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Dorks R Us

By March 18, 2013 6 Comments

I couldn’t resist buying this album when I saw it for sale in a used bookstore in Cadillac, Michigan last week. The fact it cost a dollar helped me pull the trigger, but I am a well-known sucker for lime green Cardigans and quartets that have five people in them. 

On the back of the album is a photo of a “First Reformed Church” someplace, and some of the band members have Dutch last names, so I’ve probably already offended several people who recognized their uncle on the album cover.

But really?  Chances are you already knew your uncle was a dork.  I have nothing against dorks.  Some of my best friends are dorks.  My kids would tell you that I am a dork.  But I think at least I’m savvy enough not to market my dorkiness in the name of Christ. 

There is a great legacy of dorkiness in the church. Do you remember the old Christian satire magazine The Wittenburg Door?  They used to award a “Green Weenie” for the dorkiest thing in Christendom every month, be it somebody’s 50-foot-tall aluminum Jesus or the latest ranting by a televangelist.  The Heralders album cover photo probably would have qualified. (By the way, back when the RCA published its own magazine called The Church Herald I always wanted to form a touring group of gospel musicians composed entirely of guys named Harold and call them The Church Harolds.  But I digress.)

Anyhow, I’m all for bringing back the Green Weenies.  And to get a new round of Green Weenies rolling, I’d like to award one to the History Channel’s less-than-epic mini-series called The Bible.  Frankly, I’m amazed that we’ve gotten three episodes into this debacle without another member of The 12 commenting.  But I suppose there is a plausible explanation – no one is watching. 

Besides the fact that Noah sounded Irish (I kept waiting for him to say, “B’gosh and begorrah, on you go, two by two, and keep your mitts off me Lucky Charms”) and the strange fact that Samson appeared to be a Jamaican dude with dreads, the biggest failing of the History Channel’s dramatization of the Bible is that it’s boring.  What’s surprising is that the mini-series is produced by the husband and wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, he of Survivor fame and she of Touched by an Angel.   Those shows weren’t nearly as boring (or dorky) as what they’re doing to the Bible.

The problem is money.  They don’t have enough of it to spend in at least two significant areas: actors and special effects.  I haven’t watched all of The Bible, but I did see enough of Moses to laugh at his attempts at wild-eyed gazing.  I said aloud to the screen, “This Moses is a dork.” That’s not good. 

So, I started dreaming about my own production of the Bible.  Who should direct?  Peter Jackson?  Steven Speilberg?  How about the Coen Brothers? And who should star?  Here are a few random actors I’d like to see: Tommy Lee Jones as Pontius Pilate, Geoffrey Rush as Abraham, Sean Penn as Judas, Christian Bale as Peter, Michelle Williams as Mary, Helena Bonham Carter as Mary Magdelene, and Gary Oldman as Jeremiah.  What do you think?  I’d love to see your suggestions for casting the Bible.  Who should play Jesus?  What a challenging role.  And for that matter, who should play Paul?  What do you think?  By the way, don’t believe it when you get a sneaking suspicion that only dorks sit around and create their dream casts for the Bible.  You can do it. Just remember when you’re casting any quartets to only feature four people. 

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal. 


  • Dennis Kellermeier says:

    Jeff, I can't think of a better way to start a day – or a week – than by reading one of your posts; in this case, "Dorks R Us." I am intrigued with the idea of "Green Weenies" and will be on the lookout for likely suspects. I'll also be interested in hearing others' nominees for the award.

  • Debra Rienstra says:

    Love it! Your casting ideas are perfect. I vote for Jackson for OT and Spielberg for NT, since Spielberg loves flying debris and that would be great both for Pentecost and for Revelation. How about Johnny Depp for John of Patmos? Maybe Ben Affleck for Paul. Halle Berry for the adult Mary, mother of Jesus. As for the OT stars, I would say Orlando Bloom for Joseph, Brad Pitt for David, and Patrick Stewart for Isaiah. Angelina Jolie for Rachel, and how about Taylor Swift for Eve? This IS fun!

  • LuAnne says:

    Who else would reference a sports gimmick but you, Jeff? Who were the co-creators of the Green Weenie and what year was it most popular? Hint available, if needed, but knowing what a "nerd" you are, you'll probably have no problem answering this one.

  • Ron Dykstra says:

    This piece is a CLASSIC! All of the Blogs are so, so valuable for just ordinary church folks like us. While I'm old enough to remember the Heralder's Quartet (you do know that the fifth guy is the pianist, right?) I'm also old enough not to know many of the people you're suggesting to re-cast The Bible. So I'll just agree with you that the current casting is bad, the story changes/substitutions are ridiculous (kung-fu warriors as angels?? and Satan as a black person seemingly reveals some bias) but we keep watching to see how the Mormon over-view affects Jesus' resurrection and the final ending, if at all. Thanks again for a bright spot in the day.

  • fPaul Janssen says:

    I remember green weenies from teh Wittenberg Door, a production of fill-in-the-correct-first-name (I don't remember it) Rice and Mike Yaconelli, who I think were also very involved in Youth for Christ.

  • Jeff Munroe says:

    Wayne Rice and Mike Yaconelli co-created the "Wittenburg Door." They unintentionally misspelled Wittenberg as Wittenburg and then just kept it that way when they learned of their mistake. And yes, they were former YFC staff who also founded Youth Specialties. Anyone but me remember the "Ideas" books they used to put out? Denny Rydberg, the president of Young Life, also worked on the Door with them. They did great interviews, too – I remember interviews they did with Frederick Buechner and Mr. Rogers. LuAnne asked what year they were most popular. I'm going to guess about 1974.

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