Bible Quiz III--From Movies II
Bill Long 12/26/06
Chariots of Fire, Pulp Fiction, The Apostle
One of my all-time favorite movies was the 1981 Chariots of Fire, which won Best Picture that year. It is the story of privileged English young men preparing for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Themes of glory and striving, of ethnic prejudice and religious devotion, of the "joy of victory and agony of defeat" permeate the film. My first quiz question to you has to do with the title. Which biblical passage is that derived from? The title also comes from the exultant hymn "Jerusalem," sung during the movie. Here are the relevant words from that hymn:
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of Desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of Fire!
My other question comes from Eric Liddell's (the Scotsman) sermon in front of the Scots Church in Paris during the Games. Standing in the elevated pulpit, and with scenes of athletes tripping over the steeplechase, coming up "short," mud-speckled and bedraggled flashing before us as he reads, he intones the following:
"Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
Where is that from? And, for extra credit, what is the context?
Much could be said about this amazing, violent, and career-enhancing post-modernist (i.e., non-linear in its time sequences) 1994 film by Quentin Tarrantino. It is a film with many rich theological currents. I only will mention the way that it helped careers "take off." From the Wikipedia article on it:
"The film had an impact on the careers of its cast members. It provided a breakthrough role for Samuel L. Jackson, previously a supporting actor who became an international star in a part Tarantino wrote especially for him. It revived the fortunes of John Travolta who was going through something of a career slump at the time, and allowed Bruce Willis to move away from the action hero reputation he had gained through films such as Die Hard. It raised the profile of Uma Thurman and led to greater recognition for character actors such as Ving Rhames and Harvey Keitel. Eric Stoltz was also acclaimed for his role as Lance."
The character Jules, played by Jackson, tells us that he recites a passage from the Bible each time he kills someone. I will give you the passage as it is quoted in the movie, and then provide the actual biblical passage. You must find it. It is difficult. He quotes the following:
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.:
In the last scene of the movie, Jules repeats the passage to Pumpkin (who he refers to as Ringo), but phrases it slightly differently.
The actual text is:
"And I will execute great vengeance upon thee with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them."
OK. Where from?
This 1997 film, directed by, paid for and with its star as Robert Duvall, is the story of a poor Pentecostal preacher who, in a pique of rage, kills a man then changes his identity to the "Apostle E.F.," moves to rural Louisiana, and takes up a successful ministry with mostly Black Christians. Duvall studied closely the ways of Southern Pentecostalism and gives a sympathetic portryal of the realities of religious faith in this context. One of the riveting scenes in the film takes place outside the One-Way Road to Heaven Church. E.F. confronts a surly redneck who objects to his worshiping with "niggers." On an afternoon when the congregation is holding a picnic, the fellow drives a bulldozer toward the small wooden church. E.F. places a Bible in the bulldozer's path and challenges the man to run it over. He can't, and eventually E.F. convinces him that God brought him to the church not so he could destroy it, but so he could be converted - and converted he is, as E.F. whispers tenderly to him, "I was a worse sinner than you were."
When E.F. placed the Bible before the bulldozer, he first read from it, and then laid it down, open to that passage, before the bulldozer. Here is a verse from the larger passage that was read:
"For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence."
Where from? Oh, if you want to have the "actual scene" from the movie, it is here:
E.F. opens Bible to XXXXXXXX and lays it on the ground directly in front of the bulldozer. E.F. steps aside. E.F. quotes a very apropos verse from the Bible and tells the man to proceed. Man looks at him and the Bible as he guns the motor.
E.F. (APOSTLE): You touch that church you gotta go over that Holy Book and, Brother, when you do, I don’t want to be sittin’ where you’re sittin’ right now...
TROUBLEMAKER (intense): Move that Bible.
E.F. (APOSTLE): ...‘cause he’s gonna strike you down like you’ve never been struck, that’s a promise I can make you on this Sunday morning. It’s up to you.
Enough for now!