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The film Cotton Patch Gospel retells stories of Jesus and the letters of Paul and Peter into the dimension and modern culture in the mid-20th century. The film was phrased in the modern context and related to the civil rights struggle to translate events in the new testament hence bring the ideas closer to home for better understanding. The setting of the film was in Gainesville, Selma, Birmingham, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. according to a phrase by Jordan ” where there exists an excellent translation of the scripture into modern and contemporary English, the translators have still left out some believers long past. Due to this aspect, there is the need to develop the Bible in a modern context and in the sting of modern time. This is for the inclusion of believers as active participants into religion and not as mere spectators.” Hence, the film reacts to the stories of Jesus and apostolic letters to a language better understood by the modern day generation and setting. The film is not classified as a biblical translation but rather as a modern creative work. The curator, Dr Jordan wanted to create a modern film on the New Testament in the aspects of the modern day and conquer life challenges alongside humankind (Jordan, 2014).
To begin with, the film brings out the modern translation in a change of wording to fit into modern language and setting of modern society. The film tries to bring ancient history into modern settings. The unique aspect about the film is that it brings about the Christian and religious setting into a world with social problems and racial tensions that emerged during the ’50s. The film’s approach allows active participation of believers which Christians must have had (Jordan, 2014). Therefore, the roman letters to Paul become a letter written to Christians I Washington DC, Galatians comes to take the context of a letter wrote to the churches of Georgia, and finally, Philippians is transformed to take the position of the letter being read by the Alabaster Africans church to Alabama. In another aspect of modification, the curator uses aspects of modernity. Hence, Peter takes the name Johnson while John takes the name “Jack”.
The setting and plot of the film are thought to have made the word of God relevant. Hence, in this film, he helps in elaborating the teachings of Christ in a real-life setting. There have been major problems translating the word of God into modern English. The film brings the good news of the Bible to believers not only in their language but in line with current times. Hence encouraging inclusivity in religion. The idea of evangelism expressed in the film is that God is changing individuals as well as the world in modern-day. In the film, evangelism takes another meaning and perception. Through Dr Jordan’s imaginative aspects, humans are made to believe that God is among us and passes through the same social circumstances as ordinary human beings pass through. When relating to aspects of the New Testament, the message can be applied to our consumerist culture and how the members of the modern world can part of the movement initiated towards religion (Jordan, 2014). The film uses some texts from the New Testament to create meaning and mould the film into a Christian perspective. Finally, the film can be described as the first of its kind and plays a vital role in helping Christians understand the New Testament.
Jordan, C. (2014). Cotton Patch Gospel: The Complete Collection. Smyth & Helwys Publishing Incorporated.