If Hollywood transforms Joseph into a secular hero, there are others who portray him as a moral and spiritual giant. Both views fail to do justice to the biblical story.
In Genesis 47:20-21 we read that Joseph reduced the Egyptian people to servitude. In this respect he can be described as a spiritual pygmy. Consider the teachings in Deuteronomy 15 and Leviticus 25 that give us a fuller picture of God's redemptive purposes for the world.
Tim Rice is an incredibly rich man who has made 150 million pounds sterling crafting lyrics about Joseph and many others. Here is Joseph's finale:
I closed my eyes,
drew back the curtain
to see for certain what I thought I knew.
Far far away, someone was weeping
but the world was sleeping;
Any dream will do.
Following on from my short piece about the Ofsted Report, some thoughts on how many young people learn Scripture in their RE lessons.
Many British people have studied RE but it is often unacknowledged how materialism and Hollywood mythology infuse this educational experience.
Here we draw on the research of Terence Copley's Biblos Project at Exeter University. His team have been looking at what children learn about the meaning of Bible stories in schools in England. Here are some examples:
When people talk about Christian education, many people think about the archetypal Bible-basher. Someone who attacks you with Scripture.
This is tragic.
In my view Christian education should be about wisdom, discernment and understanding the brutal stories that ruin countless lives. Consider this.
Why did Jesus teach in parables? Some thoughts on this.
Parables are cryptic and provocative riddles. They are hard to understand. Think 'whodunit' rather than 'documentary'. They puzzle, disturb and sometimes baffle people. They are not meant to be easy listening like Andy Williams or Mantovani.
At Christmas time it’s worth thinking about the Big Story we find in the Bible. The Christian story can be told in terms of a Six Act Drama.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.