Peas and carrots, peanut-butter and chocolate, Abbott and Costello…many times the merging of unique things ends up with something better than any one item solo. Sometimes, such combinations are not as appealing (I’ll let your mind explore this one). One combination on the rise is the merging of Christianity and Hollywood: aka, Christian cinema. Some are low budget – or even independent – productions like Fireproof, while others amass large production value such as The Passion of the Christ. In between these budgets falls the current book-turned movie “the Shack,” which has turned up the controversy grinder (and is far from being alone regarding this feat).
This leads to the question: how should one respond when a Christian-based film is made? Does the response change should the film fall below expectations? Should one approach said movie with pickiness, or is a level of tolerating imperfections (or errors) appropriate?
To begin such a difficult discussion, allow me to offer one quick observation: the moment society depends upon Hollywood for theological insight and understanding, we are all in trouble. Rather than using a film to help us interpret the Bible, we should use the Bible to interpret film.
Whether watching the Shack, Mel Gibson’s Passion sequel The Resurrection, or any other film (say, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi), a Christian should take similar approaches. After the viewing of a movie, ask some basic questions: What does the movie say is to be valued? What is wrong with our world, and what is the proposed solution? Would the Bible agree or disagree with the movie’s answers? What in the film would the Bible agree with? What in the film does the Bible disagree with? In the areas of disagreement, what does the Bible say is more accurate/appropriate?
Using this approach, a Christian will be able to have better understanding of both the Bible and God (including His expectations regarding His creation). Each person should approach every movie (and every book for that matter) with critical thinking skills. Rather than complain, bicker, and boycott, perhaps a better response would be to contemplate, reflect, and discuss. Perhaps together, we can all grow closer to our Creator, Savior, and King.