Flourish’s Jonathan Merritt Reviews “Earth”

April 21, 2009


relevant_tnOver at Relevant magazine’s website, Flourish’s own Jonathan Merritt has a film review of the new Disneynature movie “Earth”, opening tomorrow (on Earth Day) in theaters nationwide. He writes, in part:

When the film opens, the audience is overwhelmed with the vastness of planet earth as seen from space. The sun is just beginning to peak over the curved horizon and the booming voice of narrator James Earl Jones echoes out. The scene is spectacular and reminiscent of Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Indeed, taking in the sheer magnitude of our planet on the big screen is an experience for the soul.

But it doesn’t stop there. The majesty of the snow-tipped Himalayas, the precision of a caribou migration, the grandeur of the aururo australis, and a glimpse of a rainbow draw the audience in while illuminating God’s creativity, mystery, beauty, and covenant love. A whirling desert sandstorm seems to whisper of God’s power. A fresh depiction of the water cycle gushes of God’s providence and order. Even Jones’ comment that humans “depend on the great rivers and their endless flow” seems to lead us back to the One who sustains those rivers. As Psalm 65:9 says, “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.”

[Read the whole review at Relevant.]

I saw the film too (with Jonathan, no less). I thought it was a film that could be used to build the faith of viewers,  and I wrote a discussion guide for “Earth” moviegoers, which Disney decided to make available at their website. Part of my decision to pen the study guide was the response of a Christian couple Jonathan and I interviewed after the screening. They were nature documentary fans, but had never thought before that their enjoyment of nature and their ability to appreciate the beauty of the natural environment were connected to their faith in the Creator God. I wonder how many Christians are like that. [The same week, I met an evangelical Christian who worked in the green building/energy efficiency world, who had never connected his faith with his work either: "I guess the 'tend and keep' verses in Genesis could be construed to have something to do with stewardship" was as far as he'd gotten.]

Let us know if you use the downloadable “Earth” Discussion Guide, and write us if the experience of seeing the film sparks any interesting conversations with those outside the church. We’d love to hear your experiences.

Rusty Pritchard is a natural resource economist and the President of Flourish.

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