People watch movies. People go to church. Most fail to see how the two connect. This is why we have just begun a sermon series called Intersection: Where Christ & Culture meet. My hope is that we equip followers of Jesus to engage our world thoughtfully, creatively and biblically. In the sermons, we will explore themes from the movies “Inception,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit,” and “The Social Network.”
There are many reasons one might preach a series that deals with films, but here are five that surfaced as I thought about this series.
1. Faith relates to all of life. If we are going to live healthy and whole lives, we will fight against the temptation for a compartmentalized faith. Too often, people put “Sunday” into a sacred compartment and then isolate that “church” part of life from the other six days a week. This is not the life Jesus came to give us. Gospel-faith should influence every realm of our lives.
2. We need to be discerning. If we are going to watch movies (and almost all of us do), we need to process what we watch and be discerning about the things that we see. We need to ask questions of the films we view. What is the story about? What is beautiful about the film? What is looked down upon? What is exalted? Is it honest about life? What moral and ethical viewpoints are used? What is redemptive? What emotions does it stir? Is this beneficial for me? Then, we have the chance to see how these questions relate to our following of Jesus and interacting with our world.
3. We can learn from films. Films have the potential to open us to new ways of seeing our lives and our reality. They can ask good questions with which we need to wrestle. If we enter the theater with a healthy humility, good films will help us realize that we don’t know it all. They remind us that we are thoughtful and feeling beings who like to be stretched both intellectually and emotionally. Watching a movie is viewing the world through another person’s glasses, and a shift in perspective inevitably opens us to new space to explore.
4. Creativity honors God. Too often, the church has taken up the call to confront while abdicating the call to create. Both are needed, but we are way out of balance. Andy Crouch says that we are “creators made in the Creator’s image.” When human beings stop creating, some God-given possibility is being muted or suppressed. We honor God when we create something beautiful and good. [What’s the over/under on comments about bad christian films for this post? Just sayin’…] We need more followers of Jesus who are courageous enough to attempt the creation of great films.
5. Movies are bridges for the gospel. As we seek to present and defend Jesus to our friends, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors, films can serve as common ground on which to have conversations about issues of life and faith. Like the apostle Paul in Athens interacting in the public square through philosophy and poetry, we can describe life with Jesus through the shared experience of films.
So, what do you think? Like the idea of incorporating an occasional conversation about film into a sermon series? Would you add anything to what I’ve mentioned here?