God’s Close-Up

“This American Life” has become one of my favorite podcasts to check out (along with RadioLab).  It’s worth sitting in your car just to listen to their weekly shows.  Having Netflix gives me access to the two-year series on cable.

Ira Glass tells fascinating stories about humanity.  In this episode, Reporter Nancy Updike tells the story of Ben McPherson, an artist and devout Mormon who’s creating a series of paintings depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Ben first stages these scenes in an elaborate tableau using props and actors in period costumes. He then lights and photographs them, later using the photos as references for his enormous, lifelike paintings. One of Ben’s problems is that to make the paintings historically accurate, the men must have beards. But Mormonism frowns on facial hair, so Ben searches Utah’s homeless shelters and anarchist cafes for bearded men to use as models.  Very few of these models ever thought about being mistaken for one of Jesus’ disciples but I can’t help but think that a seed is planted in their minds.

The entire season should be downloaded or watched on Netflix.

God’s Close-Up | This American Life.

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