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Reel World Theology Manifesto:
In today’s world, the medium of film is reaching more and more people than ever before. With American domestic box office sales of over $10 billion in 2012, cinema has a direct line into our culture, our homes, and even our beliefs. It would be foolish to think that these movies, all of which are telling narratives of heroes and villans, science fiction and history, and everything in between, do not have direct access to dictating culture and ideology. This means that directors, screenwriters, and producers have influence, directly or indirectly, about how we see the world, our own spirituality, and even how we view God.
I believe this is possible because I believe that all human beings are made in the image of the Great Creator. Because they are made in God’s image and likeness, mankind has been given the creative impulse and thus, humanities stories often reflect God’s meta-narrative and design. Intentional or not, our stories call us to answer questions about what we believe, how we believe, and often, why we believe.
What I would hope to do through Reel World Theology is to take a look at these stories and use them to engage culture and try to better understand what is at the root of images and scenes that move us at our core. This isn’t about “good vs evil” or “right vs wrong”, but, instead, trying to understand why we cling to a hero, why we cry at a characters loss, or why we totally understand how it feels to feel aimless in life. To turn our minds off and simply write off these narratives as “fun” or “good” would be doing them a disservice. Instead, I encourage you that whenever you walk away from a movie and cannot get that one great scene out of your head, or you are just can’t shake a feeling you received from that touching scene at the end of the film, ask yourself “why?” From there, follow the white rabbit and discover more about yourself, the film, and the world around you…
entertainment is not mindless.
It is easy to walk into a movie and turn your brain off or label a movie as eye-candy. I encourage you to redeem entertainment by watching it with your brain on. Instead of trying to judge characters actions as “good or bad”, or even trying to simply learn a lesson from the story, try to see what the story reflects about the character of God through His creation.