Posted by: Ken Brown | March 19, 2009

Nooma

Have you heard of the Nooma videos? They are a series of short films featuring Rob Bell, the postmodern-emergent pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan. They are essentially silent films overlaid with a story-filled monologue on some aspect of Christian life or thought. Here’s a clip from one of them:

I’ve only seen a few so far (Open, Shells, She, and Tomato), but all of them have been excellent. Bell is an outstanding speaker and storyteller whose perspective meshes very well with mine, and the silent films are very well produced, never cheesy or predictable, and consistently spark good conversation in our Sunday School.

Some have found them overly melodramatic (and inspired some hilarious spoofs), and they have been criticized (not without basis) for watering down the Gospel, but based on the few I’ve seen so far my only complaint is economic. Each video is only 10-15 minutes long, but the are printed on individual DVDs and sold for $10 a piece. They do include a handsome program book with the full transcript, but in this day and age, 10 bucks for a short film is beyond excessive.

Has anyone else seen these? Any thoughts?

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Responses

  1. I’ve only seen two (against my will and I didn’t pay for them) but I thought they were very cheesy.

    Yes, $10 for a 15 min DVD is a rip-off. Maybe they’ll make a collection DVD for a reasonable price.

    Besides that, our criticism lies in his misuse of Greek.

  2. Hmm, there wasn’t any Greek in the ones I’ve seen, but his point about רחם in the clip above doesn’t seem to be wrong–both “love/compassion” and “womb” are based on the same root, at least according to BDB (though Bell wisely doesn’t press this too far).

    Which ones did you watch (if you remember)?

  3. Ironically, the one we watched this morning (Luggage) was much worse than any of the others I’ve seen. Bell’s presentation was much less polished and he stumbled through it, several times repeating himself and punctuating almost every sentence with “it’s like” or “kinda.”

    And yet, I seem to be the only one who noticed (perhaps I was primed by that spoof), because the video still sparked some very good discussion from everyone else in the Sunday School. I kept my bemusement to myself.

  4. I’ve seen a few and I like them. Since I haven’t seen the whole series, I’m not in a position to say anything comprehensive about his theology, but what Bell is doing goes back to teaching via parables, and it’s remarkable that stories and images are still so captivating to modern audiences (even more so among post-moderns). They manage to convey truth in a very agreeable way. I think it’s a good project and an effective way of communicating the Gospel.

  5. I like the comparison to parables, Charlie, and I completely agree about the impact of story and imagery on we post-moderns, or at least its impact on me… 😉

  6. “short films featuring *Rob Bell, the postmodern-emergent pastor … they have been criticized (not without basis) for watering down the Gospel”
    *(Hmmm…BOB Bell was Bozo the clown)
    .
    “but all of them have been excellent. Bell is an outstanding speaker and storyteller whose perspective meshes very well with mine … but based on the few I’ve seen so far my only complaint is economic.”
    .
    WHAT!? And SO WHAT!? How does it mesh with GOD? How do YOU mesh with GOD?
    .
    You’re OKAY with the post-modern emergent delusion?
    .
    Do you even KNOW what that means?
    .
    The definition of post-modern is NOT believing in absolute truth … including GOD’s word.
    .
    “Fatih comes by hearing … the word of GOD” which is the foundation of Christianity. Without it, you got NO GOD.
    .
    Why not just read the Bible?


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