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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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Moses through the Eyes of Hollywood

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Many of us as children remember hearing the story of Moses in the bulrushes, Moses confronting Pharaoh, Moses crossing the Red Sea, and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.  The Moses story is so naturally dramatic that in many ways it was made for Hollywood.  I love it when a story is not only a great story but also a true story.

Hollywood has told the Moses story several times, including through Cecil B Demille’s The Ten Commandments in 1956, Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt in 1998, Roma Downey’s The Bible Miniseries in 2013, and Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings in 2014.  Bruce Feiler comments that Moses is the quintessential prophet in North America, quoted extensively by people from all across the cultural and political spectrum.  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and President John Adams all wanted Moses on the USA seal.  Martin Luther King Jr. continually quoted Moses in his leadership of the civil rights movement.  Many people identify with Moses as the classic underdog standing up for what is right against impossible odds.

My wife and I recently went to see the 140-million dollar movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.  The CGI was very impressive, particularly the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. Christian Bale, best known for his portrayal of Batman in the Dark Knight, played a very interesting and strong Moses.  Someone described Christian Bale as God’s General.  Unique to the movie was an interesting portrayal of Moses as a guerrilla fighter, blowing up so buildings in Egypt that Pharaoh wanted to get rid of him.

The burning bush account left me ambivalent.  In Scott’s story, Moses was buried in a muddy rock slide just before he saw the burning bush.  An implicit message could be that Moses, rather than meeting God, was suffering from brain damage.  The stunted god who turns up at the burning bush is an eleven-year bad-tempered boy.   Rather than being child-like, this deity comes across in petulant childishness.  AW Tozer said that how we envision God reveals a lot about us, and even shapes how we treat people.  If God is stunted and bad-tempered rather than mature and loving, then it does not bode well for us.  It is probably not a coincidence that there was no worship of this deity in the movie.  Who would want to worship such an unpleasant being?

The one redeeming relationship was the tender connection between Moses and his wife Zipporah.  If more had been done with that relationship, it might have saved the movie.  I wish that I could have given the movie five stars and commended it to all my friends.  Instead I was left saddened that a potentially great movie missed the mark.

There are over eighty references in the New Testament to Moses, more than any other Old Testament figure.  Jesus was even described as a prophet like Moses, spending time visiting with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.  The most positive thing about viewing Scott’s Exodus is that it motivated me to reread once again the book of Exodus.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we might take the time to reread or read for the first time the amazing story of Moses the Prince of Egypt.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the January 2015 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide