Friday, February 23, 2007

Reel spirituality

I read this to start my Reel spirituality class at BCNZ last nite. It was a great night. I’d forgotten how much I loved teaching this class in 2005:

I have a secret. It is deeply personal, so please treat it with respect. This is my secret: God speaks to me in the dark. With my eyes wide open.

I am talking of course, about movie watching. My secret is that my spirituality has been profoundly shaped by movie moments, including the ending of The Matrix and the honesty of The Interpreter.

And I am not alone. While historically many Christians grew up thinking film was bad, the reality is quite the opposite. Movies today are an essential vehicle for the formation of spiritual and cultural identity.

In fact, if the apostle Paul were to wander our cities today, I have a hunch he would stop outside our movie cinemas. He would point at the latest movie blockbuster. Just like in Athens (Acts 17), he would applaud the box office for taking religion seriously.

Movies are a mirror on contemporary culture. If Paul took the time to read his culture’s poetry, then Christians today should take movie going seriously. And I am not only talking about The Passion of the Christ or The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.

The task of being a Christian has always been a conversation between faith and culture, between our stories and GodÂ’s story. The apostle Paul had developed the skills to engage the spirituality of his culture. Can we?

“Who are we?” is the question being asked by movies like Sione’s Wedding. “What is wrong?” is the question being asked by Crash or Out of the Blue. “Is there a remedy?” is the question being asked by Shawshank Redemption, The Interpreter or The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

(A piece that I wrote for CS Arts and Touchstone back in December06).

Posted by steve at 09:22 PM

1 Comment

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