Rob Bell’s blockbuster book Love Wins last year helped make Hell a hot topic (sorry, couldn’t resist!), so join us as we host filmmaker Kevin Miller, ex-Religious Right politico Frank Schaeffer, and theologian Michael Hardin for the DC-premiere of Miller’s new documentary (Hellbound?...) on the resulting controversy. The documentary will premiere at the historic Avalon Theater (DC) on Thursday, December 6th at 8PM. This feature-length film explores in more depth the themes and ideas featured in Rob Bell’s book and interviews a number of authors, theologians, Protestant pastors, a Catholic apologist, an Eastern Orthodox priest, anti-Christian rock-n-rollers, and even an exorcist! Authors interviewed include Brian McLaren, Mark Driscoll, Frank Schaeffer, Greg Boyd, Sharon Baker, and Michael Hardin. This is an interesting topic, but as the Hellbound?... website and trailer (click here) (http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/) says, “Prepare to have your buttons pushed”…because they will be more than once!
The documentary has been reviewed sympathetically by a surprising number of secular publications which appreciated Miller’s thought-provoking approach to, and expert interviews on, the topic, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Slate, and others (click here for the list) (http://www.hellboundthemovie.com/press/).
The best even-handed evaluation of the documentary I would recommend is Eliza Wood’s piece on Huffington Post called Hellbound: How will Christians React? (click here) (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eliza-wood/hellbound-how-christians-react_b_1772873.html).
Here’s how the official website lays out the big issues that will be examined:
“Does hell exist? If so, who ends up there, and why? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators and musicians, “Hellbound?” is a provocative, feature-length documentary that will ensure you never look at hell the same way again!"
"Hell. A shadowy abode choked with eggy, sulfurous fumes; the stench of blackened, bubbling flesh and screams of agony from souls trapped forever in a lake of fire. A vision made all the more terrifying by the fact that God–the only being who could possibly save us from such a fate–is the one who consigns us there instead."
"Such depictions of hell have gripped humanity for centuries. But the traditional view of hell also presents us with a dilemma. If God is our pure, all-loving Creator, can he really allow (presumably) billions of people to suffer in hell for eternity? To many people, it seems like we can have a good God or we can have the traditional view of hell, but we can’t have both…"
"Some people simply resign themselves to the mystery, hoping the logic of damnation will be revealed in the life to come. Others suggest alternate views, such as Annihilationism (the souls of the damned are extinguished after the Day of Judgment) or Universalism (everyone is eventually reconciled to God). Still others become so frustrated that they finally walk away from Christianity altogether."
"Is it possible we’ve gotten hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, musicians and social commentators, Hellbound? asks why we are so bound to the idea of hell and what our view of hell reveals about how we perceive God, the Bible and, ultimately, ourselves.”
After the film, Kevin Miller, Frank Schaeffer, and Michael Hardin will talk about the film and do a Q & A with the audience.
After the event and book signing, those who are left will go down to the Parthenon Restaurant's Chevy Chase Lounge for a beer with Kevin, Frank, and Michael.
More about our conversation partners:
Kevin Miller is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer who has applied his craft to numerous documentaries, feature films and shorts, several of which take up the intersection of faith and public policy. Recent projects include "Hellbound?," "Drop Gun," "No Saints for Sinners," "spOILed," "Sex+Money," "With God On Our Side," "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" and "After..." In addition to his work in film, Miller has written, co-written and edited over 40 books. He lives in Abbotsford, BC, Canada with his wife and four children.
Frank Schaeffer is the son of evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer (L’Abri community in Switzerland), a self-taught documentary producer, and one of the initial organizing leaders of the religious right in the late 1970s (along with his father, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell) which helped motivate white social conservatives to create an alliance with economic conservatives and the GOP. His 1970s documentaries not only publicized his father’s philosophical and historical teachings to a wider US audience, but they also mobilized fundamentalist and evangelical Christians to vote for social conservative positions in the polls. After his disillusionment with (and break from) the religious right in the late 1980s, he found his voice as an acclaimed novelist and nonfiction memoirist of his famous parents, his U.S. Marine son, and his fundamentalist Christian childhood. He eventually joined the Eastern Orthodox church. His memoir Crazy for God: How I grew up as One of the Elect, Helped form the Religious Right, and Lived to Take it All (or Almost All) of It Back (2010) (click here to order) (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crazy-for-god-frank-schaeffer/1008488159?ean=9780306817502). We will have some copies of Crazy for God on hand for purchase.
MICHAEL HARDIN is the co-founder and Executive Director of Preaching Peace, a non-profit based in Lancaster, PA whose motto is "Educating the Church in Jesus' Vision of Peace." An internationally known speaker, he is one of the earliest members of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion and is a co-founder of Theology and Peace, also based in the United States. Michael was educated at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago and is a PhD candidate at Charles Stuart University in Canberra, Australia. He is the co-editor of Stricken by God?: Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ (Eerdmans, 2007), Peace Be With You (Cascadia 2009), Compassionate Eschatology (Wipf & Stock, 2010), editor of Reading the Bible with Rene Girard (Wipf & Stock 2013) and author of the acclaimed The Jesus Driven Life (JDL Press, 2010). He is currently writing his latest book Lamb Up!: Where the Neo-Reformed Get it Wrong and Jesus Gets It Right. He has published over a dozen articles on the mimetic theory of Rene Girard in addition to essays on theology, spirituality and practical theology.
Join us for this thought-provoking evening!
Glenn & Jen
Tickets: Usually our events are free, but in this case tickets will have to be purchased at the door: $11.50 for adults, $8.75 for seniors and $8.50 for students.
Metro and Parking: The Parking situation at the Avalon is tricky, there are a few spots in the back of the theater, but I would recommend parking in the residential streets on the eastern part of Connecticut Ave near the theater. Also, there are about 15 parking spots in back of the Chevy Chase community center (which is across the street from the Avalon). Also, the Chevy Chase circle has many spokes going out nearby which you can park on (I’m thinking of parking on Western Ave, Graften St. and Oliver St.). Probably the quickest way to use a metro and bus combo, would be to go the Friendship Heights Metro (Red Line), then take a bus from the Friendship Heights metro along Western Ave. to the Chevy Chase Circle stop. From there you can walk south on Connecticut Ave. to the Avalon. Allow time to find parking and please only use crosswalks near the street lights. There are restaurants and a diner in the area for a dinner.