Connecting with Secular Muslims through History and Film: Evaluating “Augustine: Son of Her Tears.”
I'm looking forward to giving this paper at the Evangelical Missiological Society regional meetings in Raleigh, NC and Toronto over the next couple of weeks. My abstract follows:
North Africa possesses a rich Christian history, including the stories of martyrs such as Perpetua and Felicitas (d. 202) and theologians like Tertullian (ca. 160-ca. 220), Cyprian (195-258), and Augustine (354-430). While many North Africans today may know these names, they do not know their faith stories. Is it possible to share the Christian message with a people through their own history? What if a high-quality feature film was developed that captured that story? This is the vision of a group of Middle Eastern and North African Christians who created “Augustine: Son of Her Tears,” which has recently been released and is currently premiering at film festivals and special showings around the Arab world (see trailer).
In this paper, I discuss how the film is connecting with audiences, particularly North African secular Muslims. Following a brief background on the making of the film, a brief synopsis of it, and the initial distribution of the film, I discuss why Augustine’s story is meaningful to secular North Africans and what missiological lessons might be learned.