Skimming the web tonight, I came across this rather interesting project: a new dramatized reading of the Bible featuring 250 African-American actors, entertainers, and religious personalities, including: Angela Bassett as Angel of the Lord (okay... that's interesting), Cuba Gooding Jr. as Judas Iscariot, Samuel L. Jackson as God (anybody remeber Samuel as the Scripture quoting hitman in that Tarrentino film?), Bishop T.D. Jakes as Abraham, Blair Underwood as Jesus, Forest Whitaker as Moses, Star Jone Reynolds as Jude, and Eriq La Salle as Pharisee. The Bible Experience looks like it could be worth the purchase price. The clips at the website are engaging, which was the producer's aim... to deliver an audio version of the Bible that rivets. The Charlotte Observer featured an article on the project that gives a good overview. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Not Worth It.
In other news, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Henry J. Lyons, the once-discredited and imprisoned former president of the National Baptist Convention USA, is in the news again. Some of you may recall the situation leading to his arrest and conviction:
Lyons is now two years into a new pastorate and a new marriage and seeking the presidency of the Florida state convention of the NBC. The most disheartening thing about the article is not Lyons' bid for the presidency; it's the response coming from some quarters of the convention stressing a shallow, sub-biblical notion of forgiveness. A sad example from an employee of the state convention: "If people know the Bible, they know that most of the people the Lord used were all tainted, but the Lord turned them around. What the devil means for bad, the Lord can turn around and make anything good. That may just be the case with Dr. Lyons."
Lyons was known as a charismatic preacher who was fond of an opulent lifestyle. His world began to unravel in 1997 when his then-wife, Deborah, set fire to a $700,000 Tierra Verde home the minister owned with another woman. Investigations by authorities uncovered a series of financial improprieties surrounding Lyons and Bernice Edwards, his alleged mistress with whom he owned the Pinellas County house. At the time, Lyons was head of the NBC and pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church in St. Petersburg.
In 1999, Lyons was convicted on grand theft and racketeering charges and found guilty of bilking the religious organization, its corporate partners and donor charities of millions. He also pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in state prison.
Maybe. But then again, maybe not. "If people know the Bible," a surer test would be to compare the man to the list of qualifications for leadership in 1 Tim. 3. Let's assume that if he doesn't meet those qualifications, the Lord is not calling him to either the pastorate or convention leadership. To assume otherwise is folly.