Thinking Out Loud

September 22, 2010

Wednesday Link List

The links are back!   Here are some highlights of my past seven days online…

  • The upper picture is another classic entry from the classic photo site,; which I’ve mildly colorized.    It’s an auditorium in Ocean City, NJ set up for a revival meeting sometime in the time period 1900 – 1910.   Click here or  on the image all the way through for a full size image.  (It’s my computer desktop this week!)
  • Donald Miller explains why, for now, the movie based on the Thomas Nelson book Blue Like Jazz isn’t happening.
  • Elsewhere in film production, City on a Hill, the people who brought you the Alpha-Course-alternative known as H20 have brought Kyle Idleman back to host  a new series titled Not a Fan.
  • Bill Mounce wades into the subject of accuracy in Bible translations in the first of a weekly series.
  • Randy Morgan gives you an inside peek into the world of pastors, and how and why the whole guest speaker thing occasionally happens.
  • Okay, that fun, but maybe it was a little superficial; so do this instead:  Click on Randy’s home page, and scroll back to September 13th and then check out his five-part series on his visit to the local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) chapter.   Long, but worth it, especially if you have family or personal history with AA.
  • Link list links

    Preparing for the upcoming Eighth Letter conference in Toronto, Matt at the blog, The Church of No People, delivers his pressing message for the church in North America.

  • It’s 7-pages long, but Christianity Today gets into depth on the church’s relationship with sex offenders.
  • CNN boldly goes into a full scientific explanation for what happened when Moses parted the Red Sea.
  • A repost of a classic poem asks the question What would He say, if He should come today?    Also at Christianity 201, the Love Chapter from I Corinthians rewritten for kids; and something borrowed from David Hayward, aka Naked Pastor.
  • Following in the tradition of Russell D. Moore — who this week deals with a tough dilemma — and inspired by the Desiring God video series, Randy Alcorn is inviting questions at Ask Randy; but the deadline is today, Wednesday the 22nd.
  • Zach at Take Your Vitamin Z linked this week to this New York Times article which is self explanatory:  Deciding Not To Screen for Down Syndrome.
  • Seen something online you think should be here next week?   Try to get to me by noon on Tuesday.
  • Well…choosing a cartoon for this week’s list was no contest after Abraham Piper reminded all of us of this classic:  Solomon’s ideal woman as reflected in Song of Solomon interpreted literally; just as it appeared all those years ago at The Wittenburg Door.


January 3, 2010

The Christian “Movie Culture” in the U.S.

…as in the movie culture among Christians, not “Christian movie” culture.

Recently several newspapers published their lists of the top ten movies of 2009.   In the lists I checked, there wasn’t one movie which was recognizable to me by its title.   None that I had seen.   None that I intend to see.  None that I’m wating for the video to release.

This stands in marked contrast to the “film culture” or “movie culture” that I see reflected in Christian blogs, some of which are written by pastors, who traditionally — or so I was told — didn’t have the time for such things.

Let me state for the record that I am not one of those people who considers theaters — or as we spell in Canada, theatres — to be vile, dark places.   Nor do I believe that should that rapture — a subject I’ll save for another day — occur while you are watching a movie in a place that also sells popcorn, this means you are automatically consigned to hell, a subject I’ll also save for another day.

I just don’t go to movies.

But in the U.S. they really drive the culture and the conversation among Christians.   If I had to be the guy who picked the film clips that kick off most megachurch sermons, I wouldn’t have much of a knowledge base to work from; though I do enjoy the use of clips, provided the church in question isn’t being held hostage by that format.

However, when the 2007 movie Juno reached $3.33 in a bargain bin, I was curious to see how they would handle this theme.    I knew the movie wasn’t a raw teenage sex film — those were in another bin nearby — but I wanted to look at the film from the viewpoint of a parent, but also try to see it from the viewpoint of my teenage kids.


Like most of life, it’s complicated and confusing.    On the one hand, you’ve got a movie that I think is making a powerful pro-life statement.   Conservative evangelicals should be cheering that.    On the other hand, you’ve got implied casual teenage sex resulting in pregnancy.    But that pregnant teenager wants to see that baby raised in a solid, secure, loving environment, and at one point in the film is worried that might not happen.

I think that overall the movie is more redemptive than destructive; in other words more helpful than hurtful.  But I don’t recommend it be added to your church library anytime soon.

Back to the larger discussion I started with.   I’m not sure we should be letting the film industry — notice I avoided saying “Hollywood” in a pejorative context — set the agenda for the discussion in our families or in our churches.

While a great movie can change the direction of a person’s life; and while the film industry can make some positive contributions to society as a whole, I still think too many Christian pastors and too many Christian bloggers and too many Christian people in general are obsessed with what’s going on at the cineplex.

That time and money might be better spent in 2010.

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