The Gospel of John in Film, Television, and Multimedia
by Glenn Patrick Buxton
Cotton Patch Gospel

A four-piece bluegrass band and a one-man act incorporating the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew into a thoughtful and humorous contemporary play.
A wonderful video for all those intellectuals who are closet hillbillies.

The Cotton Patch Gospel is an award-winning musical drama that retells the Gospels of Matthew and John, translated into down-home Southern vernacular.  Jerusalem and Nazareth have been transported to Atlanta and Valdosta, Georgia, and Jesus in this story was born in Gainesville, as recounted in the opening song: "Somethin's Brewin' in Gainesville."  The story follows the life of Jesus beginning with reference to the nativity of Matthew's Gospel with Mary and Joseph Davidson, who are forced to pull over in Valdosta on their way to an IRS audit in Atlanta.  They soon have to flee from Herod, the current Governor of Georgia, to Mexico.  The video is a 1985 live performance of a play starring a single narrator (Tom Key) and a four-piece on-stage bluegrass band.  In this play, as in the Gospel of John, Jesus performs the sign of changing water into wine.  What is markedly different in this play is that Jesus goes into the kitchen and asks his Father to help, because, it would appear, that Jesus is, as yet, an amateur miricle worker who is just now finding his way.  The humanity (and therefore a strikingly low Christology) of Jesus is what stands out in this humorous and touching account of the life of Jesus Christ.  Well worth watching and an excellent work to elicit discussion in class in regard to a contextual understanding of the story of Christ Jesus.


Book: Tom Key and Russell Treyz
Music & Lyrics: Harry Chapin
Musical Director/Arranger: Tom Chapin
Directed by: Russell Treyz
Based on "The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John" by Clarence Jordon
Staring: Tom Key
with The Cotton Pickers
Scott Ainslie..........Michael Mark
Pete Corum.............Jim Lauderdale
Somethin's Brewing In Gainsville
I Did it/ Mama is Here
It isn't Easy
Sho Nuff
Trun It Around
When I Look Up
Busy Signals
Goin' To Atlanta
Are We Ready
You Are Still My Boy
We Gotta Get Orginised
We're Gonna live It While It Lasts
The Last Supper
Thank Got For Governor Pilate
One More Tomorrow
Well I Wonder
  • Associated Press: "A winner 'Cotton Patch Gospel' sweeps you along with it's musicianship, its spirit and the Harry Chapin songs."
  • Rolling Stone: "Some of the best songs Harry Chapin ever wrote."
  • The New York Times: "An exuberant country western hoedown."
  • Christianity Today: "Cotton Patch Gospel." Your feet will be tapping and your fingers will be snapping, you will be regaled."
  • American Baptist Magazine: "A joyous celebration. This rollicking musical succeeds mightily."

  • Introduction
    Media Links
    Film Reviews
    Movie List

    Return to the Johannine Literature Web Homepage

    Return to the Johannine Literature Homepage

    This Website was created and is maintained by Felix Just, S.J.
    This page was last updated on  09/27/01