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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Day 2 of re:create, Dean batali cont.


Today’s session with Dean Batali began 10ish. Dean is a former writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a former Executive Producer for That 70’s Show, which had a lengthy, run of 8 years and over 200 episodes. (Dean is the guy on the right in the photo).

I have decided Dean is on of the most quotable individuals I have ever met. I have included some of my favorite quotes of the day for your reading pleasure.

“Hollywood is NOT Sodom and Gomorra. If it were, God would have destroyed it already.” I love Dean’s passion about being an agent of change in a world most of us know nothing about but often take shots at. Dean does not look at the people he works with as projects or commodities but rather, he exhibits a contagious and almost visibly painful empathy and compassion for his fellow writers. He is the real deal.

Dean began the session with an interesting statement. “It is a new theology we are working on to go to where the damage is being done to our culture and help do the damage to the culture in order to redeem the culture . . . I want people to start thinking in a different way about film and TV. Especially the church . . . Christians don’t watch enough television . . . Christians are not discerning enough about film . . . “

One of my favorite quotable quotes of the day was Batali’s challenging admission, “I don’t want films that are just safe for my family. The Passion was not safe for my family.” This posture is a welcome example of one who is “in the world but not of it.”

Batali, 42, began his missional career as a young man. He seems to view himself as somewhat of a newcomer to the world of influential artists,“ By the time I found out who Keith Green was, he was dead,” which is evidence that he plans on being around for a long time.

Sometimes Christians come across as pompous, ill-informed, and somewhat militant crusaders ready to tame the savages while tarnishing the reputation of people who want to be Jesus to the world they live in and the people they genuinely care about. Batali loves Hollywood. He may not be changing water to wine but he sure is the guy bringing the best bottle of wine to the party.

“I started looking at the state of theatre in the church and it pissed me off . . . I think one of the reasons Christians are not competitive in the culture is that we are not angry enough . . . I am driven with a certain amount of anger that our culture has ostracized Jesus and Christians . . . I am the kind of guy who runs outside and drags the elephant into the room to talk about it.”

Batali is deeply upset at the caricature of the Christian in movies and media. “Christian characters have become the “wacky gay neighbor” of television shows.”

As you can imagine (and may agree with) Batali takes a lot of criticism for his participation in shows that don’t exactly set a standard of morality. “Is it okay for me to defecate in (someone’s) living room if out comes one gem? Yes.” (Batali admitted he didn’t plan on that last statement sounding quite so graphic but it got a lot of laughs).

“We are salt and light. Salt doesn’t bring life back to things . . . it stops the decay . . . is that enough?” We can’t blame Batali for the content of everything on That 70’s Show. Hollywood writing is done by committee. I look at Batali as the kid on the playground encouraging kids to play fun and engaging games while they are certain it is more fun to play with matches—unaware of the consequences. But, instead of standing in the sandbox with a bullhorn, Batali is risking getting burned himself for a chance to whisper in someone’s ear and share his story.

And, he’s not throwing salt from the sidelines. He is right there in the kitchen.

“Compromise isn’t always such a bad thing . . . if it means living to fight another day . . . If we replace the putrid, does that make our culture better? I think it does . . . We sometimes think that if we are not getting these great victories we are not being effective . . . I think that stopping the decay is good enough.”

5 comments:

Bobby said...

Dude, the guy on the left of the photo is one good lookin brotha!

Hey, I had a blast hangin this week as well. Lookin forward to hearing more from you.

And I don't want to plagerize, so I'll be sure to go back and give you some credit for a name or two. I honestly didn't remember who came up with the second power deal. Besides, I'm a pastor. We steal things and say them, right? ;)

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That's indeed Brotha I think...Bobby I too like to join the party.....

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