Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vlog #1: Will Smith and Christian Community

So I was sitting around last night trying to make an introductory video for my blog and thought to myself: "This is fun; I should do some video blogs every once in a while." So here is the first one:

Apparently Will Smith has helped setup a private school in Calabasas, CA that is based on the tenets of Scientology. However, he claims that he's a Christian and not a Scientologist. While describing his beliefs about religion he spells out what could be called "Lone Ranger" Christianity -- being a rugged individual -- or "Burger King" Christianity -- "Have it your way." Needless to say, this is not the picture that the NT paints; we are called into community with one another and for one another. We can't and shouldn't try to live our lives or our faith alone; we need each other!

In the video I mention Barnabas File, a website where Ircel Harrison, a progressive Baptist minister, has a blog entitled "None of Us Is As Smart As All of Us" in which he makes a strong case for our need to collaborate on things together as Christians. Also, you may want to read the Will Smith stories for yourself; here are two links: ONE and TWO.

Hope you enjoy!

Check out my other vlogs too!


Pat McCullough said...

Good stuff, Matt. Nice job on your first vlog. You have me thinking about trying it myself.

On content, I totally agree that claims of "Christian" outside the bounds of a committed community of disciples are suspect. On the other hand, I think I would nuance your statements about the NT. I'm not sure we are necessarily called to emulate the structures found in, say, the Pastoral Epistles. I think I would relegate much of the specifics about structure and organization to first century cultural location. But I would apply thoughts about the body of Christ (though a feminist might take issue with the Adam's Apple ;) ), unity, and community to today.

Have you ever heard Will Smith's "Ms. Holy Roller"? It's related to the discussion: http://youtube.com/watch?v=UeafDdlvlLo. I really like most of it, but notice things like "my version of God."

If you're interested, I also have a few unsolicited thoughts about style in the vlog--since you have me wondering how I would do it myself. It was a bit on the long side. My gut feeling is that a vlog shouldn't go far past just a couple minutes (three? four?). Also, I enjoyed the music in your introduction video. Music might be nice on all of them, but not the same music. Of course, then there are copyright issues (it sounded like this was your own guitar playing, so no lawsuits). I don't know what kind of video editor you have, but some relevant images flashing on the screen during the video might be interesting, maybe even a printscreen shot of the article you're reading from.

Also, since I know you, I know you are a really nice guy, and that came out more towards the end, but this video showed some frustration (maybe someone who doesn't know you might think it's judgmental? I don't know). I don't think showing frustration is a bad thing, but I doubt that's the dominant image you want people having of you. So, maybe your future ones can show your softer side, more reflective than frustrated for balance :) Just a thought.

[It's also probably worth thinking that some future potential employer might find these... that's what has me worried about trying it myself!]

J. Matthew Barnes said...

Thanks Pat! The video was a bit long, which is more an indication that I wasn't quite prepared enough for it. Thanks for the other comments as well, I will definitely take them into consideration!

About the "organized religion" part of the vlog, I guess my point is that from very early on (and the Pastoral are early [in the wider scope of things] by all accounts) there was organization in the Church. I wasn't trying to argue that we should emulate it exactly (which is what I was trying to get at with by saying that the NT has set a trajectory for us) but simply that organization was part of the Church from the beginning. It almost seems illogical to try to be the body of Christ with no organization...actually, even the image of the body is an image which can easily be seen as an organized image.

Also, thanks for pointing me to that song of Will's. No one is divorced from his or her context are they?