28 September 2009

Bizarro Moment of the Night

On the recommendation of a student, I sat down & watched The Reaping tonight after everyone else had gone to bed. Not a terrible movie. Not great, but not terrible. Basic story (no spoilers) is this: Woman of Faith ordained in some faith resembling Catholicism (but obviously not, because, duh, she's WOMAN of Faith. But it has to be Roman Catholic because, really, whoever heard of a non-RC priest studying ancient prophecies at a monastery in the middle of the desert?) becomes Woman of Science after losing husband and child whilst serving God in Africa. Woman of Science proceeds to debunk as many miracles as she can, making a name for herself in the process and, apparently, leading her to a professorship at LSU (I didn't know they had a forensic mythology debunking department at LSU, but they showed the football stadium, so Q.E.D. she's a professor of miracle debunking at LSU). Small town in Louisiana sends Handsome Single Guy to LSU because, apparently, the Ten Plagues of Exodus are happening again, and they need her help to explain what's actually going on. And the local police are more incompetent than Handsome Single Guy. Add dramatic tension in the form of a possibly innocent young girl the same age as Woman of Science's daughter would be, move to the inevitable realization that something more than science is going on, and stir. Serve with popcorn in a dark room late at night.

After watching a movie on DVD, I usually check out the special features, in the hopes there might be something interesting. The special features for The Reaping included one piece entitled "The Science Behind the Ten Plagues." I figured, what the heck - let's see what they've got to say.

The minute the feature begins, I hear a familiar voice. Then I realize it's Dr. Terry Fretheim, Professor of Old Testament at my alma mater, Luther Seminary.

My Old Testament professor, who is a man of great faith, is on a special feature about the scientific explanation of the Ten Plagues of Exodus. Said special feature is attached to a movie about how the Ten Plagues happen again. Except that they aren't the Ten Plagues. And the woman working so hard to disprove them becomes a believer again, because of the plagues, even though the plagues that seem to be happening aren't really the plagues, or, at least, they aren't the Biblical plagues, which she's still not sure about. Meanwhile, the special feature featuring a faithful OT professor tries to show how they weren't plagues at all. Did you get all that?

Yeah. Me neither. But it sure is funny to think about as I head off to bed.

Grace & peace,


  1. Fretheim came to give a special lecture at Eden my first year. His Suffering of God book has had a lasting impact on my theology. Interesting that he'd show up on that DVD.

  2. I think somewhere between all those plagues (or not-plagues as it may be) you have lost me. And talking of professors, my OT and Hebrew professor gave a talk on vampires in the bible. Not sure that this is any better... :-)

  3. oh my... she says as the grasshoppers are thick in her yard...