A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode 7

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Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

That thought kept circling my mind throughout this episode, in which alliances quickly arose to defend Pilate’s management of Judea against the Roman governor, Tiberius. I liked that his stance was not, “You are too brutal,” but “you’re not doing enough to crush these people.” Ha, ha. And we thought the relief squad was coming. It’s an interesting direction to take, one entirely consistent with Roman rule (remember, thirty years in the future, Titus crushes Jerusalem for their continued resistances and nearly wipes out the Jewish nation). It almost makes us inclined to want Pilate in charge of Judea, despite his heinous crimes, because … it could be worse. Much, much worse. Just sit and imagine that for a moment. There are worse Romans than Pilate. (Namely, Caligula, but that can wait.) This was the reality Judeans dealt with every day.

I liked this episode because Claudia has been so sidelined until now, relegated to a voice of calm reason and often compassion, but quickly silenced by her husband’s numerous assertions that she not “interfere” in his business. Now, he needs her to, because Tiberius doesn’t like him … but he is not nearly as dismissive of Claudia, who is wielding diplomatic skills and cunning with true grace. While her husband is on the verge of panicking, she is quietly and confidently befriending Tiberius, easing his anxieties, and planting a suspicion in his mind that there is something unsettled about Judea that neither of them can explain. At last, we get to see her in her true role, where a governor’s wife would shine. Roman governors had great responsibilities, but so did their wives… to maintain alliances, to be gracious hostesses, and to work in their husband’s favor at all times. Claudia has that ability and it’s nice to see her using it. Continue reading

A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode 6

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That was an incredible hour of television.

I’ve been dithering over which episode of this show to use to get people interested and, it’ll be this one. The writers didn’t miss the opportunity to show a profound contrast between Peter and Paul, who is for the present, Saul. A man full of righteous indignation, of hatred, of unyielding devotion and worship of the Temple, who respects it and all who reside in it, and who has the gall to walk into an encampment of Messiah-followers and get into a heated public debate with Peter. Watching them go at it verbally is the equivalent of seeing two mythological titans locked in eternal warfare. It was intense. It took my breath away, both for what was said and because I know what is coming. I know that this powerful, angry man will be broken on the Road to Damascus, and that fire, passion, and devotion will turn toward the sharing of Christ’s word. There’s a reason God chose Paul, and it’s … THIS. Continue reading

A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode 5

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A couple of things really slapped me across the face this week. One was the scene with Peter and Caiaphas singing over Boaz’ body. For a moment, they were equals, of the same mind, a reminder of how alike in that sense they are – men living under tyrannical oppression in a brutal culture … and then the shift. Peter brings up Jesus, and Caiaphas is no longer temporarily sated. The bond implodes. In an instant, he returns to the High Priest, to the need for power and control. “Arrest him.”

This episode was all about power, and its insidiousness. We saw Peter coming to terms with leadership and actively not really wanting it, but taking it on as a greater moral responsibility while the other characters clung to power and do everything they can to maintain control over others. Pilate has wielded it from the start as a weapon and continues to act progressively crueler (as a side note, to my knowledge, women were never crucified, and I don’t think the real Pilate would ever suggest that… so far he seems to be a stereotypical mustache-twirling villain without any redeeming points, which is unfortunate).

Caiaphas on occasion shows a more human side, only to turn around and reveal his own enjoyment of power, when pronouncing a sentence of death upon all the captured disciples. “How few words can be used to end a life,” the President of the Sanhedrin chastises him. But still, power. It’s what he’s held onto from the start, and it’s why he has such a struggle with Pilate. Both of them want to be in control. Boaz even wants to be in control… of his own fate and on a larger scale, to not be under the authority of another. Continue reading

A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode Four

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I think Pilate has lost his mind. But more on that later.

Episode four of “A.D.” deals with Peter and John’s trial before Caiaphas, the death of Ananias and Sapphira, meeting Barnabas, and the ongoing angst surrounding the assassination attempt against Pilate.

First things first. This Peter is awesome. He’s been awesome from the start, but I love seeing him come into his own as a leader, listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I enjoyed that they let the sin of “lying to God” settle for awhile, and then Peter came into awareness and called them on it. That’s one of those controversial moments in scripture; that amid a great revival of communal spirit and forgiveness of sin, two early Christians withhold the entire truth from God and are struck dead, just as the man who reached out to touch the Arc of the Covenant was struck dead in the Old Testament. Continue reading

Lessons from An ISFJ Vampire

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Note: this references shortened terms for cognitive functions: Si (Introverted Sensing, a subjective mythology based on personal experience), Fe (Extroverted Feeling, or objective emotions centered around the welfare of others), Ti (Introverted Thinking, or subjective reasoning and the desire to understand the WHY), and Ne (Extroverted Intuition, or seeing the potential possibilities around an object or individual).

ISXJ vampires are quite popular in fiction, because they have that “old world” aura about them. Edward Cullen (ISTJ) was such an old-fashioned gentleman than he would rather have “courted” Bella than date her, and insisted upon marriage before intimacy, both out of fear of the future (inferior Ne) and general turn of the century politeness. Angel (ISFJ) spent decades (centuries?) reliving all his bad deeds, unable to progress past them and afraid to change or show any compassion until Buffy came along and shook up his world. Stefan Salvatore (ISFJ) also has an ancient sense about him, and spends much of his time atoning for the past while protecting his future. Continue reading

A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode Three

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I’m a little confused with a couple narrative choices in this episode, but let’s explore it anyway.

This week, King Herod came to Jerusalem and tried to lecture Pilate on respecting the feast of Pentecost by insisting he remove his soldiers from the temple. Pilate refused and instead insisted upon attending the festival and entering the Court of the Gentiles. Big no-no. The zealot Boaz tried to assassinate Pilate, which led to Pilate ordering executions on the temple steps. Meanwhile, Peter and the disciples prayed intensely and received the Holy Spirit… then wound up in jail for preaching about Jesus outside the temple.

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A.D. The Bible Continues, Episode 2

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I continue to be impressed with this show’s accuracy, in terms of painting an (almost) realistic portrait of what life was like in Judea around the time of Christ’s death. And I like what they are doing with Pilate, in the sense that he is becoming the personification of Rome itself within the Judean government. He is the villain of the story, a domineering force literally threatening to crush the life from Caiaphas, who lives in a subdued constant state of fear as to what Rome might do. I love what they are doing with Caiaphas… he is sympathetic, despite being the man who schemed to bring about “The Nazarine’s” death. To make me like, care about, and fear for the man who bayed for Jesus’ blood is a testament both to good writing and good acting.

This episode pulled no punches in the violence department and in doing so revealed a lot about Roman rule for those ignorant of how the process worked. After all, if you cannot silence a story, as Pilate says, “you kill it.” And he chose to terminate the Roman soldiers who witnessed the happenings at the tomb in front of the shocked, horrified, and terrified Caiaphas… whose mind no doubt flitted back to Joseph of Arimathea’s earlier warnings that he would “come to regret” an alliance with Rome. The writing is on the wall, so to speak. I have actually seen some viewers stunned at Pilate and his behavior, though it is wholly in keeping with his historical character and the methods of Rome. (Please read the history of the period, not just your Bible.) Continue reading