Movie Dialogue

February 08, 2006

Here is a good column by William Romanowski at USA Today: Evangelicals miss the big picture. He suggests that evangelicals need to change how they react to and view movies. Here are a few highlights:

"Evangelicals can influence Hollywood when they think of the cinema as an arena for cultural discourse but not a place for converting members of that culture to a specific Christian orientation. In other words, evangelicals' goal for the movie industry should be to encourage discourse, not merely evangelizing."

"Last year's Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby sparked debate about euthanasia. This year, Crash deals with racism; Good Night, and Good Luck probes the role of the news media in keeping politicians accountable to the people; Syriana touches on geopolitics and oil; A History of Violence explores the potential presence of violence in all of us; Munich the perpetuation of bloodshed. Religious audiences can engage these films by reflecting on the perspective they represent, yet applying their own religious context."

"So what do evangelicals want from Hollywood anyway? Help converting the masses? If so, movies don't seem as if they're the most effective forum. Despite all the evangelistic hype for The Passion, a survey by The Barna Group showed that less than one-tenth of 1% of those who saw the movie accepted Jesus Christ as their savior as a result of seeing the film."

"Only when evangelicals agree to look at Hollywood not just as an evangelistic tool, or a harmless entertainment provider, but also as an important participant in cultural discourse will they understand that as a major share of the movie market, they are in a position to shape that vital discussion."

Amen! We need much more dialogue in our society. Christians should attempt to find ways of discussing spiritual messages or matters from movies instead of fighting or ignoring them. Through these discussions we may just be able to plant some seeds in people's lives.