August Burns Red: Vital Signs

This song is called Vital Signs and is written by the band August Burns Red.  This is one of my favorite songs from what I would usually call my favorite band.
 
 
This building is barely standing
on its own foundation

i’ve collapsed its lungs
calloused its heart
and sucked the life out of this

for all of sunday to see 
every little thing they believe
they believe
i’ve taken the breath
out of everything they hold true 
preaching to the deaf and blind
no one sees my effort
preaching to the deaf and blind
no one gets the point

no one sees my effort
no one gets the point

welcome to my dying home
welcome inside these crumbling walls
a meaningless handshake
greets them all with smiles of false hope
welcome to my dying home 
welcome inside these crumbling walls

do i even care as i watch a sea of people
dwindling into an audience of skin and bones
an audience who doesn’t have the strength
to walk out on a man who has tarnished their faith

every little thing they believe
they believe
i’ve taken the breath
out of everything they stand for

preaching to the deaf and blind
no one sees my effort
preaching to the deaf and blind
no one gets the point

 

This song has come to represent something very important to me.  When I was going through high school and college, I sometimes felt that I saw problems that I wanted to speak out against, but didn’t fell I could–especially when those problems were in the church.  However, listening to different music helped me find a voice to be able to speak my mind more clearly.  When I first heard this song, I saw it as a prophetic voice from within the church calling the church to a higher standard.  I still think we need those prophets today.  Now, to be clear, I’m not trying to imply that God has chosen a metal band to scream his message of anger to the church.  Rather, I think that God can speak through any means he wants, and at times, that will be through paths that we are not accustomed to.  I continue to find August Burns Red to be a great voice speaking out in the church, and I am grateful that they do not shy away from the convictions they have.

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Response to “The inner conflict of a wanna-be pacifist”

Nick Rohlf, a friend and fellow NWC graduate wrote this article in response to some of the conversation surrounding my last post.

It would be very easy to cite the book of Joshua as a reason for Christians to pursue acts of war and violence.  It would also be a cop-out.  It would be just as easy and just as much a cop-out to refer to “turn the other cheek” as a reason to pursue pacifism.  The reality behind the matter, however, is a good deal more complicated than a self-rightous one-liner.  

 

Here in America, we seem to have a notion that God helps those who help themselves.  This notion goes both into our economic theory and into our theories on pacifism.  For example, it is considered good sense to own a gun, just in case someone should break in at night.  Here’s the thing though: if you accept that God is in control of all things, owning a gun is not going to protect you.  If it is God’s will that I should die tonight, all the weapons in the world are not going to protect me, and in a good bit of irony, one of these weapons could in fact end up harming me quite greatly.  The fact of the matter is, God is in control.  When Christ says “turn the other cheek,” it isn’t entirely out of a desire to humiliate ourselves in front of our enemies.  It is also out of a desire for us to turn over our fate to God Himself.  We as Christians have no need to defend ourselves because God is ultimately in control of our fate.  Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword, and those who live by peace…may well also die by the sword.  But that’s for God to decide, not us.  

 

Consider some Biblical examples – as Christ was being apprehended by soldiers, Peter took up his sword to defend Him and was stopped.  Why?  Because it was God’s will that Christ be crucified, and there was nothing Peter or anyone else could have done to stop it.  Could Christ conceivably have demanded that it all cease at once?  Yes, and it may well have happened.  But Christ understood that such an action would go directly against God’s will and therefore was not a righteous path to take.  

 

The easy conclusion to draw from this would be that we should be pacifist and count on God to do our fighting for us.  This would also be an incorrect assumption, and it would be equatable to saying that the rich should count on God to feed the poor.  If I am poor, perhaps I can count on God to feed me, but it will often come through the aid of the faithful.  If I am rich, however, it is my obligation to feed the poor.  Similarly, if I am strong, it is my obligation to defend the weak.  

 

Consider World War II.  At its very core, WWII was about an insane power grab from a group of very dangerous forces who, if left unchecked, could very easily have conquered Europe.  Unknown to many outsiders, however, something far more sinister was occurring within the borders of the ever-expanding German borders: a swift and efficient genocide, the likes of which had never been seen before.  How could such a thing occur at such a scale?  Because the forces of good were either silent or impotent.  Again and again, Hitler tested his freedom in the 1930s, and again and again he was shown that he could do whatever he liked.  This in and of itself was not a dangerous thing, but when combined with the rampant anti-semitism of the time, it created a perfect storm of evil.  Was it a good and just war for us to fight against a nation that would commit such unspeakable acts of evil against its own citizens, whom its leadership swore to protect?  Yes, absolutely.  Though Christ was able to defend a woman from stoning without lifting a finger against her persecutors, often things are not so simple.  

 

There is, however, a great danger with fighting against so terrible an evil – we are made to believe that we are an unimpeachable force of good in the world.  Did the Holocaust give adequate reason for us to fight against Germany?  Yes.  Did the mass-rape and mass-murders going on in China give us adequate reason to fight against Japan?  Yes.  Did this, however, give us the right to firebomb Dresden, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in a most horrible manner?  I don’t believe so.  Did it allow us to use not one but two nuclear weapons, the most powerful and devastating weapons of the age, against masses of civilians?  In and of itself the answer to this questino is “no,” though extenuating circumstances may reveal that the nuclear attacks were perhaps the least bloody way to end the war in Japan.  

 

It is here that we come to the notion of American righteousness and military superiority.  As many know, our military spending is seven times greater than China, who comes in at second.  Our spending is in fact greater than the top ten countries below us, combined.  There are those among us, Christians among us, who believe that such spending is not only acceptable but necessary in order to protect us from foreign threats.  Unfortunately, this tremendous spending prevents us from giving adequate care to the weakest among us, as those same Christians who support this great spending are entirely against the relatively minor spending that goes toward protecting our poorest members of society from poverty and starvation.  Also unfortunately, our great military power will do us no good if God decides it is time for our place as a world power to end.  

 

Consider the story of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah was one of the “good” kings of Judah, a man who was for the most part righteous in God’s eyes, though he made a few mistakes.  One such mistake occurred in the face of certain doom.  As the vastly superior Assyrian army made its way toward Judah, conquering and sending into exile neighboring Israel, Hezekiah feared for the sake of his country.  He made his military ready, made his capital ready, and even went so far as to build extensive tunnels to an underground water source so the nation could survive an extended siege.  Could any of this possibly protect him from Assyria?  Absolutely not.  In the end, it wasn’t Hezekiah’s military or his tunnel that protected him.  As the Bible says, one night God simply executed the Assyrian army as it stood at the gates of Jerusalem.  As 2 Kings 19:35-36 says, “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.”  Though Hezekiah built an army against Sennecherib, ultimately the fate of Judah was in God’s hands and none others.  

 

We in our great strength build up an army vastly superior to those around us, and we selfishly believe that we can protect ourselves.  But consider our enemies.  Any enemy foolish enough to attack us would not be concerned for its own safety.  Our armies could not protect us from 9/11, and Israel’s armies could not prevent Hamas from attacking with rockets as they did recently.

 

Here is another interesting point – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Consider the recent attacks between Israel and Hamas.  Does God side with Hamas, who would put its own people in danger to harm its enemy?  Hardly.  Does God side with Israel, who would kill innocent civilians for the sake of completing a military objective?  Unlikely.  Where is God in all of it?  Where he always is – with the weak and defenseless.  We as Christians are often told that we should solidly side with Israel, no matter what they do.  Thus when I put up a story about a Palestinian father grieving for his child, I was greeted with a rather insulting remark about how Israel should be able to defend itself – as though a small child would pose a threat.  God Himself often did not side with Israel, pulling away His support as they pulled away their faith.  Israel was made to go through terrible punishments at the hands of Assyria and Babylon, all because they wandered away from God’s command.  Should we support Israel?  Only as much as we support any other country.  Should we defend them to the death if they come under attack by a force with the power and will to destroy them?  Yes.  Should we defend them to the death as they rain death upon innocents?  Hardly.  

 

In the end, there is no simple answer to the question, “Should Christians be pacifists?”  My answer to the question is: yes, unless we are required to fight for those who cannot.  But we must always remember that we are only acting as agents of God’s will for better or for worse, and nothing we ever do can stray us from the path He desires for us.  Thank you for reading.

 

The inner conflict of a wanna-be pacifist

For years now, I have struggled with how to approach the topics of war, peace, the U.S.A. armed forces, and violent dictators throughout the world.  As a Christian, I recognize Jesus’ call to “love my enemies, do good to those who hate me, bless those who curse me,  and pray for those who harm me” as intensely unpopular and idealistic.  However, do either of those disqualify it as a calling that applies to me today?

Jesus was radical, and authors like David Platt and Shane Claiborne have said that better than I can.  He wasn’t exactly worried about following the status quo.  When I tell people that I struggle with Jesus’ teachings on loving our enemies, I tend to hear these arguments explaining away what Jesus said:

1) Jesus said this in his own context and meant it to apply only to those hearing him then.
It no longer applies to us today.

2) It’s unrealistic and out of touch with reality.  It’s overly idealistic.

3) God endorsed war in the Old Testament to wipe out people who were against the agenda of God’s people, so He would still want that now.

4) Are you saying we should have just let Hitler carry out his goals and not intervened militarily?

I don’t have a clear and concise response to every one of these arguments, but I would offer the following starting points for further conversation.  As to the argument of Jesus’ context, I see no clear Biblical evidence that Jesus said this only for the benefit of present hearers.  Rather, I feel that it was meant to be a calling that would mark the church of his followers as unique and distinct from the world around them.

Yes, I realize that absolute pacifism is idealistic, and that can seem out of touch with reality.  However, I am still not convinced that means it’s not a worthy pursuit.  We let idealism guide a lot of things we fight for in this world (feeding the hungry, ending AIDS and Cancer, etc.)  I don’t see any reason to not pursue something solely because it is based in idealism.

Third, God did indeed use war in the Old Testament to further his people, Israel.  That being said, I am convinced that the overall narrative of Scripture moves us from a place where that was the most appropriate way to carry out God’s plan to a place where we are encouraged to use different methods.  This in my mind does not mean that God changed (since God is unchangeable), but that the distinct way we are to carry out God’s mission to the world is no longer the same.

The Hitler argument (or other evil people/acts of human history such as Darfur, Rowanda, etc.) is one that is very difficult for me.  Here is where I would make a few clear distinctions.  First, pacifism necessitates activism.  Unfortunately, many people assume that being a pacifist only means you don’t fight.  While that may be all it is at its core, I believe responsible pacifism is very involved and active.  So, while I don’t have a nice all-inclusive answer to how we should have/could have dealt with Hitler in a non-violent way, I have just as hard of a time believing that Jesus would turn back on his earlier sayings and encourage the bloody war that ensued.

Now, to contradict myself, I do believe there is potential validity in an argument that God uses different people in different times and places to bring about his justice in this world.  Let me immediately clarify the danger and “slippery slope” of this argument.  IF this is true, and God used the allied forces (particularly the USA’s military since that’s the context I write from) for this purpose during the 1940’s, then we must immediately make other clarifications:

a) The USA is not the equivalent of ancient Israel in terms of being God’s people in which God is particularly interested in supporting their values and upholding their national identity among the world.

b) This is proof that God supports the USA military and all our undertakings.

Now, with those stipulations in place, I want to give some consideration to the argument at hand.  I do in other areas of my life give credence to the belief that God can work through “non-Christian” mediums.  For example, the paintings of an atheist and songs of non-Christians can speak truth to me in the same way that nature or Christian teaching can.  God uses whatever means God so chooses to bring about his will.

The best answer I can give to the questions of what an appropriate Christian response was to Hitler’s sheer evil is a resounding “I don’t know”.  I believe that as Christians, we are to be agents of reconciliation.  That can/should come through displaying not only God’s love and grace, but also his justice (and wrath?).  But, even in the face of pure evil, I have qualms about whole-heartedly declaring war was the best/only option.
Again, due to the sensitive nature of this article, I want to clarify a few things.

1) I invite your opinions via the comments (or personal discussion for those who see me often).

2) I intend to write and publish this post in humility.  While I have my opinions of this theological discussion, I also want to respect those who have laid down their lives (or put themselves in the way of danger) for me to have the freedom to write this blog to begin with.

3) I hope to make this discussion a mini-series inviting guest authors–both committed pacifists or past/present service people.

Homosexuality and the Church: A Third Point of View

I recently read a great post on another blog regarding how the church could better approach the conversation of homosexuality.  I know this is a very hot-button issue, and some are burned out from talking about it.  However, I encourage you to carefully read this post and consider what the author says.  Share your point of view in the comments!

Re-posted with Editor’s permission

Author: Greg Boyd

Original link: http://reknew.org/2012/10/homosexuality-and-the-church-finding-a-third-way/

Here is a word I a shared this last weekend with Woodland Hills Church (where I’m senior pastor) in response to numerous questions I’ve received over the last several months. People have asked me why the leadership of WHC refuses to jump on the bandwagon of evangelical churches in the Twin Cities who rally their congregations to get out and vote “yes” for the marriage amendment currently on our ballot in Minnesota. Others have asked for clarification on WHC ‘s view of homosexuality, especially in light of the fact that we host a vibrant LGBT support group (called “Sacred Space”) that accepts people where they’re at, regardless of how they personally integrate their faith with their sexual orientation.

Many progressive, evangelical Christians like myself face something of a conundrum regarding these sorts of questions. On the one hand, we believe the Bible is God’s Word and we can’t with integrity deny that it teaches that sex outside the parameters of a monogamous, life-long, marriage covenant is sin, whether it is sex with a person of a different gender or sex with a person of the same gender. We find the arguments of those who try to argue that Rom.1:24-28-, I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1:10 don’t apply to monogamous gay relationships simply aren’t very persuasive. On the other hand, we sense that something is “off” with the stance of the church throughout history, and the stance of most evangelical churches today, toward gay people.

For example, many of us wonder why it is that the church (rightly) embraces without question people who have been divorced and remarried – several times, in some cases –but adamantly excludes committed gay couples – couples who sometimes have a love for one another that puts the love of many straight couples to shame. What makes this question especially important is that the New Testament’s teaching that divorce and remarriage involves sin is much more emphatic and clear than its teaching that gay unions involve sin (see e.g. Mt. 5:32; 19:9). In fact, while Jesus taught on the sin of divorce and remarriage several times, he never even mentioned homosexuality.

My point is not that the church should exclude divorced and remarried people. While divorce and remarriage “misses the mark” of God’s ideal, which is the Bible’s definition of sin (harmartia), I believe that, by God’s grace, this is sometimes the best option for people. My point is rather that there seems to be an inconsistency on the part of the church on this matter, and many of us wonder why.

But this is hardly the only inconsistency of the church that some of us sense on this issue. Many of us also wonder why it is that the American church has always tended to minimize the sins that American Christians are typically guilty of while construing homosexuality out to be a “deal-breaker” sin. In fact, as I stated in my message this last weekend, the sins that typically characterize American Christians and that the American church tends to minimize happen to be sins that are denounced much more emphatically and much more frequently than homosexuality. For instance, there are thousands of verses in the Bible denouncing idolatry (which would include greed, gluttony and anything else that you go to for worth and security other than God). By contrast, there are three verses in the Old Testament and three verses in the New that mention same-gender sexual activity. Yet, people guilty of the former sins are embraced without question in our churches, while people guilty of the latter sins tend to be excluded. What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the most fascinating aspects of Jesus’ ministry is that when people tried to force him to weigh in on either-or issues, he always managed to point out a third alternative —  the kingdom alternative. The “gay-issue” that many of us are wrestling with these days is usually presented as an either-or issue. Christians must either accept that homosexual activity is a sin that bars people from the kingdom and the church, which is where most evangelical churches stand today. Or they must accept that there’s absolutely nothing sinful about homosexual activity, at least in a covenantal context, and that it is therefore perfectly okay with God, which his where many liberal churches today have gone.

In this message, I try to follow the kingdom strategy of Jesus and point out a third alternative. If we collapse our Pharisaical sin-scales that rate some sins worse than others, if we obey Jesus’ teaching to consider our own sins as much worse than others (Mt. 7:1-3), and if we commit to “living in love, as Christ has loved us and gave his life for us” (Eph. 5:1-2), I believe a third way presents itself to us.

This message leaves unanswered a multitude of questions that could be raised regarding LGBT people and the church. The goal of this message is to simply point us in the direction of a third way of addressing these issues – a way that transcends the “either-or” dichotomy we’ve usually been presented with. It’s a way in which we confess that we are all sinners, saved by grace, and in the process of being transformed by the love of God. It’s a way in which we wrestle with all of our issues in love and from the inside of the faith rather than in judgment and as a precondition for being accepted into the faith.

Be blessed!

——————

This article was posted on Oct. 25, 2012 at http://www.reknew.org

This is the third and final post in my mini-series of guest posts focusing on Christians and Film.  Once again, please engage the authors in the comments. My thanks to Andrew Lovgren and Jordan Warntjes for their contributions.  (Spoiler Alert for the movie Flight.)

-Andrew Lovgren

A phone rings, waking a topless woman who appears in the foreground. As the ringing continues, she rises from the bed, revealing full nudity as she stumbles into the bathroom. Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) answers the phone, finishes what’s left of his beer and then taking a bump of the cocaine on his side table.

Though not the intense thriller advertised, Flight earns it’s R-rating with a graphic portrayal of Captain Whitaker’s downward spiral.

After an unexpected opening sequence, Whitaker takes off in a doomed plane, resulting in a short, stressful flight that ends in an acrobatic crash landing.

Soon after, his alcoholism is discovered, yielding a lengthy investigation, revealing a life of sex, lies and heavy drinking.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, responsible for the Back to the Future trilogy, Cast Away and Forrest Gump, Flight is a return to a more serious tone, relying on the human element to create the suspense in a way he hasn’t done since Castaway.

Washington’s performance is what really sells the story. His portrayal of the tragic pilot is one of his best in years and will again earn him Oscar discussion, at the very least. A great complementary cast also surrounds him, including John Goodman in his second scene-stealing role of the year, adding a bit of humor to an otherwise deathly serious film.

Many will find the storyline lacking, desiring a more intense, adrenaline-laced plot, like the one the trailer would suggest. Flight offers something more as a movie that demonstrates the need for Christians to dare to see ‘vulgar’ R-rated films.

It’s messy, telling the tale of an alcoholic’s fall to rock bottom. A life of drugs, alcohol, no family, few friends and plenty of causal hookups leaves Whitaker empty and a danger to himself and others. The lifestyle portrayed isn’t one to be imitated, but there is a lesson in the movie that would be missing without the extreme level of depravity.

Aspects of the film embrace the trite idea that all things happen for a reason in a fresh way. The drunk driving, drug addiction and constant profanity help create a dark environment that drives home the point, yielding a far more effective life lesson than any low-budget, feel good movie ever could.

One scene includes a terminal cancer patient who, as he lights up in a hospital stairwell, laughs about his plight. Though the break from the main storyline feels disjointed and without purpose, by the end the themes tie together, giving the audience plenty to talk about on the way out of the theater.

If any movie this year has earned its R-rating, it’s Flight. The dark and difficult situations yield a relatable lesson that not everyone can or should go see, but, for those who can, the tragically redeeming life of Whip Whitaker is well-worth watching.

Why Christians Should Engage Secular Film

I decided to give some attention to Christians and film on the blog lately.  Last week, Andrew Lovgren articulated why he thinks Christian movies are “awful”.  This week, Jordan Warntjes argues that Christians can and should engage in secular film.  Please engage both authors in the comments and they will respond to you.

Post written by guest contributor: Jordan Warntjes

Growing up I found that there was a tension between Christian life and movie going. I developed a passion for film at a young age largely influenced by my grandma.  She had one room in her home filled wall to wall with VHS tapes. That’s right, VHS tapes. Those black bricks we used to put into VCRs. That wonderful grainy picture and distorted sound filled my eyes and ears with wonder. I experienced more than just sheer entertainment while watching movies. I experienced a message, a story that needed to be told, a lesson to be taught. There is nothing quite like film. It engages sight, sound, and emotion. In the movies anything is possible. More importantly I continued to experience God and his truth spilling forth in film.
    If you would ask my father and brother if film is an art form, they would argue passionately that it is not. My family and many people in America view film as purely entertainment and nothing else. I do not blame people for thinking this, because in our culture today, that is mostly true. True art, especially in film, is becoming less and less prevalent. Our generation experiences art as a constant stream of marketing. We are constantly being advertised to, even when we do not know it. Art and creativity is now used to push forth products and to sell. It no longer represents humanity, our struggles, our hopes, or our imagination. It is simply a tool to make money. We may get big blockbusters every summer and petty grabs for cash with un-called for sequels (I am looking at you Taken 2). But then we get films such as The Social Network and The Artist (2011’s Best Picture Winner) that are true works of art. And you even get some big blockbusters that are true art crafted by an artist who cares about what he\she puts on screen (The Dark Knight, The Avengers).
    So why is Film important? More specifically, why is it important for Christians to engage film; even the secular? To put forth my point, I feel that we must go back all the way to Genesis. The creation story. This is a lovely, poetic story explaining how God created the universe, creating each piece of life from the previous piece; water to land, land to plants, plants to animals, and once again land to man. God uses life to bring forth life. God creates man and gives us the responsibility to take care and sustain this life on earth. And after the creation of man and woman God gives the call to be “fruitful and multiply.” God is a lover of life. And when man was created it says that God created man in His image, so we have certain attributes that show who God is. One of them being our creativity. One can not even fathom what kind of creativity God has in order to create the world that we live in out of scratch, all the animals, the plants, the atoms, and all the good small science stuff (protons, cells, etc.). And we have that ability. We may not be able to create life out of scratch, but God has given us systems to use to create life. In the movies, we are able to create whole new worlds, new systems, new rules. We are reflecting God, but yet we are not God, and we are not animals, we are something special: humans. Through film we are mirroring what God did in the creation story.  We are using the imagination and the creativity that he gave us to bring forth new life. Making film is actively participating in the life that God had given us.
    Secular film is the dominate form of entertainment in our culture today. You hardly ever hear somebody ask “So what are some good books you read lately?” at a party or a get together with friends. It is embedded in our culture.  Some of our everyday quotes and language come from film.  To understand movies is to understand our culture. In film we can also get a collage of images of ourselves, our values, and our social world as a culture. We learn about ourselves in the process. Film is one of the major art forms in our culture today. Which brings me back to my point about true art. Eventually in true art, I believe, the divine may shine through. Movies can lead people towards a higher purpose, to see someone on screen go through what they are going through, or people overcoming insurmountable odds to save the day, or to simply understand that there are other people struggling in the world. Movies make us realize there is something beyond ourselves. God is still working in the world today, we often forget this. Through film God is working, through literature God is working, through music God is working. God is enjoying the things that we are able to create and wants to be a part of it also as we continue to live out the creativeness that God has given us.
    So is it good for Christians to engage secular film? Yes, do it. Be Discerning, but be bold. Much of what we see on screen we can also find in the Bible. It is our story unfolding on the screen, our desires, our pains, and our hopes. And maybe most of our films give us the hope of someone who can save us. Jesus, anyone? As Christians we know who our hope is in and by engaging secular film through a theological lens, we can lead people to the fulfilling hope of Jesus Christ.

Taken from: http://cardboardmagazine.wordpress.com

Used with permission.

By: Andrew Lovgren

All Christian movies are terrible.

Plenty of quality movies are made using the Bible as the inspiration (The Ten CommandmentsBen-HurThe Prince of Egypt), but movies that are made specifically to display Christian life end up being almost unwatchable.

Many are reading this, already filled with disgust at the thought of someone not liking Facing the Giants or Fireproof. Plenty of people liked those movies. Congregations gathered across the country to have viewing parties at each new release.

It’s not about not disliking them. Christian movies just tend to have incredibly low quality acting, writing and direction, and people seem okay with such low standards.

Take, for example, Courageous, a 2012 release that focuses on four cops that have to balance their jobs with being parents. As they struggle to be the best dads they can be, the group discovers they need to find ways to grow closer to God and their kids.

Between the fake sobbing and almost soap opera-levels of the dramatic, the characters become ridiculous and impossible to relate to.

Nobody can argue with the main themes of the movies. Becoming a better father is something that everyone can get behind.

Begging the question: why?

There’s no reason for these movies to bash its audiences over the head with their themes. Plenty of mainstream movies have the same themes, though told with tact and subtlety (and of course better acting).

The only apparent goal of these market-specific films is to uplift those who are already on board with the movie’s message. We as a church can do better.

Christian movies shouldn’t be movies for Christians. Christians in the film industry should aim to make movies that reach the masses, sharing themes and messages that are equally relatable, though far more effective.

The best-picture nominated 2010 film The Blind Side, though not a directly Christian film, echoes many principles of the faith. Such a widely successful movie reached millions, many of whom wouldn’t normally watch a faith-based film.

There’s a line between engaging pop culture and complete separation that the church needs to move closer to before these movies can be taken seriously.

Even the VeggieTales movies, made for kids and enjoyed by all, have better written scripts and stronger story lines than most of the films being discussed in small groups across the country.

People aren’t going to watch Sunday School Musical and change the direction of their life. In fact, very few movies have that kind of impact.

Still, instead of alienating Christians from the rest of the world with shoddy camera work and storylines that are disjointed from reality, it’s time for congregations to connect with the culture.

For many, it’s more comfortable to watch their beliefs on screen, reinforcing preconceived notions of how life should be lived. Movies can and should be much more than that.

We can’t change the industry, but we can change how we approach it.

 

Direct Link: http://cardboardmagazine.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/christian-films-are-awful/