Video Clips

Blog Entries January 2009

With the feast of the Epiphany coming up tomorrow it's useful to turn our attention to the Three Wise Men. I get a few RE classes out of this topic every January when school restarts. What I like about the Three Wise Men topic is that it gives me a chance the deal with themes of journey, searching, finding, idealism, epiphany and gift. And there are so many useful resources out there. I use the relevant clip from BBC's Liverpool Nativity - when the Wise Men, in modern dress, visit the crib singing the Beatles' Lady Madonna! (see the clip here). With the latest version of Real Player or any YouTube downloader software this can be downloaded for use in class. There are more conventional portrayals in Jesus of Nazareth, The Nativity Story and other films on the life of Jesus.
The Nativity Story
is available on YouTube - the Wise Men figure intermittently - see clip over for their arrival. T.S. Eliot's
Journey of the Magi is the best-known poem about them, though Godfrey Rust (in his collection Breaking the Chains) cheekily continues this poem, imagining the Magi travelling through modern England where people are "slumped on sofas by four o' clock/rendered senseless by too much dead poultry"! The Roches have a rather quirky version of the song We Three Kings on their album of the same name, but if you'd prefer a traditional treatment try John Michael Talbot's haunting version on his Birth of Jesus album.
Jennifer Avalon has a modern reflective version with a variety of accompanying visuals - see over. The Magi have also appealed to artists down through the ages and an internet image search will throw up lots of examples - I've compiled some of these in a Powerpoint presentation which I can send on request (use contact details over).



Happy New Year to all and best wishes to religion teachers for the new school year!

I saw loads of interesting material on TV over Christmas, hard to keep up with it all. Watched a video of the absorbing film The Apostle, starring Robert Duvall in a tour de force portrayal of a fiery preacher in the Deep South of the USA. His character is intriguing if not entirely appealing. Old style preaching is his life, but he is also a womaniser and prone to violence, yet conscious at times of his sinfulness. After beating up his wife's new boyfriend he has to escape and sets up a church in a new location, making a new life for himself, but temporarily. As I watched I wondered if I could use any of this in religion class - there's a brief scene early on where he prays to God in his bedroom, which is restrained enough, and a sequence where he drives around in his bus gathering worshippers for a service. The many extended preaching sequences might be useful as a study in cultural context, though our students might just find it all very weird. I find they often lament the tameness in Irish liturgical events, compared to the American style black gospel approach, but I'd say this might cure them! Still, it's always good to see a meaty religious film that takes its subject seriously.