On Friday, Hollywood producer Mark Burnett ("Survivor", "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader", "The Voice", "Shark Tank", and "The Apprentice"), and wife, Hollywood actress, Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel") sat down with Focus On The Family to discuss their highly-anticipated mini-series on the History Channel: The Bible, which is set to begin airing this Sunday.
Burnett and Downey have been making the rounds of late, discussing their project, and sharing their Christian faith with others. ABC News: Hollywood Couple Create the 'Bible' Mini-Series to 'Set the Record Straight'
They are very open about their faith and about their deepest desires for this project. One of the messages that they hope people will receive, which is something Downey expressed was very similar to her famous television show, "Touched by an Angel", is to reveal the "central message of God's love" and that God has a purpose for people's lives.
They believe this is a message that millions more need to hear.
They talked about their personal faith and the blessings they feel they have received here in America, as Burnett explained:
"We've been so blessed as a family and things are very abundant for us in America. We came from Europe and this is a country that gives people chances. This is a country that....Americans don't care which school you went to, who your parents are. They care about who you are, what your heart is....and Americans give you a chance to take risks. America is a risk-taking country."
For many, it is becoming increasingly evident that America has been turning away from the founding fathers' insistence upon divine providence rooted in Judeo-Christian values. Great controversy erupted, for example, when Christian pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, simply preached on what the bible clearly says, regarding the institution of marriage, among other things.
In fact, Tim Tebow was put on the hot-seat for simply wanting to speak at First Baptist Dallas Church, the church lead by Dr. Robert Jeffress. Tebow, apparently, was so shaken by the media backlash that he decided to cancel his scheduled engagement.
Mark Burnett, however, expressed that there is still hope. All is not lost in America, and Hollywood in particular.
"We are people of faith. We are Christians," he says. "And even though many people out there listening assume that nobody in Hollywood is a Christian that would be a very wrong assumption. Maybe the Christians in Hollywood are not as noisy as we probably should be, but there are lots of Christians in Hollywood."
Burnett and Downy felt compelled and comfortable enough to use their Hollywood muscle to get this project on a roll and, as they said, it was just the right time for it.
"You know...."Touched by an Angel", a hugely watched series, "Survivor", "The Apprentice", "Shark Tank", "The Voice". It was the right time where we could use the currency of that success to want to make something very important and that was to do a dramatic series of the grand narrative of our story, Genesis to Revelation."
Obviously, the world is already familiar with the bible. It's the number one selling book in the world. The question, however - as Burnett points out - how many people actually understand it?
"Some people know bible verses and can almost go on a game show and quote bible verses but do they know the narrative, intent, and story behind those verses? We chose to do less stories but make those stories emotionally connective. Our bible series can be looked at as a ten-hour commercial of why you should open your bible."
Accomplishing such a task, however, was not easy. Burnett and Downey worked very hard to ensure that their bible-based project was of top-notch quality, seeking to avoid the trap that other lower-budget, faith-based films often fall into.
As Downey explained:
"To that end we hired the very best art directors, costumiers, and cinematographers, and art directors, and we have a score written by the most wonderful composer, Hans Zimmer and every step of the way is just quality on the screen. It has an authenticity. it has a grittiness and a realism and then at the center it just has this beautiful truth. It's this great sweeping love story."
Burnett followed up on that:
"This series looks like a $200 million film. We have decided and declared that this bible series will be top class Hollywood content which is a big step forward for Christians and Christian content to attract more people to the bible, back to the bible, and to affirm the bible."
Now that the bulk of the work has been done, after years of enormous investments, a sense of relief is coupled with contentment, that as a married Hollywood couple, Burnett and Downey have been able to put their Christian love and faith on the line.
"Here we are now on the last lap. You know, on the home stretch as the series will air on television on 3-3-13 and it's been just such an epic journey to be able to do it together born of our love and of our faith, has been really an amazing experience as a married couple," said Downey.
She went on to say:
"We're hoping that through the series people will pick up their bibles. There's a potential here for people maybe that haven't been expose to the bible."
Many out there may wonder or question the motive behind the mini-series. Is this Hollywood couple simply playing the "religious game"?
Perhaps, Jesus' most important question to his followers and detractors while he was roaming the earth was "Who do you say that I am?"
Many believed/believe that Jesus was the long-awaited Jewish messiah. Many did not believe Jesus and many still do not believe.
Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, made their answer to such a question quite clear:
"We completely believe that Jesus is the Son of God.... Jesus is God. And, we completely believe that and that's the story of the bible. Just to restate. This series, we have put ourselves out there, on the line making this series, Genesis through Revelation. We think it's beautiful."
As a result of all of the hard work, the time and money invested, as well as what they expressed was God's guidance, they believe that the series will be a great success
"I'll make a big statement here," says Burnett. "More people over the next 25 years will watch this series than "Touched by an Angel", "The Voice", "Shark Tank", "Survivor", "The Apprentice", combined. I believe this. I believe this."
Finally, Burnett and Downey express that while they can only do so much, they are nevertheless blessed with an enormous opportunity to share the story of God's love for humanity and to encourage others to seek God and read the bible.
"We cannot teach the bible. We're not pastors. We're not theologians. What we can do is tell the beautiful grand narrative love story from Genesis to Revelation and encourage people to go into churches to have their knots untied and seek more information about the bible."
If you've been struggling with challenges in your life and you happen to just run into this article on the internet...well....maybe it's God trying to grab your attention.
As Roma Downey said in the interview:
"They say that coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
Thank you for reading! Feel free to share this with others! God bless! = )
Albert's Einstein Insight of the Day:
Butterflies can fly. Giraffes cannot. Good luck finding the "missing link".