It is such a natural form of revision to be watching TV or film and suddenly spotting something you’ve learnt in class. It is so exciting to be able to explain something, understand it better, simply because you were in that classroom, listening and concentrating on that particular day.
Some students have had the challenge of comparing TV and film which show liturgical and non-liturgical worship. Well done to my Year 10 Tuesday afternoon class who did so well on this homework.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral would be a good film to watch for its many scenes inside a church. For Roman Catholics and some Anglicans you’ll also get to see some sacraments.
- The BBC’s recent drama called Broken which I’ve previously referred to on the Blog is fantastic not only for showing liturgical worship (the eucharist is given in every episode) but also its depiction of a local church community with food banks and diversity.
- Songs of Praise is on television every Sunday afternoon, or you can catch a number of previous episodes on YouTube.
- Coronation Street has a brilliant 2 minute scene showing parts of an infant baptism from a few years ago.
- There is a really peculiar scene from the Kingsman: The Secret Service film, which shows a church massacre (15 rating). Watching simply that scene makes no sense unless you know more about the film. The actor Colin Firth play a suave secret agent, Harry Hart, who recruits a kid from the streets named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to be part of the Kingsman. But Eggsy is quickly thrown into the fire when evil tech-whiz Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) creates a technology that can cause mass terror across the globe, and only the Kingsman can stop him. On the hunt for Valentine, Hart ends up at a hate church group in Kentucky. While Hart is in the church, Valentine tests his technology, which causes the SIM cards in everyone’s phones in the church to make them become homicidal maniacs. There is then this three-and-a-half minute sequence in which we watch Hart shoot, stab, slam, and break everyone in his path as the guitar solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” plays in the background. It’s peculiar and unsettling.
- The Simpsons has a plethora of church scenes, including this one when Homer refuses to go to Church. Listen out for Lisa saying a snippet of the Lord’s Prayer. Another short clip is from when the Simpsons go to an evangelical church. Not to do with worship but really clever is the Protestant Heaven Vs Catholic Heaven with all its national stereotypes.
- Family Guy has numerous satirical moments where you can learn about Christianity. Students often forget that singing is a form of worship, New Yorker’s in Church has an opening prayer, and the Mr Booze clip shows an drinking den turn into a fake alcoholics anonymous based on a church with pews and singing.
We realised that a lot of our choices were comedies and openly mocked Christianity for laughter. It is interesting how far comedy is deemed acceptable going about some faiths but less so others. An article in the BBC Religion and Ethics page debates how far comedy should go, and the BBC also reports on whether Islam has a sense of humour (of course it does!). Finally there New Humanist website decides that no idea should be able to escape satire and comedy.