155: “Iron Man” Explores Resurrection … So, What Does Heaven Look Like to You?

    It’s rare for theology and popular culture to converge as
powerfully as they are this week. But, now, we’ve got two important new books about resurrection
in the same week that “Iron Man” kicks off the summer season of
blockbuster movies.
    The “Iron Man” movie explores the
transformation of human life on various levels — from the fictional
story of a deeply troubled scientist who keeps himself alive by developing Iron
Man’s futuristic armor — to the real-life story of actor Robert
Downey Jr., who stars in the movie’s title role. After a disastrous
series of real-life flirtations with self destruction, the movie’s
producers are widely promoting this new film as the resurrection of Downey’s
all-but-dead acting career, as well.
    That’s why we say: This is a spiritually preachable and teachable moment, if there ever was one!

    So, throughout this week — in various ways — we’re going to explore themes related to transformation.
    Our Conversation With N.T. Wright on Wednesday is a rare opportunity
to hear in depth from the best-selling author, who now is an Anglican
bishop and a member of parliament in the UK.
    This week, we’ll also hear from a top scholar of faith and film, the popular author Greg Garrett.
    And, yes, by popular demand, our Tuesday Quiz returns tomorrow!

    Today, we’re staring with a very basic question — a
spiritual question that billions of people love to dream about in the
midst of life’s chaos:
    What does heaven look like to you?

    Several years ago, ReadTheSpirit Publisher John Hile and I helped to organize a a team of high-school-age documentary filmmakers, called Divine Light. Based at Ann Arbor’s First United Methodist Church, the Divine Light crew crisscrossed southeast Michigan to interview teenagers and adults about their everyday assumptions concerning faith.
    Before they were finished, these young filmmakers interviewed scores of Christians, Muslims and Jews. Then, they produced a feature-length documentary, called, “Divine Light Pictures: What do you think God look like?”
    In addition to the question in the title, another question the filmmakers asked, everywhere they traveled was: “What do you think heaven looks like?”
    Almost without exception, people were pleased to answer this final question. The 72-minute film closes with an array of creative thoughts about heaven.
    The documentary won the Michigan Peace Prize from the World Sabbath for Religious Reconciliation, held annually at Christ Church Cranbrook, a landmark church in Michigan. The DVD has been shown by congregations, classes and other groups across the U.S. In my own international travels, I’ve shown the film in several countries overseas.
    (For nearly a year, the DVD has been out of print — but it is scheduled to be available again later this year, if you’re interested in a copy. Stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit to learn more.)

    Today, to kick off our week of reflections on transformation, resurrection and heaven — we invite you to think about what heaven looks like to you.
    Watch the following videos. You’ll be hearing Christian, Muslim and Jewish perspectives.
    Then, please, we’d love to hear what you think about heaven! Click on the “Comment” link at the end of the online version of our story. Or, you can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm directly.

    The FIRST clip was filmed at Second Baptist Church, Michigan’s oldest African American congregation in the heart of Detroit. Click on the video screen below to watch. Or, if there’s no video screen showing in your version of this story, Visit You Tube to watch the clip from Second Baptist.

    The SECOND clip was filmed as the Islamic Center of America, North America’s largest Muslim center in Dearborn, Michigan. Click on the video screen below to watch. Or, if there’s no video
screen showing in your version of this story, Visit You Tube to watch
the clip from the Islamic Center

    The THIRD clip was filmed at Temple Beth El, Michigan’s oldest Jewish congregation. This clip features Temple Beth El’s nationally known Rabbi Daniel Syme. Click on the video screen below to watch. Or, if there’s no video
screen showing in your version of this story, Visit You Tube to watch
the clip from Temple Beth El

    THANKS! Remember, tell us what you think!

    Come back tomorrow for the return of our Tuesday Quiz!

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