Bible counselor extraordinaire David Powlison used literature to teach his course, The Elements of Biblical Change.
His students were asked to chose from novels (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Albert Camus, The Plague), drama (Eugene O’Neill, The Iceman Cometh; Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman), and short stories (Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver).
Students were also required to read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country. I recently posted a short clip of Powlison from a dinner with him in 2009, explaining why he loves Cry, the Beloved Country.
Near the end, Powlison mentions assigning films in the class, too, and that led a number of you to email me for his list. So I asked David and he sent it:
- “The Great Santini” (1979). With this film, students were asked to do a personal application study on anger (grumbling, resentment, conflict, judgmentalism, etc.)
- “Wit” (2001). With this film, students were asked to do a personal application study on anxiety (preoccupation, obsession, fear, control, etc.)
- “Ordinary People” (1980)
- “Il Postino (The Postman)” (1994). With this film, students were asked to do a personal application study on escapism (addictions, avoidance, love of pleasure, etc.)
Here’s a clip from Wit:
There you have it.