Last night almost 300 people arrived at the $25 Dinner and Movie for the premier at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in their huge hall. We showed Abraham, Father of Faith & Works for the first time since we filmed and produced it.
The movie was filmed on location in Iraq, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. It is 90 minutes long and shows Abraham and Sarah like they have never been portrayed on the screen before. It puts their whole lives in their historical and biblical context and demonstrates their importance to the whole story of salvation history.
It is available now for showings in theaters, churches and schools. For information contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be available for purchase on DVD starting March 17 (watch my website for a great introductory price).
This is not a “talking head” documentary but full of images, on-location footage, deep theology and rollicking fun. It was gratifying to hear the bursts of laughter at all the right places and expressions of approval at important points. It was a great premier and an entertaining, fast-paced movie.
Steve Ray’s Abraham: Father of Faith and Works is the latest installment in his groundbreaking Footprints of God: Salvation History from Abraham to Augustine film series. Although just produced, in design it is the first episode of the series.
It may also be, dramatically speaking, number one – the best. It overflows with rich detail and engrossing drama and is driven by God’s design for Abram/Abraham, carefully unfolded over decades and highlighted with care and enthusiasm by Steve in ninety minutes. Throughout Steve keeps before our eyes the truth that God acts in space and in time. He has a long term plan: Salvation. And He accomplishes it in the medium of history and matter not in spite of it.
The filming is quickly paced and keeps the harsh, inclement conditions of the Middle East before our eyes reminding us again of God’s willingness to use the least promising conditions to fulfill his greatest promises. The pace serves the drama of Abraham’s life and mission well by heightening suspense and leading the viewer to say, “And then what happened?”
The storytelling is fascinating and fleshed out by colorful artifacts taken from archaeological sites and Iraq’s royal tombs and museum.
The drama is sustained by the ironies and paradoxes of Abraham’s life. The unsettling divine call to a settled man. The unwelcome command to circumcise a household of adult males. The promise of a child to a couple well past childbearing years. The impatience to fulfill God’s will apart from God’s way and the taking of Hagar and the birth of Ishmael. The command to execute the child of divine promise.
Steve keeps the wonder and marvel of these twists and turns throughout. If anything, the movie seems too short. As we’ve come to expect, Steve also has a number of playful instances of comic relief reminding us that Sara’s laughter is a delightful detail of the story. Sara, in fact, is given unusual prominence in accord with Scripture’s high estimate of her role. She is not merely a utensil for Abraham to get the job done.
In pacing, dramatic suspense, theological and biblical content and the sheer joy of storytelling this episode is outstanding. I’ve said for years that this series should be in every Christian household- Catholic and non-Catholic both. Steve is undeniably ministering as a Catholic apologist. But the films are so well grounded in Scripture and history that all Christian brothers and sisters will find them faith-building and an occasion to sing how great is our God whether or not they can fully agree on all doctrinal points.
In these films, Steve channels the spiritual energies and meanings pulsating through these geographical locations, intriguing personalities and the eternal, hallowed truths that God directs and we act out in the theatre of history.
I plead with you: Gift your church or town library with this series. Every DRE and catechist should have it. Above all, make these films part of your family culture and your children’s upbringing. With each succeeding year they will find more and more truth jumping off the screen.