Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Christian Meets Oscar

The Academy Awards show is Sunday night, February 27. The Oscars will be given out to actors, actresses, directors, producers, photographers, fashion designers, etc. The biggest night in Hollywood. What should a Christian's response to the Oscars be? I'm a firm believer that the Gospel calls us to find ways to BUILD bridges with our culture rather than constantly looking for excuses to BURN them! That's why I'm really excited about one of the small groups in our church. One of our small groups has come up with a beautiful plan for their meeting that week.

Their discussion that night is going to be about why movies matter for those in our culture who are seeking, sharing and showing grace (our church Mission Statement). What would your brief response be if someone asked you, as a Christian, "Why do movies matter?" Here's my very brief response...

First, it connects us with what is going on in culture. Usually art and film are WAAAAY ahead of the curve of the general population...the film industry tends to SET philosophy, not react to it. The "person on the street" can think they are coming up with their own opinions all they want...the fact is that the educators, the philosophers, the "intelligentsia" are constantly influencing the world-views of others. The next group to process the world-views of the intellectuals, also the group that begins to "popularize" such world-views...are the artists...those leading the way in music, film and literature. The people on Hollywood Boulevard are constantly influencing the people on Main Street.

I am always surprised to discover that most people really don't understand that few artists aren't absolutely intentional about what they are doing. Almost all art, film and literature is presented precisely to make a point...to influence world-view. Christians who thoughtfully watch and process films can learn a lot...and then think through a Christian response.

Second, most POPULAR films are record-breakers precisely because they touch a nerve of the human soul...popular films are usually popular because they are simply an echo of the Larger Story of God's plan of redemption. So, movies matter to thoughtful Christians because we are reminded of the Plan of Redemption...not just our redemption in Christ but our role in being agents of redemption in all of life and culture. Heroes in the great films usually bring redemption to those in need. Villains in the stories remind us of the great battles we face in life and that evil is real, not imaginary. Those who go about doing great good call out that which is in us by God's grace.

Third, knowledge and awareness of popular films enable us to engage our neighbors, friends, work associates in conversation. There are many themes of "Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation" that can lead to Christ-centered discussions.

Few things get me processing the gospel like a good movie. I love Oscar time. My bets are on The King's Speech. A GREAT story with many echoes of the Larger Story. I'm excited about the great time that small group in our church is going to have that Sunday night...may their tribe increase!

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