Monday, July 18, 2016

Updates: Radio and Television Pages

  • In the Children's Television section I have added links for the series "Youth On The March", some of which go to sites about the life and ministry of Rev. Percy Crawford. 
  • In the Radio section, I have added corrections to dates and summaries of "Chaplain Jim"
  • Also in the Radio section, "Bible Dramas" has been corrected to its correct title "Biblical Dramas".

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Origins of Family Bible Storytelling Media Part II

Now for the second reason that I created this blog.

Appreciating the history of Bible based media to demonstrate many creative talents from the past to inspire today's parents, teachers and ministers.

A few years ago, as I began to go further into my research, I read a critic's review of a popular Bible based drama on television (I won't say which one). The critic made an odd comment questioning why there were so many religious based films at the theaters and on TV all of the sudden. In my mind my response was, "There have been religious dramas on the major radio and television networks since 1928, and motion pictures since 1896"!

I do not claim to be a major authority of the history of Bible-based media in any medium. For this blog I want to steadily build a history of it in radio, television, educational media, some films and occasionally children's books. It is my hope that today's creative Christians with gifts of teaching in the form of storytelling could have a history resource to go to.

For decades there have been ministers, puppeteers, artists, cartoonists, authors, scriptwriters, cinematographers, and so much more, who desired to evangelize, teach families, and reach those who could not or had never attended a church. Their creativity was put to work with the latest in media technologies, whether it was the talking picture, the kine-scope or audio recordings for the blind. Their legacy is alive today in a era where testimonies, sermons and stories can be shared tens of thousands of time in a single week via YouTube, radio, television, and other streaming media.

Week by week I hope to uncover the lives and techniques of many individuals and share them in a way where their works and ministries can inspire creative fruit today.

Also I hope this site will be a great doorway to many fun and creative audio visual ministries of the present.

James R. Stewart Jr.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Origins of Family Bible Storytelling Media (Part 1)

After blogging for one year I realized that this blog is missing one thing that would add to it's credibility: an "About Us" or history of why this blog exists and what I as the author believe. There is an intended purpose in the title section, but here is the first of two primary reasons why I decided to blog about the history of dramatic or storytelling Christian Media.

The Impact of Dramatized Bible Stories on My Life
Videos, radio dramas, and even cartoons made to spread the Gospel can never be underestimated. As a child I did not understand who Jesus Christ was. One person who wanted me to know him was my Grandma. One day in Walmart (back when they had bins full of VHS tapes instead of DVDs) when I was a little boy I found a tape of superheros clips that I could not wait to go home and see. My Grandma looked in the same bin and found a video about Jesus. When we got home she made me watch the film about Jesus before I could watch anything else. At the time I was angry; it was like being told that I had to eat my broccoli before I could have my birthday cake. The film on the tape was a segment from the Living Bible series, with Nelson Leigh as Christ. It included the stories of the Last Supper and the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot. For many years this was the only Bible story that I knew well. I found myself watching this tape at least once a year up until college years.

By the the time I entered college I was attending church, had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and was baptized, but I struggled with a pornography addiction that kept me chained with guilt and shame. For years I did not believe that even as a Christian there was hope for me. During this time I was also an old time radio fan and loved listening to programs like The Lone Ranger, Suspense and The Jack Benny Program. One random day I turned my radio's AM tuner, and could not believe that I was listening to a contemporary radio drama.... a Christian drama.. and one about an alcoholic who was completely sober through faith in Jesus Christ. This program was Unshackled, and I wanted to hear more, and I also knew that if God could free that man that he wanted the same for me.

As a young married man, I discovered more treasures on the air. I was elated to find out that there were also radio programs for children like Captain's Club, Adventures of Odyssey, and Patch The Pirate. Even as a 20-something, these programs ministered to my mind and heart. Many of these ministries had existed since before I was born, but in my entire childhood I had not known about them.

I am a researcher at heart so when something peaks my curiosity, and it touches my heart I have to know more. I began researching the history of Bible-based dramas on radio and television with the growing desire to inform parents, teachers, ministers and many others. I knew that if these programs could impact my walk so much then they could do the same for many others.

There is another reason I started this blog and I will share that next time.