Thursday, February 24, 2005
where is the gospel in film?
Last nite I kicked off teaching in gospel and film. It struck me in preparation that 50 years ago, Christians werent even allowed to attend films, let alone have them taught on at a theological College.
Why a gospel and film course? I suggested 5 reasons;
1 – New Dialogue partners: In the words of Douglas Hall, “Who is telling the worlds story?” For many years theology turned to philosophy to listen to a telling of the worlds questions and dreams. Today the worlds story; conversations about meaning, life, God, spirituality are occurring everyday on our big screens. Theology needs a new dialogue partner.
2 – Looking closer: The film American Beauty invited us to look closer at the life of suburban America. What happens when you look closer? Well in one scene, as the hearse drives past, the invitation “look closer, becomes spiritual dialogue, “God is looking right at you you can look right back.” It is interesting that in the book of John, Jesus plays in a similar way with the metaphor of looking closer (John 1). Will we take the challenge of Jesus, and the opportunities provided by film, to “look closer” at our world?
3 – The First shall be last: We might be evangelised. How seriously will we take the gospel as presented by a movie maker like Spielberg in Amistad?
4 – Tell me a story: Film allows us to explore stories together. Around coffee, amid plot and interpretation, comes the time to consider the narratives of culture and the narratives of Christ.
5 – Funding a new cultural imagination: “Gospel and film” is more than how film might shape the church. A Kingdom vision will also want to ask how the church can influence film. We need film industry people who are Christians. Note the words are chosen with care. We need not Christian film makers (ala Left Behind), but film makers who are Christians.
We then had a great discussion around R-rating the Scriptures plenty of sex and violence – and WWJW (What would Jesus watch)?
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