Review by Teri O.
Jesus said to go into all the world and share the gospel, and Christian media is a great way to do that. As an example, Oh Aching Soul is a 7-minute gospel video produced and directed by Dan Nuchols, a homeschool graduate. Homeschoolers also served as actors and crew members, while homeschool director Chad Burns was a consultant.
When I first saw the trailer, it caught my eye since I recognized the red sandstone of the Colorado Plateau, aka “Red Rock Country.” The fun off-roading adventure shown in the trailer wasn’t part of the actual film. But nevertheless, Oh Aching Soul is a great movie with attractive set design, fine acting, skillful cinematography, and creative editing.
The theme of Oh Aching Soul is directly aimed at teens and young adults. The brief but engaging plot of this short film focuses on a group of five friends who take an impromptu road trip to the Grand Canyon. They didn’t have to drive very far, coming from Utah. But who doesn’t love going on a road trip with their friends!
In the shots taken at the edge of the Grand Canyon, the guy standing on his soapbox — literally, a box of Eden Valley Goat Milk Soaps! — is Kevin Swanson, author of Freedom and Director of Generations. Having been homeschooled himself in the 1960’s and 70’s, he and his wife, Brenda, are now homeschooling their five children. His character acts kind of like a John the Baptist figure, preaching in the wilderness.
The gospel-centric spoken word poem is brought to life with vivid imagery, mesmerizing music, and rhythmic verse. (Please listen carefully to Swanson’s narration; I’ve included the text below.)
OH ACHING SOUL
You looked for it in a bottle, you looked for it in pills,
You looked for it in amusement parks and on roller coaster thrills
You played the lotto, and watched CNN
You caught every game played on ESPN
You go to the stadiums, you go to the arenas
You go to the zoo where there are tigers and hyenas
You hiked glorious mountains, you sought scenic towns
You scuba-dived in the ocean, yet you are still down—down
You stuffed your mouth with food of the finest of fare
Cheese, wine, and beer—peaches, pizza and pears
You looked for it in your appearance and fashion styles
And sought to find it on road trips for miles & miles.
Maybe your spouse would give it or your family and friends
But to be honest your heart is far from being on the mend
Your soul is still aching and is not elated
Because you are only looking to the created.
Your soul was made for so much more
Made to delight in God the Creator.
How can you do this? Come to Christ Jesus, God’s only Begotten,
Who died for sinner’s sins though they be quite rotten.
Your soul will find the joy it’s always sought,
In the Only God, who you—He bought.
Only when your heart is filled with knowledge of the glory of God
Can you enjoy all good things for His honor, glory, and laud.
The creation is but echoes of the sound, and not the voice
God is the Light in whom you were made to REJOICE!
Poem written by Dan Nuckols, June 2016 (Source: Kickstarter)
It’s a rather simple poem, but it gets the point across. In other words… Are you feeling lost and empty, unhappy with your life but don’t know why? Maybe you’re ignoring the One who can fill the aching void in your soul. Are you reveling in God’s creation and enjoying His gifts, but without appreciating the Creator? That’s idolatry, and you need to seek out a personal relationship with Him.
Oh Aching Soul is a great message for the millennial generation. E-mail the YouTube link to your friends and post it on social media as a video gospel tract! Here is the full movie:
By the way, if you’re wondering why everyone is bundled up at the Grand Canyon, it’s because they made this movie in the winter! As an Arizona resident, I can attest to the fact that it gets pretty cold up there in the high desert. I got a kick out of the end-credit scene where Josh Nuckols says, “It’s kind of dry out here” (which is exactly what MY Josh always says!) and Christina Hastings cheerfully responds, “I like Arizona, it’s really nice, it’s beautiful.” 🙂 Below is a video with plenty of that beautiful scenery filmed in January 2018, as well as lots of behind-the-scenes footage, all set to a great song.
We should get more homeschoolers to make little movies like Oh Aching Soul. There are countless Christian themes that could be addressed in this way! If you’ve made your own film, please share a link to it in the comment section below – we’d love to see it!