Search

Priests studying Hollywood blockbusters

PUBLISHED: 05:37 19 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

PRIESTS are going back to the classroom to learn about Hollywood blockbusters which contain messages about good and evil which they can use to help them preach the Christian faith in rural Suffolk.

PRIESTS are going back to the classroom to learn about Hollywood blockbusters which contain messages about good and evil which they can use to help them preach the Christian faith in rural Suffolk.

The Rev Canon Andrew Todd, who is responsible for the professional development of the clergy in the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, will be asking “what do modern Hollywood movies teach us about the Bible” during a seminar in Bury St Edmunds next week.

The answer, according to The Rev Canon Todd, is quite a lot.

Using excerpts from four Hollywood hits The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring, Chocolat, Knight's Tale and The Mission he will argue that it is important for Suffolk's clergy to engage with popular culture in a theological way.

The Rev Canon Todd: “The clergy tend to keep popular culture and religion in separate compartments, this course is about breaking down those boundaries.

“Lord of the Rings is topical and offers a new way of looking at the Bible. The Mission is all about redemption, Knight's Tale has some interesting Christian images and Chocolat appears to be anti-Church and anti-Christian, but is it?”

The Rev Mary Elliott, a 64-year-old non-stipendiary priest working in nine villages north of Bury St Edmunds, is a keen movies fan and one of the clerics attending.

She regularly goes to the cinema in Bury St Edmunds, where she lives, and believes movies have important messages about the human condition and the Christian teachings.

The Rev Elliott, who worked for many years as a librarian before entering the ministry, said: “Some films are purely entertainment, enjoyment, escapism and there is nothing meaningful or profound.

“But some have illuminating messages. I am a great fan of The Lord of the Rings, which is all about the titanic struggle of good and evil, where evil appears to hold all the cards and power. The triumph of good rests in the hands of the very humble, the disregarded, the hobbits.

“It is not the men or the wizards who in the end destroy the ring. This poor chap who through sheer determination and a good heart and with faithful helpers saves Middle Earth.''

Nick Clarke, spokesman for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese which incorporates most of Suffolk, said: “This shows that the Church is not just living in real world, but takes notice of popular culture.

“This is a chance for us to learn about popular culture to further the message of the Church and God. The Church is not old and fuddy-duddy and this is far more than a jolly.

“This is about serious theological thinking. Films like Harry Potter have good versus evil and these analogies can be used by Suffolk clergy in their day to day ministry, and possibly in sermons.''

The one-day course is at the Lecture Room of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, and runs between 10.30am and 3.30pm.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times