Miss Bob was the children’s chaplain for our church’s “Mothers’ Day Out” program when we lived in Baton Rouge. She would get ideas from internet sites for stories that she would later embellish and use for the children’s sermons. Then one day, she busted the minister! Our minister had obviously used the same site as a source, but instead of using it for inspiration, the minister downloaded and read the sermon in its entirety.
Genesis — A Living Conversation is a great resource for inspiration for sermons and also for conversation starters. Bill Moyers, in a series done for PBS, has put himself in the position of moderator for several group discussions and challenged his skills at managing group dynamics.
Each of the 10 episodes begins with a “Storyteller” giving a dramatic reading of the subject stories for that session. Readers are actors Mandy Patinkin and Alfre Woodard who are on camera in front of the library/sitting room set with empty chairs for a backdrop. Moyers hosts seven guests in each session and after a brief introductory comment, one of the participants opens the discussion.
Participants include theologians, biochemists, psychotherapists, writers, scholars, law professors, community activists, playwrights, composers, and novelists. With one exception, each episode’s guests are representatives of a variety of those professions. In Episode Three, “The First Murder” all seven guests are novelists. To no surprise, this session seems to be the one with which Moyers’ skills at managing a group are most severely tested. He does well.
The topics begin with “In God’s Image”, “Temptation”, and “The First Murder” on disc one and continue through “Apocalypse”, “Call and Promise”, “Family Affair” and “The Test” (sacrifice a son?) and “Blessed Deception”. Disc four closes with “God Wrestling” (with Jacob) and Joseph’s survival of “Exile”. A bonus feature is included in the final disc, Bill Moyers’ biography.
A 12 page viewer’s guide written by host Bill Moyers comes with the four DVD set, and after an introduction, provides readers with the host’s thoughts on the structure and themes of Genesis, a look at who wrote Genesis, and comments on the four biblical translations used in the series.
Previously seen on PBS, Genesis — A Living Conversation will be available on DVD November 9, 2010. Would I buy it? Yes, to stimulate discussions in Sunday school class or as a gift for a preacher who wants another resource for sermon topics.