Review: Tomato – Nooma 22

No-one doubts the quality of the Nooma videos with Rob Bell purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US. 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) purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US and Corner (Nooma 23) purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US which I’ll review tomorrow. (I should say I selected these two from among the recent Nooma releases because I thought sounded good.)

Tomato Nooma 22 purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US

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.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Tomato – Nooma 22

  1. Hi Tim – thanks very much for all your Rob Bell reviews, both Nooma and books. It’s nice seeing a’n evangelical thinker like yourself talking objectively about Bell’s work rather than just jumping on the bandwagon and portraying him as a heretic and nothing else.

    Eventually my vision is to try and produce a Welsh Nooma-type series – translating such things doesn’t work so it would have to be a totally original project. Christianity Explored has just been published in Welsh and it seems that has translated better than Alpha which was translated back in the ’90s.

    Anyway, here is my question. With a church young group in mind which order would you do this:

    Nooma first to get them thinking then move on to Christianity Explored OR Christianity Explored first to get them grounded then move on to a few Noomas to get them thinking deeper? I know that you can’t really compare them side by side but what would you say? One should presume that the youth (aged 16+) don’t necessarily have a living relationship with Jesus.

  2. Hi Tim

    I kinda like the Noomas too – they are great discussion starters, but do know what you mean about the missing centre. Perhaps he might come up with one called Donut?!

    PS – forgive my bad attitude about the cricket. As a graceless winner I obviously find it hard to lose graciously too.

  3. Pingback: Review: Corner – Nooma 23 « Tim Chester

  4. Hi Rhys, I don’t know – your call. You know your context better than us. What I would say is that doing CE will be easier than a version of Nooma. Nooma has a distinctive style that looks deceptively easy. I’ve heard (can’t verify this) that they’ve tried doing Nooma with someone other than Rob Bell and it didn’t really work. Tim

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