This is a video review and brief study guide I wrote for the video: The Creation Chronicles with Ted and Lee. As noted, some of the video segments would work for elementary students.
UPDATED: This is now known as "Ted and Company" http://www.tedandcompany.com/
The Creation Chronicles with Ted & Lee
The Bible is often referred to as a love story, a chronicle of the relationship between God and mankind. In The Creation Chronicles, the creative team of Ted and Lee will take you on a dizzying tour of the Old Testament. In a series of dialogs and monologs filmed before a live audience, they show God creating the world ("This is REALLY good!") as the angel Gabriel looks on and wonders about the purpose of everything — especially man ("He kind of looks like you"). The story of mankind's off and on relationship with God continues through the stories of Cain and Abel, Noah, the Tower or Babel, Abraham, the golden calf, Jericho, Samuel, Solomon, Jeremiah and other prophets. The chronicle culminates in the story of Jonah, when God realizes that sometimes He does seem too far away. So God posts a work order for an angel to make an announcement to a virgin, and Gabriel is sent forth while God lights a candle.
For those not familiar with these talented, imaginative and quirky artists, their web site http://www.tedandcompany.com/ says it all: "The theater of Ted (Swartz) & Lee (Eshleman) could be described as an inventive cross between, say, the Smothers Brothers, Andy Griffith, and Monty Python. Their work is by turns hilarious, breath-taking, absurd, and surprising but always with a kind of friendly back porch draw. Humor with art and soul."
This video is most effective in its full, 90-minute format. It may also be shown as a series, with one Bible story discussed each week. There are 13 Bible stories, but you may want to combine several of the episodes for discussion. Some of the segments are also appropriate for showing as stand-alone Bible stories for all ages, particularly creation, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, and Jeremiah.
Note that some of the scenes are a bit "earthy," so you will want to preview the video before showing it to elementary-aged children. For example, Gabriel tells Abram about the circumcision part of the covenant; Abram notes that "That's gonna sting a little."
But even with all the imagination and humor, the stories stay true to the Word, from the creation of the world to the proclamation of the birth of a very special child. This video is an inspiring reflection on the loving relationship God has with mankind.
This lesson was written by Amy Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Presbytery of South Louisiana.
Copyright 2003 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
Here are some suggestions if you want to take a closer look at some or all of the stories in The Creation Chronicles with Ted and Lee.
Genesis 1:1 - 2:4
- Do you think God really laughed when He created things? (Think about anteaters and armadillos.)
- God calls the Earth one big animal. Do you agree with this interpretation? Talk about the food chain and the balance of nature.
- Gabriel asks about man: "What's it for? What will it do?" Do you think God really doesn't know the answer?
- What does it mean to be created in God's image?
Cain and Abel
Genesis 4:1- 16
- Lee portrays the shepherd Abel as being rather irritating. Do you think this is an accurate portrayal?
- What is the new thing Cain made at the end of the sketch? (A fist, violence, murder, sibling rivalry?)
- This sketch seems to be leading up to the story in the Bible. Why might God reject Cain's sacrifice?
- What do you thing the Lord meant in Gen. 4:7?
- Think about a time that you were really angry at someone, or someone was angry at you. How did you react? How do you think God felt about your actions? Talk about second chances.
Noah/the Great Flood
- Gabriel tries to talk God out of starting over. Why?
- What do you think "they" did that was so terrible?
- Gabriel suggests to the Lord, "Maybe they need more of you." We were created in the Lord's image. What does Gabriel mean by more of God?
- Noah's a bit "different" so maybe he will listen to God. Have you ever been a bit "different" and followed God?
The Tower of Babel
Genesis 11:1- 9
- What was wrong with the construction worker wanting to be "part of something big, something eternal"?
- What "monuments" and "towers" have you built in your life?
The Covenant with Abram
Genesis 17 (background: Genesis 12- 21)
- After Gabriel explains to Abram that his side of the covenant is to be circumcised, Abram asks, "So what's in it for me?" What does God have to offer Abram? Does is seem like a fair trade?
- In spite of his doubts, Abraham followed God's commands. Focus on God's commitment to fulfill His promised to you. Obey Him and trust His plan.
The Golden Calf
Exodus 32 (background: Exodus 15:22- 32)
- Why did God say to Moses, "Look at your people"?
- Was Moses justified in his anger? Or is it a sin to be angry?
- What do you think of Ted and Lee's interpretation of this story? Was Moses angry enough? Should Moses have been angry?
- Do you have false idols in your life?
The Fall of Jericho
Joshua 5:13 - 6:21)
- Why did God give his people such crazy instructions for winning the battle (seven days of marching around with the Ark of the Covenant and trumpet blowing)?
- Have you ever felt called to do something that did not make sense at the time?
Samuel reminisces about the Kings
I Samuel 8 (background: I and II Samuel)
- Why did the people want an imperfect (human) king instead of God? Were things better for them under the kings?
- Why did God say, "Sure you can have a king, but from now on, you're on your own — I'm not going to fight your battles for you anymore"?
- Have you ever made a wrong choice because you wanted to be like everyone else?
Solomon's Wisdom/Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon 4:1-7
- Why do you think Song of Solomon is in the Bible? What does it show us about God's relationship with people?
- Why did Ted and Lee include this sketch in their look at the relationship between God and man?
The Prophet Jeremiah's Short Story
Jeremiah 13: 1-11
- Different translations call Jeremiah's undergarment a loincloth (NRSV), a belt (NIV) or shorts (TEV). Jeremiah often taught with object lessons such as this one.
- In what way can God's people be totally useless?
- Does there seem to be any hope in this passage? Has God really given up?
Hosea 1 (also references to Obadiah and Isaiah 9: 2-7)
- God asked Hosea to marry an adulterous woman. God often required extraordinary obedience from his prophets. If God asks you to do something difficult, how will you respond?
- What does Hosea 3:1 teach us about God?
- Chuck Orion notes that Isaiah is a bit unorthodox and is saying some new things ("What can a little kid do, right?"). Why is it that the words of prophets are often hard to accept?
Jonah 4 (read the entire book if time permits)
- God is shown being happy, almost giddy, at the repentance of the Ninevites. Do you think this is accurate?
- Is Jonah's anger with God valid?
- In the Bible, Jonah's response to God is not given. Do you think this sketch showing his resignation is a valid interpretation? Or do you think he saw God's point after God's final statement (Jonah 4:11)?
- What does the insight Jonah and God found after they changed places show about our being created in God's image?
- Was God too far away? What do you think He decided to do to solve the problem?
Isaiah 9:6, Luke 1:5-38. John 1:1-18
- I wonder why God did not want to rend the firmament and shake the earth to announce the birth of His son?
- "Working with people is always risky, you know that." What did God mean? Do we take risks?
- What does the song during the closing credits say about our relationship with God? ("We will heal again through the one who gave the word...we will rise again, so much more than before.") What does it say about your relationship with God?
Additional topics for discussion after each segment:
- How would you describe the relationship between God and people at this time?
- Does God know what he is doing? Are we his grand experiment?
This video is available from Ecufilm: www.ecufilm.com, 800-251-4091 and directly from Ted and Company at [url=http://www.tedandcompany.com/[/url] for $25.
[This message was edited by Amy Crane on January 15, 2004 at 03:25 AM.]