Film Friday: Early Man

When a bunch of cavemen meet the forward-thinking chaps from the bronze age there’s a whole lot of shaking going on. It begins one strange day, when something unexpected comes trundling through caveman valley…

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In the end the cavemen challenge the bronzy bunch to a game of football, what could possibly go wrong? Much chaos, kicking and conniving take place. Along with the jokes and the laughter, as one age jostles to displace another.

Years ago I heard this saying – the one constant in life is change. Certainly these days change is a rapid moving vehicle, and whether you think we are on the freeway to a brighter future, or the highway to hell will depend on your outlook.

If there is one thing the church has not been particularly tip-top at it’s coping with change. I understand that for some folks it’s the one stationary point of calm in a world of confusion and restlessness. I get that, I really do, and I appreciate the chance to step out of the traffic and walk into a cool, calm, quiet church building and rest, from time to time. But I don’t think God is worried about progress and change in the ways that we are. People are people. In my work I try and use contemporary language, media, stories and ideas. I’m inspired by Jesus and the prophets who used the language of their day. They wanted to connect with the regular folks. When old parchments of the gospels were unearthed, folks thought that they were written in a special kind of holy Greek, reserved for spiritual texts. Then they began finding shopping lists and to-do lists written in the same form of Greek. Turns out the gospels were written in the street language of the day.

Making the message sound old may make it sound Holy to some ears, inside and outside the church, but God is always interested in the now. His name after all, is I Am. And Jesus did not speak in King James English. He spoke in Aramaic. He would have shocked his hearers when he taught them to pray the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic rather than Hebrew. Talk to God in the way that is most relevant and real and honest for you, he seemed to be saying. Use words that you understand and can mean. Don’t try and sound like someone else. Nowadays I make no apology for challenging the idea that ancient is more Holy. God is Holy, and God is very much now, in the present day, in the 21st century, communicating through the internet, Facebook, Twitter, movies, phones and TV. The good news is that the truths of Genesis 1 and Joshua 1 v 9, John 3 v 16 and Revelation 3 v 20, are all very much alive and well, vibrant and relevant, but how we share and describe, illustrate and live them is always dependant on time, place and culture. God is with us, God can help us and God understands. Here. Now. Today.

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