As a mom of four and a hybrid MDIV student, I don’t often find time to do things for myself. Many well-meaning friends, family members, doctors, and my therapist have talked to me a lot about self-care over the past year or so as more and more things seemed to pile up on my plate. And as we move forward into the upcoming Easter Weekend and the spring, which is just around the corner, it makes me reflect that there are probably many other people who don’t take time for themselves.
My children and I got COVID shortly after my mother passed away, which left us confined to our homes for two to three weeks. With schoolwork piling up, grieving, and being sick, I could feel a sense of depression setting in. As I was looking for a different way to connect with God than the usual worship songs, prayer, Bible reading, or watching a preacher on YouTube, I came across an advertisement for the program The Chosen.
I adore this show, and the Easter before I started Calvin, I led a virtual small group for our church about the first season of the show. It’s a fantastic show, and I’ll probably review it as well, but I’m sure anyone reading this has heard of it or watched an episode or all of them. I’m still at the start of season two, so please don’t spoil it for me if you leave a comment. I also won’t reveal all the plot points of the wonderful film Jesus Revolution, in which Jonathan Roumie, the main actor who portrays Jesus in The Chosen, stars.
I am aware that, as reformers and, more generally, as Christians, we are not supposed to view Jesus as an idol or create objects that represent our ideas of what God might look like. However, for many people, including myself, having a visual representation of my relationship with Jesus is extremely helpful. I sometimes wonder if my perception of the Holy Spirit is so different from others because I can’t picture “him.” There are so many different ways that people can learn, and we sometimes need to associate a face or a name with a person or a group. You might think that this film turns the actor who plays Jesus into an “Idol” of Jesus, and you’d be right. That is my only criticism of the film. However, the film Just A Man also features the character Lonnie Frisbee, who may resemble Jesus and act similarly to Jesus by preaching, assisting, and healing others.
With a respectable cast, the film features Kelsey Grammer as Chuck Smith, the film’s main minister, as one of its leading actors. The Jesus Revolution movie and movement were primarily based in California, but they quickly spread throughout the US and the rest of the world. The plot of the film is based on an actual historical event that occurred in the 1960s or 1970s. After the war and social changes, there was a need for kindhearted individuals seeking the answers to life’s big questions. This film demonstrates how, despite appearing to be out of place, drug users, hippies, and young people were yearning to be reconciled with God.
From a time when things were more regimented and Sundays were reserved for church and rest, they are now just another day of work. There was a need for the sabbath, a need for scripture, and ultimately, Jesus did not abandon his disciples; he found people who could draw others into God’s Word by doing what Jesus did best. Being loving and accepting of all people, rather than just one group or category. Just on this topic, I believe there is a valuable lesson in this film about how far we have pushed ourselves to work nonstop 24/7 and the consequences for our relationships with God, our spouses, children, extended families, our church, volunteering, and simply relaxing. The term self-care wasn’t even a thing in the ’60-’70s because everyone rested on Sundays. Church, a scrumptious meal, family time, or outdoor time with friends. God knew that this was sacred and holy for both him and us, but we have lost sight of it.
The film depicts various stages of the main characters’ lives, including the relationship between the youth of that era and their parents, societal changes, the relationship between father and daughter and parents, the relationship between God and people, sin in the world, and how Jesus is still able to walk through it and take us out by his other hand. This film interweaves the relationships of many wonderful characters while also highlighting their flaws. The cracks that we all try to hide, the cracks behind the walls of the church, and how some churches aren’t really open to all people but only to those who they “think” are proper Christians. Personally, I think the church still has a lot of trouble with this. Even though the church is supposed to be a temple open to both Jews and Gentiles, it frequently only allows some of God’s children access.
There is a subtext about drugs in this film; some scenes glorify the feelings that people frequently have when trying drugs for the first time, how simple it was to obtain drugs in the 1960s and 1970s, the differences between those drugs then and now, the purposes for which they were used, and frequently what occurs to people when using drugs for what one believes to be the right reasons go naturally wrong and the heartache that causes. But this film also shows how Jesus still redeems us from our sins and how we can rise above those experiences, repent, and move toward God rather than away from Him. This film is incredibly well-written and takes into account the theological aspects of history and the time period in which they occurred. It also contains a multitude of wonderful lessons and side stories. In addition to the need for a Jesus revolution in both the past and present.
I gave myself a night out by treating myself to a solo trip to the movies after a particularly difficult week. I unintentionally stumbled upon this movie while browsing The Chosen. The fact that it was released and shown at a theatre in my city that evening made it seem as though Jesus himself was sending me a message to hang out with him. And I did; I ate nachos, drank coffee, ate some candy, laughed, cried, prayed, and had profound thoughts during and after the film. It was exactly what I needed, and it might be for you as well. Perhaps you need a night out or even a night in with your favourite snacks or people, comfy clothes, and just a really good movie without all the Hollywood hype. A soulful film with a great message, a great cast, and a great vibe. I can say that after watching this movie, I felt a sense of relief and connection with God, as well as with society again. And the conviction that we need more hope of Jesus’ second coming than ever before, and that we need another Jesus Revolution in our society because we have forgotten him for far too long.
By. Amanda Mason