Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Big Kahuna And Evangelism

First things first---we started our Wed. nights back up 2 weeks ago and Vick is doing the Faith And Films study again after our church-wide Winter hiatus from Wed. nights. We are doing new movies this time and started with the film, The Big Kahuna. Last night we discussed the film---anyways, here is a basic description of the film:
The Big Kahuna is a 2000 movie adapted from a play entitled Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck, the director, makes few attempts to lessen this film's resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the movie takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.

Kevin Spacey plays Larry Mann, a relentlessly foul-mouthed cynic; Danny DeVito plays Phil Cooper, a world-weary average Joe; and Peter Facinelli is Bob Walker, a devout and earnest young Baptist. The three are in the industrial lubricant industry; Larry and Phil are marketing representatives and Bob is part of research and development. The three are attending a trade show where they expect to land a very important account, a rich businessman Larry refers to as The Big Kahuna. As the night progresses, Larry unleashes a torrent of scathingly funny witticisms, most directed at Bob, but finds himself relying on the newest member of the trio when their quarry invites Bob (and only Bob) to an exclusive party.

While Phil and Larry wait for Bob to bring them the news that could end their careers, they muse over the meaning of life. Bob finally returns and offers a bombshell: rather than try to sell their product, he has instead chosen to talk to the man with deep pockets about … religion. In the face of Larry's towering outrage, Bob stands fast for all that is pure and true. But Bob is unable to muster any reply at all when Phil quietly explains how he sees no difference at all between Bob's preaching and Larry's fast-talking.

Secondly, regardless of the language, which all language is socially constructed anyway---the film offers an interesting look at the question of evangelism in postmodernity. The word Evangelism comes from the Greek word "εὐαγγέλιον (transliterated as "euangelion/evangelion") via Latin "Evangelium", as used in the canonical titles of the four Gospels, authored by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (also known as the Four Evangelists). The Greek word εὐαγγέλιον originally meant a reward for good news given to the messenger (εὔ = "good", ἀγγέλλω = "I bring a message"; the word angel is of the same root) and later "good news"." Here are Vick's discussion questions:

Going back to the question of evangelism, the question is framed as such: should evangelism be as: ---part 1

---part 2 as the fundamentalists/pharisees/traditionalists/so-called keepers of orthodoxy suggest or: as the emerging/emergent/moderate progressive/liberal Christians suggest.

This quote from the movie critiques the former view and accepts the later view of believers building relationships with non-believers as Jesus does in the Scriptures:
Phil Cooper: "It doesn't matter whether you're selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or 'How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down'. That doesn't make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are – just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it's not a conversation anymore; it's a pitch. And you're not a human being; you're a marketing rep."
For more ideas about the movie see: The Big Kahuna.

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