No-one doubts the quality of the Nooma videos with Rob Bell . They are ten minute or so presentations involving Bell talking to camera interspersed with a simple enacted scene. Bell’s ability as a communicator and the production values are exemplary.
The messages, however, are of variable quality. Some are excellent (my favourite is Lump). Some reflect too much pop psychology for my liking.
So I’m delighted to be able to recommend two recent Nooma videos – Tomato (Nooma 22) and Corner (Nooma 23) which I’ll review tomorrow. (I should say I selected these two from among the recent Nooma releases because I thought sounded good.)
Tomato is an exposition of the principle that life comes through death – starting with tomato seeds, moving on to Jesus and focusing on us. It is a kind of extended meditation on the following verses:
- ‘Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’ (Matthew 10:39)
- ‘I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (John 12:24)
It also interweaves a discussion of what it means to live in the light of our new status in Christ. Why do we try to make ourselves look good? Or need to be right? Or feel better than others? Or look like we have it together? ‘Jesus invites that part of us to die. That part of us that always has to be right. That part of us that always has to be better. That part of us that always has to look good.’
The visuals are a bit confusing. A man with a pink umbrella appears in a series of scenes. I think he represents a demon delighting in people putting themselves first, but I’m not entirely sure!
One might have wished for a fuller explanation of the cross. One might have wished for something on the eschatological nature of Matthew 10:39. But this is still a great piece of communication. It would be a good discussion starter for a small group or a good bit of visual reinforcement for a sermon.