Friday, September 7, 2007


Vice Chancellor Stephen Noll, in conjunction with the African Areopagus Society of Uganda Christian University, is hosting a weekly video showing to members of the Mars Hall Video Club. “Mars Hill” is the English translation of “Areopagus” the hill in Athens where St. Paul engaged the Greek philosophers in debate over the meaning of life and the identity of “the unknown God.” This club will seek to help Christians understand and interact with the unknown God of the video media.

This will be a members-only club for the first 25 staff and 25 students who sign up.

Why Watch Video?
The philosopher Aristotle said that the purpose of the arts is “to teach and delight.” This is true of music, literature, painting and sculpture, drama – and now in our age video arts. It seems to be the particular gift of our age to combine technology with artistic imagination. Hence it is arguably true that he greatest works of art in the 20th century, down to the present, come from the “movies.”

In order to appreciate an art form more fully, it is necessary both to enjoy it and to understand it. The great danger of video art is that it can be absorbed passively, with little understanding and only fleeting pleasure. The aim of the Mars Hill Video Club will be to help enhance understanding and enjoyment of the best videos.

Should Christians Watch Secular Videos?
Since most videos are not overtly Christian in content, it good to ask the question: Why watch them? Indeed, there are good reasons for Christians not to watch much that comes out in the cinema or video shops. Videos can be indecent and violent. Videos can be tempting and addictive like pornography on the internet.

So not all people should watch them, or join this club. In fact, you should be warned that some of the content in these videos is not pleasant or beautiful. This is because the best art represents both good and evil and sometimes the mixture of the two in human nature. The purpose of the club is to help some of you sort through the message and meaning of life as presented in this art – from a Christian point of view. But this will not involve preaching so much as appreciation – trying to understand the artist’s purpose.

Ground Rules
Those who sign up for the Mars Hill Video Club must agree to the following Ground Rules:

1. Attend all showings -3 absences per semester will be allowed, and a person may choose to withdraw with notice.
2. Be prepared to stay afterward for 30 minutes after the showing to discuss the film.
Answer a question sheet about the film during the week that follows.

Venue and Time
We shall normally meet each Tuesday night in Principals’ Hall at 8pm prompt. The programme, including discussion, will last for 2-3 hours.

Schedule for September Semester 2007
Tuesdays 8pm – Principals’ Hall

Sept 11 Casablanca
Sept 18 Life is Beautiful
Sept 25 Monsoon Wedding
Oct 2 Cinderella Man
Oct 9 Chariots of Fire
Oct 16 Cry the Beloved Country
Oct 23 Sense and Sensibility
Oct 30 U-Carmen
Nov 6 October Sky
Nov 13 Crimes and Misdemeanors
Nov 20 High Noon
Nov 27 Henry V
Dec 4 Singin’ in the Rain
Dec. 11 It’s a Wonderful Life

Have a comment? Please send it via email.

Follow-ups from Stephen

There are no follow-ups to this post at this time.