You are “Chosen”

22 10 2020

 

Approximately one year ago, I visited the Jerusalem and the holy land for the first time. One of the feelings one experiences during visits to the Holy Land is the desire to see Jesus, to get a behind the scenes, to turn back the hands of the clock and be there. There comes a time when the rocks aren’t enough, you wish to be transported back in time, to smell Mary’s cooking and watch Jesus  and laugh and play, and sorrowful, you wish to help him with the cross on Calvary. Sadly is only the imagination left to fill in the gaps of centuries, and recreate the scenes and atmosphere and only very few and very gifted people are able to use their imagination so prodigiously, as for the rest of us, any means, or anyone who can assistance us see what happened there many centuries ago is more than welcome. It is craved. Thus you can imagine my joy when I came across the film, Chosen, directed by a young man named Dallas Jenkins recreating the life of Jesus so that the less imaginatively endowed can get close up view of the greatest story ever told.

Chosen

Jenkins must have inherited his father’s knack for telling stories, and I must add, for using stories to try to spread the word of God. Jenkins’ father was a Christian novelist whose bestselling novel, Left behind, sold over 60 million copies and has been adapted to serial television programs. Both father and son, teamed up to start a movie company and intent on producing family friendly Christian movies, they launched several attempt that has been successful such as “What if” a 2010 international bestseller staring Kristy Swanson, a film about a business man whose guardian Angel appeared to him to show him what he would have become if he followed the will of God for his life, a story that is so relevant to all.

Nevertheless, Chosen would appear to be the most successful of Jenkins endeavors and the one that will endear him to the hearts of millions of Christians he would have helped to get to know God and Jesus Christ even if it is only one inch better. The project started as a short film clip called The Sheppard which Jenkins made to help his church members visualize the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the Sheppard. He shot the entire movie clip at a friend’s farm, but the clip was so go that it caught the attention of VidAngel, an online streaming service looking for original content, who encouraged Jenkins to post it up on Facebook to see if people would be interested. The clip received 15million views around the world and gave birth to a multi season series  about the life of Jesus called Chosen, and it is said to be the to be the highest  crowd funded movie of all time.

“I’m trying to justify the faith of those who invested in this project and I’m also trying to, of course, please my Savior, and make sure that we’re doing this project for Him,” Jenkins said.

It’s sad that Christians has been edged out of the competition in the movies to the disastrous consequences and missed opportunities of bringing life savings and healing doctrines too the lost and often deceived people whose only means of knowing the most important truth of gospel comes from what they glean from poor scripts and bad acting in most Christian movie, or from the ideologically manipulated and religiously hostile Hollywood blockbusters. Jenkins has shown a good example of how to use motion pictures to bring the gospel to the hearts and minds of many.

It is the same zeal that burned in the heart of Monsignor Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, when he wrote in 1959, “I found my love for God enkindled by considering Jesus’ zeal to set the world ablaze with his fire. I couldn’t contain the irrepressible ardour that welled up within me, making me cry out with the very words of the Master: I’ve come to set fire to the earth and what will I but that it be enkindled?… Here I am, for you have called me! He encouraged good people, Christians to get involved in the movie industries.  Recalling the first time Escriva saw a color television in 1972, those who were with him wrote this account:

“At Civenna, just over four kilometers from the Swiss border, and less as the crow flies, they could get Swiss television channels. Their house had a color television set, and the first time they turned it on Monsignor Escrivá was as surprised as everyone else. “Isn’t it good?” he exclaimed. “I had no idea the image would be so clear and the color so natural. The color’s so attractive that you’re captivated no matter what program is on.”

After the television set had been turned off, he reflected aloud, “All this progress, great and small, has to bring us to give great glory to God. All noble human work, done well and used properly, is a fabulous instrument for serving society and sanctifying ourselves. I suppose the same thing happened to you as to me a moment ago when we were watching television: it was easy to raise one’s heart to God, thanking him for the technical perfection of the image and the color. And then there’s an idea which is always going around my head. I thought of the good and the evil which can be done with television and with all the media. Good? Yes, because it’s a wonderful vehicle for reaching out to so many people, capturing their attention in such an attractive way. Bad? It’s that too, because images and words can be used to spread bad doctrine and false morals. And people swallow these errors and falsehoods without realizing it, they welcome it like pure gold. That’s why I insist so much that the apostolate through the media will always be very important. And Catholics who have a professional vocation to the media, journalists, people working in the press, radio, and television, have to be present and active: to be absent would be a shameful act of desertion.”

Thus, any Christian who is not eager to share Christ with others, to make his humanity known and loved, using whatever talents, few or many, is not doing well, in fact he is lukewarm. Jenkins striving to use his talents as a movie maker to make Jesus better known is commendable. Jenkins urged on by the burning desire to tell Jesus story the way it should be told, with the pump, brilliance and genius of great masters of the big studios has come up with the brilliant master piece Chosen and on behalf of many millions of Christians the world over, I would like to say a very big thanks to Jenkins for making this effort, for not giving up and for helping us see even if minutely a little more background story of Jesus life. His adaptation are brilliant, his ability to help us visualize the real environment most of us are only able to conjure and some with great difficulty is inestimable.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Dallas Jenkins

by Chinwuba Iyizoba







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