April 8, 2014

get off the roller coaster

Over the last month or so, I’ve been reading the online Christian commentary/reviews surrounding the movies “God is Not Dead” and “Noah” and I’ve come to a conclusion: Christians need to jump off the validation-persecution roller coaster they allow themselves to ride when “Christian-themed” movies are released. “God is Not Dead” comes out and Christians everywhere applaud that “The Christian guy wins the movie! Hurrah!” The high of validation. Then “Noah” comes out and Christians everywhere boo and hiss that “The movie is gnostic and pagan! How dare they mess with a biblical story! The depths of persecution.

And I don’t get it. I really don’t. I don’t understand the intense emotional investment here, the endless cycle of “good movie/bad movie” hysteria that does nothing, ultimately, to move anyone closer to Jesus in any genuine way. Some Christians seem to need to praise or condemn a movie as a requirement of their faith, which I find bizarre: “Look at me going to a movie where the Christian guy wins everything! I’m a good Christian!” Or “Look at me lambasting a movie that messes with our biblical traditions! I’m a good Christian!” (Well, maybe, but not because of this, okay?)

It’s a movie. It’s not Jesus. It’s not the gospel. It’s not salvific. It’s a movie made for the purpose of making boatloads of money. The movie industry isn’t a 501c3. It’s a multibillion-dollar moneymaking business and its money-making goal has nothing to do with you and your beliefs. They don’t really care about your beliefs, okay? They care about stroking your religious ego with this “good” Christian-themed movie – if it makes them money — or stoking your religious hysteria with that “bad” Christian-themed movie – if it makes them money. And that’s all it is. It’s a business for them but we seem to need it to be The Church. It’s not. It’s entertainment.

Hollywood doesn’t care about this self-made roller coaster Christians are on, but they’ll ride along if there’s money in it. Christians, however, ride the roller coaster because they choose to get on. So get off. Get off the roller coaster and see it for what it is: our own self-made misery regarding our perceived rights and/or perceived persecution. Hollywood is under no obligation to make Christians happy. We need to stop being so emotionally invested in “good movie vs bad movie.” We need to stop expecting miracles from “Christian-themed” movies when most of them are — aesthetically — crap. We need to stop bitching about them when they fall short of our personal expectations or agenda and we need to stop praising them when they do our job of offering an apologetic for the faith. We need to stop being so insecure in our faith that a 90-minute movie can soar us to heights of validation or depths of persecution.

Hollywood isn’t in the business of making Christians happy, nor should it be.

So next time the roller coaster stops, get off.

9 Comments »

  1. Think of it as “customer reviews” on any other product and it makes more sense, especially given the cost of going to the movies these days. The shelf life of the item (the movie) about as long as the newest version of any smart phone. So while it’s in the theaters or newly released on video, the comments are in “feeding frenzy” mode, after that, no one cares anymore.

    Glad to see you’re back.

    Comment by MamaTod — April 8, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

  2. Welcome back! I see you have hit the turf running. It’s a pleasure to have the Palepage back again. I hope that you and YB are happy and well.

    Comment by nightfly — April 8, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

  3. Hi MamaTod ~ Yeah. You’re right about the shelf life. I think, though, that a certain contingent of Christianity looks for reasons to feel validated/persecuted by the culture and I find it a bit baffling (and irritating).

    Good to “see” you!!!

    Comment by tracey — April 8, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

  4. Hey! Hi NF!!! Missed you guys! I hope you and LadyBug are doing well, too.

    Comment by tracey — April 8, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

  5. I’m so happy to see you writing again!

    I’m to the point of believing that absolutely nothing in this world makes Christians happy. Which is shame because there’s so much to enjoy in the world.

    You may get a kick out of this. It’s “perfect timing’s” 15 minutes of fame!

    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/theater-cancels-noah-showing-because-flood

    Comment by Kathi — April 8, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  6. Welcome back!

    I have not seen the movie but would like to, I like Russell Crowe. Being in Christian circles I see all of the fodder that comes along with cultural events like this. The older I get the more I’m inclined to ignore it all together.

    Comment by Brian — April 9, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  7. Hi Kathi and Brian ~ Don’t know why your comments went into moderation, but it’s good to see you.

    I know there are certain Christians who are now calling themselves “Christ followers” or “Jesus followers” because the name Christian has become so tainted in the public’s view, but I don’t know if relabeling will help change perceptions or not.

    Comment by tracey — April 9, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  8. I dunno, for me, if it’s not out to mock my faith then I don’t really care what they get “right” or “wrong,” and if anyone wants to see it, they should see it. But “Thou shalt attend all movies about Me” isn’t mentioned in the Ten Commandments. I’m grateful for that.

    Nice to see you blogging again, T! :)

    Comment by Kate P — April 11, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

  9. Kate P ~ Thanks! I’m easing back into it.

    / But “Thou shalt attend all movies about Me” isn’t mentioned in the Ten Commandments. I’m grateful for that./

    Yes, thank God!

    Comment by tracey — April 22, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

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