Why offer a class on Bible & Cinema?

By Don Warwick

The Journey from Courtroom to Seminary – and back!

I am an attorney, representing major hospital systems and physicians. I’ve spent my professional life, arguing in courtrooms. But if I am being completely honest with myself – easier said than done – something has always been missing. 

As a child, I knew that my calling was arguing, but not about the law. There was a higher calling, which I repeatedly and consistently ignored. 

About 20 years ago, I relented and attended seminary for a year. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. However, my professional commitments caused me to quit. During the ensuing years, my law practice flourished. Life was wonderful. 

Then, in November 2020, I was diagnosed with cancer. The radiation and chemotherapy treatments were quite debilitating. Without the support of my beautiful wife, Denise, and our family as well as the kindness and prayers of so many, I would have given up. Thankfully, the treatment was successful. I no longer have evidence of cancer and my doctors have told me that there is little chance it will ever return. 

I always promised myself that – someday in the future – I would return to the seminary. When my cancer treatment ended, I managed to keep this promise. In the midst of a still very busy law practice, I am slowly working towards a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies. Perhaps, with God’s grace, I will someday write, teach, or preach.

Love of film and love of Scripture

Last term, I took a class in The Bible and Cinema. The class was fascinating! I quickly discovered that, since the late 1800s, so many incredible movies have been made with biblical themes and references. These movies have greatly impacted our perception of God, Jesus, and our faith. These films have also mirrored our societal values and flaws over the years. 

A couple of months ago, I mentioned this class to Fr. Chris, and here we are! The series begins this Tuesday, May 17 at Christ Church Cranbrook – info here! We will be showing clips from both the classics as well as modern favorites and having a lot of fun as we see how Holy Scripture has been portrayed in film.

My favorite biblically-related films are Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Winter Light, along with Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors. These movies delve deeply into the search for God’s presence during life’s most difficult moments. Bergman was the son of a highly acclaimed, yet abusive, Lutheran pastor. Allen’s Jewish mother was devoutly religious, while his father secretly rebelled, bringing young Woody along for the ride. Their complicated and contradictory early years almost certainly impacted Bergman and Allen’s relentless search for God in their work. 

During this 4-part series, we will explore themes surrounding God’s love, God’s apparent silence in the midst of tragedy and evil, racism, vulnerability, and humor. I very much hope you are able to join us!  


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