Imago Dei Film Festival to Promote Discussion

Imago Dei Film FestivalChrist United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama, home church to UMR columnist  Jeremy Steele,  is hosting an Imago Dei film festival at their church this summer for eight weeks. They are showing an assortment of Christian-based films with a discussion period to follow.

From the church website:

For eight weeks this summer we will be hosting a film festival that will show eight of the most influential Jesus films created. From the 1961 King of Kings through Jesus Christ Superstar and Mel Gibson’s controversial Passion of the Christ, all the way to this year’s blockbuster Son of God. There will be one shown on the big screen every Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. starting June 8 in the Christ Center.

Before we watch the movie with our community, we will have a worship service where we spend some time discussing the film, how it portrays Jesus and how its version of the story can help us grow closer to the One to whom these films are pointing.

What a great opportunity to bring your friends or family, enjoy some coke and popcorn and see these sometimes brilliant, sometimes humorous and always powerful depictions of the most important story that has ever been told.


Worship & Discussion: 5:00 p.m. | All Showtimes: 6:00 p.m. | Admission is FREE

6/8 King of Kings (1961) PG-13
6/15 The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964) NR
6/22 Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) G
7/6 Jesus of Nazareth (1977) NR
7/13 The Jesus Film (1979) G
7/20 The Passion of the Christ (2004) R
7/27 Son of God (2014) PG-13


We caught up with Jeremy by email with a few questions about the festival:

UMR: What was the process for selecting the movies for your event?

Jeremy: The goal was to get a sampling of influential Jesus movies, part of that flowed from some research I had done into the subject.  At the same time, I didn’t want to leave out the more recent films so there was a mix between influential and a good assortment across the timeline.

UMR: What are you hoping to accomplish through this event?

Jeremy: I am hoping to connect with our community over the shared American love for film.  As a church, we have something unique to add around the films that flow from our story.  I hope that the mix of tacking around each depiction of Jesus and experiencing the films together will have something to offer beyond just a sermon and movie.

UMR: Was there any consideration of a film such as “The Last Temptation of Christ” to offer a less mainline view of Jesus, simply for the sake of conversation? If you were just showing the movie that could seem like a stunt, but the way you’re framing each film with worship & discussion could carefully accommodate a different perspective.
Jeremy: I spent a lot of time wrestling with that title in particular.  Because it departs so thoroughly from the story we believe in the scripture, and because many of those departures are on the vulgar side, I felt that showing it would do more harm than good in our culture.  Other parts of the country might be able to pull it off. At the same time, we have some vey different perspectives on the story (especially in “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”) that I felt gave us the diversity of perspective without the nude scenes and intense sexuality of “The Last Temptation of Christ.”


Local news coverage of Imago Dei

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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