complete, is of God and connects one to God. (Genesis 2)

The place of joy in life:  Joy is found in all most or all aspects of life, the big events and everyday moments.  Marriage, Meals, Harvest, Sexuality, the gift of the Messiah.  (Proverbs, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Genesis, Isaiah and other prophetic books.)

Similar is the Hebrew and Jewish understanding of Shalom which addresses peace, wholeness, integrity, and well being.

The New Testament echoes this call for joy and extends to heavenly as well as earthly joy. (Luke 1, 2 birth narrative, 15 Parables of lost and found,) The joy of advent and the Incarnation and  gift of Christ and the return of Christ and promise of the end of time /God’s Kingdom (eschatoloy.)

The Variety of Spiritual Gifts: Persons are given different gifts, passion/spark and purpose. Each of these have value and are rooted in God and help bind together and support others.       I Corinthians 12

Victor Frankl “Man’s Search For Meaning” the joy and strength purpose and meaning offer, even inthe most difficult of circumstances. For Christians hope and joy of the majesty and strength of God over those things that seem overpowering. Proverbs 19:21, 2 Samuel 23:1-4, Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:16-19, Romans 8:18-30, I Corinthians 3:7-9, James 5:10-11

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Faithspotting Favorite Christmas Movies

Listen to the Favorite Christmas Movies episode

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting-favorite-christmas-films/id1524339974?i=1000502738477

Mike and Kenny share and discuss their top 5 Christmas films. Faith is about story and in addition to specific faith elements spotted they share the stories behind these films that make them truly favorite Christmas films. 

Faith Elements Spotted: Themes With Accompanying Scripture and Hymns

The power of story to bring persons and groups together, establish commonality, Traditions, and memories which enhance and lead to greater meaning.

Anticipation for the Advent of Christ. The deep desire and anticipation for the greatest gift, the coming and gift of the Messiah, ( A Christmas Story) Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 1:25-56;

A Christmas Story

Hymns: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel vs. 1,5,7 and refrain; Lift Up Your Head, Ye Mighty Gates, vs. 1,3,4;

Incarnation (Joyeux Noel) John 1:14. Luke 2:8-14

Hymns: Hark The Herald Angels Sing vs. 2;  O Come All Ye Faithful vs. 2, 6; In the Bleak Midwinter vs. 2;  Once in Royal David’s City Vs. 2,3; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.

Joyeux Noel

**Following the recording of the podcast, I listened in on the weekly Facebook live event, “Coffee on the Porch” hosted by my friend and UMC Clergy collegue, Eric Folkerth, who made the point that because of the incarnation there is no place on earth beyond God’s presence.  The joining together of the enemies in the land between the trenches, aka No-Man’s Land, to sing and remember the birth of Christ shows No-Man’s Land does not mean No-God’s Land. While No-Man’s Land is by definition not the place for men, there isn’t a No-God’s land. Wherever the “No-Man’s land is in our life, it is perhaps the place we experience God most powerfully.**

Redemption and Transformation (Scrooge, Its a Wonderful Life) Luke 2:22-38, 3:1-18, Hymns: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus; Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming vs 3;  Silent Night vs 3

Scrooge

Reconiliation:  (Home Alone, Scrooge,) Isaiah 40:1-11, John 1:1,10-17,

Home Alone

Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing vs.1

Meaning and Purpose in Life, (A Charlie Brown Christmas, Its a Wonderful Life,) Luke 1:46-56, John 1:35-42;

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Hymns: In The Bleak Midwinter vs. 4; I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light vs.1,2,3, Go Tell it on the Mountain Refrain

Community and family (A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone) Luke 1:5-20

Its A Wonderful Life

Hymns: The Friendly Beasts;

Reflection / Call to the Kingdom of God (Joyeux Noel, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Scrooge) Luke 1:67-79. Romans 1:1-7

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Hymns: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed vs 1,2,4;

Note in the comments if you would be interested in a more detailed discussion guide, or email kenny@crossroadsfaithandfilm.com

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Faithspotting “The Crown” Part 2

Follow Link to listen to The Crown Part 2 episode. Please consider subscribing on Apple Podcast, Google, or Spotify.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting-the-crown-part-2/id1524339974?i=1000502016732

Faithspotting hosts Mike and Kenny continue looking at the faith elements in the NETFLIX series, The Crown. In this episode, Faithspotting examines the faith elements spotted in “Bubbikins,” the fourth episode of season three and “The Hereditary Principle” the seventh episode of season four.

Faith Elements:

Both episodes examine mental illness and how it is addressed by members of the Royal Family as presented in the series. The overarching faith issue is the power of shame and valuing others by their perceived utility. As God loves all people regardless of physical, emotional, or spiritual limitations, we are called to love others even if they are limited in their ability to return love or the worldly “value” they offer. Followers of Christ are called to love as Jesus loves, John 13:34-35.

NETFLIX The Crown Jane Lapotaire

Bubbikins: Romans 8:18-38, Job

The faith of Princess Alice, in the midst of the loss of her position and her family is an example of the place and power of faith in the midst of trying circumstances in life. The suffering of the current times cannot compare to the glory to come in God’s Kingdom.  Even in the midst of sickness, suffering, and loss, through Christ one is more than a conqueror.  Also, nothing can separate one from the love of Christ. 

Alice also presents a contrasting example to that of Job. One might say the reaction of Alice is what God hoped if not expected from Job.

“The Hereditary Principle”: Loyalty to God. 

Helena Bonham Carter

Jesus taught in Luke 14:26-28 that one’s first and primary loyalty is to God, even if it causes a break within or from one’s family. If forced to choose between God and family, or anything, the disciple is to choose God. 

Next Episode: Favorite Christmas Movies!

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Faithspotting “Hillbilly Elegy”

Link to Hillbilly Elegy Faithspotting episode

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting/id1524339974#episodeGuid=212d7fed-1fa4-4f21-9092-db389757e603

Kenny and Mike discuss the NETFLIX film Hillbilly Elegy and examine faith elements spotted in the latest film from Director Ron Howard. Set in Middletown Ohio in 2011, with flashbacks to 1997, Hillbilly Elegy is based on the bestselling memoir by J.D. Vance and depicts his struggle to overcome extreme family disfunction and systemic poverty community and family poverty.

Warning: Those who have experienced abuse or addiction in  relationships may experience triggers by some depictions in the film.

NETFLIX Haley Bennett, Glenn Close, Owen Asztalos

Faith Issues Spotted:

* Awareness and appreciation of life. Genesis 1

* Living as Easter People with hope in the midst of brokenness. Romans 8:18-39

* Filling voids and finding ultimate meaning and purpose in life serving God. Romans 12

* Living into God’s goodness, image and likeness in which all are created. Genesis 1:26-27

* Centrality and importance of community and repairing when community is broken.  Luke 10:26-27

* Loving and caring for oneself in Godly ways and loving God in caring for oneself. Deuteronomy 6:4-6,  Ephesians 3:18-20, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30,

NETFLIX Haley Bennett, Gabriel Basso, Amy Adams
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Faithspotting The Crown Part 1

Kenny and Mike discuss the faith elements spotted in 2 episodes from the NETFLIX series The Crown, “Vergangenheit” from season 2 and “Aberfan” from season 3.

Episode Link https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faithspotting-the-crown/id1524339974?i=1000500420872

NETFLIX The Crown Tobias Menzies, Victoria Hamilton, Claire Foy

Vergangenheit was the 6th episode in the show’s second season. The subjects depicted were a request by Queen Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) uncle and former King, the Duke of Windsor (Alex Jennings) to re-enter service to the Crown and country following his abdication in 1936. The episode is set during the first crusade of Billy Graham’s ministry in the United Kingdom. While most of the Royal Family and government leaders scoff at the ministry and positive reaction of the British public, the Queen is positive to Graham’s message and invites Rev. Graham (Paul Sparks) to preach at Windsor Chapel and meet with her. The Queen later consults with Graham when she struggles in forgiving her Uncle following revelations of his sympathy and support for Adolf Hitler prior and during the early years of WW2.

Faith Issues Spotted:

Forgiveness and surrender of oneself to God. 

Matthew 18:21-35, Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2

“Aberfan” was the third episode of the third season. Set in 1966 and depicts the tragic collapse of a coal tip in the hills above the Welsh mining town of Aberfan. A 30 foot high wall of coal waste and debris hit the town’s elementary school killing 116 children and 28 adults. Following visits from the Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) who attends the funeral and burial service for the town’s children, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) waits 8 days before visiting meeting and with survivors and families. 

NETFLIX The Crown Tobias Menzies

Faith Issues Spotted:

The Incarnation of God and the ministry of presence. The healing and wholeness experienced in communal worship.

John 1:14, 1 John Chapters 1,4

For a group study guide on this episode mention in comments below or email kenny@crossroadsfaithandfilm.com

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