There’s a number of ways you could have heard about For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles (FLOW). Maybe you attended a premiere or saw the trailer or got an email. Maybe you read about us in a magazine or heard a message over the airwaves. My favorite would be if you were searching for the Christian metalcore band LETTER to the Exiles and accidentally ended up here, reading these words, and wondering, “What. Is. This?”
Wonder. No. More.
WHAT IS FLOW ABOUT?
For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles is a seven-part educational film series. It’s about the deeper meaning of Salvation in our lives. I mean, “What is my Salvation actually FOR?” Is it merely for something to come later, like my home in heaven? Is it only about personal atonement? Is it just so I can have a “friend in Jesus?” What is it FOR?!
Have you ever really thought about that? Can I ask another question?!
Together with theologian, scholar and my mentor, Stephen Grabill–and a slew of other brilliant people (Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins, and Anthony Bradley)–I set out to discover the bigger picture of the broader Christian faith. I wrestle (and sometimes quite literally) with what it means to be “in” the world and not “of” it in every area of life. What is the purpose of Salvation in family, in work, in community, in education, and in play? What is the role of the larger church in the world?
In seven 20-minute’ish episodes, we explore just about every aspect of life. How we packed it all in there, I have no idea. Some say we pulled a rabbit out of a hat. I couldn’t agree more. One thing is for sure, though, we spared nothing to make FLOW an experience. Our goal was to reveal the enchanting love song of our Creator-God, to leave every audience awestruck by God’s grace and inspired by his call on our lives. So far, so good.
WHO IS FLOW FOR?
I’m just gonna say it: I think FLOW might be for everyone…but, I’m bit biased. I DO think, however, that FLOW is really for anyone familiar with the Christian faith. Whether you’re Baptist or Catholic, Orthodox or Presbyterian, madly in love with your church or just about to walk out its doors, you will find wonder and hope in our exploration: FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.
The Dove Foundation equates us to a PG-rated film and says we’re approved for anyone over 12yrs of age. Well, actually, reviewer Edwin L. Carpenter says, “parents should consult the content listing to make their own determination of their children s growth level. ‘For the Life of the World’ is one amazing series of episodes!” Yeah, we’ll take that.
On a special note, I heard pastor Darren Whitehead on a panel at Q not along ago. When noting the state of today’s churchgoers, he found that many are “over-churched and underwhelmed.” If you’re one of those people, please watch this film. PLEASE! It’s for you, too.
Several colleges and seminaries are already working FLOW into their curricula. People are throwing dinner parties and screening episodes between courses. Business leaders are hosting luncheons to watch the episodes. Small groups are making FLOW their next series to study.
Eventually, FLOW will be available for even larger congregational events. As I write, we’re putting together church kits with a bunch more goodies in it (posters, digital flyers, t-shirts, yada yada yada…), including a “Super Cut”–all seven FLOW episodes cut together in one full-length feature film. If you’ve been to a FLOW premiere, that’s what you saw.
HOW TO WATCH FLOW?
Ideally, we created FLOW for individual, classroom, and small group explorations. It really all depends on the size of your screen and the strength of your sound system. While you definitely don’t have to, I recommend watching the episodes in order, 1 through 7. You can watch them individually or mix them up…but there is a chronology to the series that could be confusing if you mix and match. At the very least, watch EPISODE 1: EXILE first. This episode sets the stage for every episode to follow.
Oh, and one other important note –if you could do Stephen and I one favor: wherever you watch FLOW, watch it on the best screen with the best sound system you have. If you don’t, Stephen and I will know. We’ll feel a “disturbance in the ‘Force.’” At that point, Stephen forgets his name for 30 minutes and I pass out. Thanks in advance.
WHERE TO GET FLOW?
Choose your FLOW experience: DVD/Blu-Ray and streaming online.
You can purchase the DVD/Blu-Ray Combo from our store or from our friends at Flannel.org. Right now, it’s on sale. Check it out. I recommend this option if you’re screening for larger groups of people, if you have poor internet access, or if the internet generally scares you. Note: If you’re planning on even larger events and you want the Super Cut of all the films–wait for the Church Kit.
You can purchase unlimited streaming access to all seven episodes (for a super, super low price right now) on StudySpace.org. This is a good idea for individual study and small group study because you can access the series from any internet connection, on all Apple products. Android users, we’ve got you covered by the first week of June. StudySpace is great for groups if you have a good internet connection and a way throw your computer screen onto a TV (Apple TV, Google TV, and HDMI cable).
I’m also a big fan of StudySpace because you can get the digital FIELD GUIDE there, as well. The Field Guide (coming soon in hard copy; hopefully June 16) includes everything you need to dig deeper into FLOW content. It asks some good questions, is great for study groups, and provides even more insights to enhance the film experience. I’d say if you’re friends with the internet, register for a StudySpace account. It’s free and it’s safe.
If “owning” isn’t your thing, or if your schedule is flighty, you can rent episodes at Flannel.org, too. Each episode is $1.99 and streams right from the site. Again, this is more for the techies out there. Translation: generally speaking, if you call your techie friend or family member once a week with questions about your computer….first, please stop….it’s driving them crazy….Second, this FLOW-option is probably not for you. I highly recommend the DVD/Blu-ray Combo instead.
Soon, FLOW will be available on Roku and several other streaming platforms. We’ll let you know when that happens. For now, though, I think discs, streaming, and digital access should suit everyone’s needs just fine.
HOW MANY QUESTION MARKS ARE IN THIS POST?
Finally, no matter how you got here, reading these words on this screen, thank you for finding http://www.letterstotheexiles.com/ We are hopeful for what is to come. We look forward to hearing from you more.
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