From Now On
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A Lent course on Hope and Redemption in The Greatest Showman. From Now On is a new and original Lent course by Rachel Mann. Taking the film The Greatest Showman as a starting point, the course explores ways in which themes of faith, hope and redemption run through all our lives. It examines how each of us – like P.T. Barnum and the members of his Circus – face and can overcome doubt, temptation and prejudice, and how we can begin to live authentic lives.
Paperback book. 5 sessions:
Obviously you will need a copy of the film on DVD as well. Each session includes suggested clips.
Adult individuals or small groups. Enquiring, Beginning, Growing.
Using this resource is a great reason to watch a good film and be challenged, inspired and energised at the same time. Not limited to Lent, but would fit very well.
Overall aims are for the course to be ‘fun, thoughtful and prayerful’. Layout is consistent, though more bullet points would have been easier for use. Headings are clear.
Deliberate inclusion of too much material for the average group meeting – this is so there is enough for individuals to use it as well, whether in addition to the group time, or stand alone. Sessions comprise: To Start You Thinking (short introductory chapter that should be summarised for group use, with Bible passage, and prayer); Icebreaker questions relevant to the theme; three Watch sections (suggested clips, Think About discussion questions, Going Deeper – linking the theme to Bible passage and more discussion questions); Looking Ahead (Activities to consider during the week – direct responses to the material in practical actions); Closing Prayer. The Watch sections could be easier to read if laid out in bullet points etc, but each one does start on a new page.
There is also some guidance on leading a group, in very narrative style.
Easy to lead, but needs some prep.
The extra material in the book means that there is plenty for group members to look at in between sessions; as well as being suitable for individual use. This includes a few facts about the real Barnum, some of which inevitably do not tally with the film.
An excellent DVD! Twentieth Century Fox 2018.
The excess of material is deliberate, but will not make for easy choices – so leave some time to choose what you want to use. The chapter may need some careful preparation for some groups (see Approach to Bible, and Growing in Faith).
Icebreaker, film watching together and some great questions for discussion, prayer and action points would give good opportunities for interaction.
God to have a mixture of visual, reading and discussion.
Encouragement to use subtitles etc for any group members who are visually impaired. Would suit a wide variety of groups. Use of the film could be extended into watching it together first, and using some themes for creativity – food, craft, etc. I should mention that the material in Rewrite the Stars will not suit everyone, as it is based on pro-gay assumptions and definitions of family that not all will share. You may want to make some choices here as to how to use it. They are important issues to discuss.
Very good application, through discussion and ongoing action in response to the themes. Most of these are a mixture of individual and collective; some could be life-changing.
Each session has an opening verse; then every Going Deeper section has a passage on which the following thought and discussion are based.
The choice of three Going Deeper sections are based on a different, relevant passage, followed up by a thought (enough to get discussion going but not too much) and some very good questions for discussion.
The questions and thoughts weave the film’s themes, the biblical material and the possible implications for our lives together extremely well. I should mention that the material in Rewrite the Stars will not suit everyone, as it is based on pro-gay assumptions and definitions of family that not all will share. You may want to make some choices here as to how to use it. They are important issues to discuss.
Broadly applicable. Some pro-gay assumptions that not all will agree with.
Superb interaction of Biblical material with the film themes should lead to some broad-ranging and challenging discussions, and hopefully some decisions for change.
There are some great gritty questions that help us to look at the tough stuff of life, in the light of our faith. The Activities to Consider section at the close of each section have some good suggestions for action, with helpful website links included.
Good mix of big picture stuff and personal applications, all within the context of biblical material. Even if you don’t agree with everything Mann says, it should make for some lively discussions and exploration of the ideas.
Very well. Barnum’s life in the movie lends itself well to considering comparable events in our own lives, and how we respond to them. Some questions are therefore based on the film directly.
Not a focus.
A strength of this resource with some excellent suggestions and inspiration for action.
Some of the big issues of society are definitely there, and Never Enough picks up action on environmental concerns.
Not a focus.