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The Story Behind Jesus in Space...

I admit it...  I'm a space nerd. I grew up watching Lost in Space. Was disappointed when they cancelled Star Trek Enterprise. Ben our programmer and Colin our music guy are also space nuts. A statue of Gort the Robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still presides over our recording studio. So you might say Jesus in Space was "predestined" to happen.  ;-)

Over the years, I've had fun imagining with students how you might "tell this story to an alien from outer space who didn't know anything about the Bible." It's an entertaining trick that always gets the kids talking. In 2005, I began scribbling notes for a series of Jesus Story CDs focused on key Jesus stories. I asked some friends if they thought "Jesus in Space" would be considered blasphemous by non-space-nerds. "No, it's a great idea!" they said. And so, Jesus in Space was born.

Jesus in Space is fun and intentionally campy. Look and listen closely, --you'll see us paying homage to various space shows and space shtick, including: Star Trek, Lost in Space, the Jetsons, Star Wars, Close Encounters, even Spaceballs. This 'touch' also helps older students feel like the program is for them.

The program is a visual feast as well. Look in the backgrounds to see where Ben our animator/programmer has stuck all sorts of random space gadgetry.

Other subtle tributes:
The aliens on Ice Moon Alpha speak a strange version of Canadian, with a tweak of Scottish. --A tip of the hat to my Canadian relatives. The "world tribe" motif on the planet Whammo is my very subtle tribute to my denomination's mission history, and to one of my great great grandmothers who was a native American. The "Jesus in the Snow" activity goes way back to my youth group days and is one of my all-time favorite lessons. You don't see it in materials these days, so I'm hoping to preserve it in my own way by putting it in software.

Other things of notice:
It's no accident that the captain of the Tarsus is named Paul and is guided by Great Commission Control. We thought it worked right into the evangelistic nature of the first three stories. Baptism, Communion with Jesus, and "how do you see Jesus today" (Road to Emmaus).  And whether you baptize by sprinkling -or the whole pool, you'll feel comfortable with our presentation.

You may also note in JiS that we continue to stretch our age range down a bit, --making sure our software stretches a little easier to the younger children, as well as up to young teens. Having said this, even my own  teenagers have been giggling at JiS everytime I show it to them. John the Baptist with a crab-hair coat and sucker-fish belt will do that to you. The older kids will get a kick out of our space theme and sense of humor.

(OSU fans: Listen carefully to the drums on Whammo.)

A huge amount of credit for this epic goes to Ben our programmer and illustrator, and Colin our sound and music guy. Ben's humorous creativity is evident everywhere in the program. Colin's soundtrack and character voice modifications are terrific.

As always, your support and feedback is essential to our development process. Feel free to email me your thoughts and suggestions to neil@sundaysoftware.com  

<>< Neil      



 

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