Posts Tagged ‘God’

In Hollywood, where doth my help come from?

“Christian Movie.” It’s a phrase that has plagued both Hollywood and the Church for decades because the two sides don’t really talk, even if there was the awkward Thanksgiving dinner.

Separate: The two don’t have an inkling enough knowledge of the other to understand what the market demands. Together: Former “celebs” who get real with Christ are considered sellouts because the first that happens is TBN fawns all over them and gets them preaching.

So, what does it mean to be a “Christian Movie”? Is it focus on the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” because honestly, if you have seen the movie (aside from the meaning, people), it really is not the greatest. Not even Top 10.

The one that changed Christian film making was not “The Omega Code,” which looked like the IRS came and repossessed the movie set halfway into the film. No, it was “The Passion of the Christ.

Real. Violent. Authentic. Visceral.

And an A-list celeb created it, without the aforementioned megalomaniac drool from Paul and Jan. Then, of course, that A-list celeb went off the deep end and offending every Jew, black person and woman on the face of God’s planet. So much for his clout. Next?

Sure, Kirk Cameron made a nice swim through a resurrection (of his career) but that was short-lived, and short-marketed. “Fireproof” was nice, really nice, but it lacked the big Hollywood backing.

No one was really 'running' from the Church to catch this one

Recently, Disney saw a glimmer of hope in this once forgotten Christian market, and put out a movie that had all the makings of the next great “Christian Movie.” To use the introduction from a riveting BrandWeek article:

On the face of it, Disney’s feel-good drama Secretariat seemed to have all the makings of a hit with the God-fearing crowd: Its writer and director are devout Christians, it opens with a lengthy Bible quote, it uses an earnest spiritual tune at a key emotional moment and it’s uplifting. Then there was a specific marketing campaign to the faith-based audience, spearheaded by filmmaker Randall Wallace, who has legitimate street cred in those circles.

Quick show of hands for all the Christ followers who saw this flick? Yeah, me neither.

This is a movie that supposed to be the feel-good hit of the summer and Hollywood was counting on the Church. Only, it wasn’t marketed to the Church, so who knew?

Therein lies the rub.

The Church either goes one way or the other when it comes to movie selections:

  1. We are either incognito at Rated-R flicks – Groucho Marx glasses and all – and only be seen watching Pixar movies with the kids.
  2. Or, we go see any horror or drama made with a staunch “So what” to anyone in the Church that has an issue with your film-viewing pleasures.

Then there are those in-between who really want to see God show up in films outside of anything dealing with the crucifixion, resurrection or anything starring Charlton Heston.

Why? According to this story, Christians aren’t as naive and sheepish as Hollywood thinks:

Any movie that has a happy ending or a hopeful message gets peddled to Christian leaders and faith-based media. That crowd may be conservative, but they’re not dumb, said entertainment industry veteran and marketing consultant Mark Joseph.

“The traditionalist audience is far more savvy, post-‘Passion,’ and is tired of being told that ‘Polar Express’ or ‘Rocky VI’ are actually allegories about Christ,” said Joseph, also a film producer who’s worked on The Passion of the Christ and other marketing campaigns. “This group is suspicious of Hollywood.”

Not only is this group “suspicious” of Hollywood; they are also lazy to demand otherwise from it.

Yes, I paid good money to see “Inception”, “Iron Man 2″ and “Robin Hood” this summer. And why? Because I am a child of God that can see a movie that doesn’t exalt Christ and still find pleasure in it. Sure, I wish it mentioned, alluded to or flat-out praised him, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go for a gripping storyline and stimulating writing any day.

And no, I didn’t pay a dime to see anything else from TBN studios, the “Veggie Tales” movie or “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.” Why? Just because the American Family Association gives it two crosses up doesn’t mean it’s good; it just means it’s sanctified.

Jesus made the ministrel of music. We should own it.

Amen!

It’s the same old problem that has plagued Christian music and fashion. We demand quality too.

When the world had old-school hip hop, the Church had D.C. Talk. (Sure, later came DII, SFC, PID and Freedom of Soul… but toby Mac and the guys pretty screwed that up for the rest of them). When the world had friendship pins, Swatch watches and Coca-Cola shirts, we had cheaply made Garanimals with an icthtus emblazoned on the crest.

Sigh.

In short, just because you have a fish on your business card, doesn’t guarantee me doing business with you. It only means I am leery of you because you expect a hand-out or a hand-up. We need to earn our keep in Hollywood, and not be afraid of the backlash just because we admit we love Jesus in public circles.

It’s happened with music (e.g. Hillsong, Mercy Me, David Crowder, anything alternative that has made the crossover, and on and on and on). Now, it’s time to stop trying to remake the Passion and just get passionate about evangelism with a great movie.

We need to vote with our dollars, in addition to our prayers. (And please, we do NOT do that).

So my definition of “Christian Movie”? It’s a great movie that happens to talk about Christ and sticks to the meaning of his message.

You know, rather than a lukewarm message of love and hate, right and wrong with a crappy script, a couple of has-been actors and something that goes straight to DVD cloaked as a movie.

Think about it people. When we demand more, we will get more. Peace.

Watch it and that mark may end up on your forehead

The Pew Forum has done it again with their latest in a series of polls that show the dumbification of America.

Just when we think this country is full of Kumbaya singers, universal proselytizers and everyone reading the same page on religion, we discover that people of faith, in essence… can’t friggin’ read!

Or if they can, their rote memory skills need some serious prayer, as seen in USA Today by the great Cathy Lynn Grossman.

The new U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that although 86% of us believe in God or a higher power, we don’t know our own traditions or those of neighbors across the street or across the globe.

There lies the rub. The words “God” and “Christian” are about as homogenized as anything on the dairy shelves. Any schmo with a lick of scruples and an inkling of interest in you know, not burning in a liquid furnace of lava, hell flames and demonic drones, says they believe in God.

And that, by proxy, makes them a “Christian.” Unfortunately, it means nothing to more than half of the people with that card in their pockets. More about that in a moment. First, the key findings from the 3,412 dolts surveyed who know nothing about religion:

Doctrines don’t grab us. Only 55% of Catholic respondents knew the core teaching that the bread and wine in the Mass become the body and blood of Christ, and are not merely symbols. Just 19% of Protestants knew the basic tenet that salvation is through faith alone, not actions as well.

Basic Bible eludes us. Just 55% of all respondents knew the Golden Rule isn’t one of the 10 Commandments; 45% could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

World religions are a struggle. Fewer than half (47%) knew that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist; 27% knew most people in Indonesia are Muslims.

This is a problem. You have to study for a drivers license, to pass a spelling test and to learn how to operate any one of your kids’ toys, but anyone can be a “Christian.”

There’s no connection to Christ, no relationship with the Lord and absolutely no personal zeal to tell people about why being a Christian is so important to them. And why? Because they aren’t one.

What would happen if God has a computerAnd that’s why them taking this test is stupid. Where’s the litmus test? Oh yeah, in the answers of this survey.

Moreover, it’s the who in the survey that’s more telling. It seems if you have an angst against this “God” guy everyone loves to follow like some hack on Twitter, you research the most about him to debate his sheep. Example A: Atheists and agnostics did the best on the survey with 20.9 correct.

There’s more than power in the blood of the Lamb, there’s a lot of ignorance too. Example B: Black Protestants only got 13.4 correct, second to last to… wait for it… Hispanic Catholics at 11.6 percent.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Sure, it’s nice to go to church and see your friends then go to Luby’s. But there is a world dying out there while some of us are busy taking surveys. What happened to the passion of learning God’s Word? How far have we departed from the Bible and into the country club known as “Church Lite”?

I suppose as long as there are surveys, we will continue to find out. Unfortunately for those of us who mean it when we follow… um, what’s his name again?


In this month’s ubiquitous and divine hallucinogenic moment in time, we have  our Savior dying for another cause – the cost of terrestrial phone usage.

I know there are much bigger fish to fry, such as the price of gas and just what is “The Event”, it seems people have been praying to the heavenlies about their landlines and cell phones.

As most of us know, the Bible declares in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”

He gave his all for 500 free minutes of salvation

Evidently, people did call… literally. And the Lord heard. So much so, that he decided to show himself in full glory, and in full support of Thomas Alva Edison, according to the Telegraph (UK).

Rickey Navarre [who testified to someone at Louisiana's KPLC-TV] did a double take of the pole while driving along Highway 26, and said he sees what appears to be Jesus Christ hanging on the cross.

“It just caught my eye. I said to myself, that sure looks like an image of Jesus hanging from the telephone pole,” said Navarre.

You know, I figure this makes a load of sense because when I am driving along the highway and an unfamiliar road hazard is alongside the road, I usually yawp, “JESUS!”

Don’t you? No? Just me?

The P.C. Express continues in an concentrated effort to rid the world of a God that spoke his mind back in the day, had any sort of opinion of social issues or you know… could have a gender.

Forget the family. Make it one room fits all.

And to save space, the Scottish Church now has one bathroom

First, there was the “Genderless Bible,” which started the debate that Jesus died for all kind – not mankind, just all kind. Ridiculous. And now, we have the deranged actions of the Scottish Episcopal Church in which the slew of female priests are getting miffed about all the personal pronoun usage going one-sided when discussing God as a “he”.

The Telegraph (UK) discusses this new – and mildly defective – form of worship, which removes words such as “Lord, he, his, him” and “mankind” from services, has been written by the church in an attempt to acknowledge that God is “beyond human gender”.

The controversial changes were discussed at the church’s General Synod recently. The minutes of the synod reveal that female priests had asked why God was still referred to as a man. The altered version of the 1982 Liturgy sees masculine pronouns removed when they refer to God and the new approach has even been extended to humans. For example, the word “mankind” has been taken out and replaced with “world”.

Man. Woman. Pat from SNL?

I suppose Pat moonlights in Scotland as a priest.

Seriously?! This milquetoasting of the Scriptures is allowed to exist. I get a slew of politicians doing their best not to upset their constituents, but to have this bastardization of deity to exist within the walls of the Church is appalling. It’s heresy.

And guess what female priests of Scotland? This is going to put quite an increase in his testosterone. There’s more…

Direct quotations from the Bible have been spared change, because of a reluctance to interfere with the word of God. However, the blessing at the end of services has been changed by some ministers from “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier”.You know, I once heard that if someone performs a task, they liked to be thanked for it. Tsk. Tsk.

“The changing of God language is a little tricky,” admitted Rev Darren McFarland, convener of the church’s liturgy committee. “We are not saying God is not masculine. God is also feminine. The problem is trying to use human language to describe the indescribable.

What’s interesting is he could be right… but I am fairly certain they are not that smart to be this mischievous. The Hebrew and Christian scriptures have  traces of maternal imagery that have not been overridden by the patriarchs. This includes breast and nursing imagery, of which even the title of God used in Exodus 6:2-3.

Did you know (because I know these old sods didn’t) that El Shaddai is traditionally interpreted as the Almighty, but may be interpreted as the Many Breasted One from the Hebrew word shad, meaning breast, instead of using the Akkadian word shadu meaning mountain.

See, how can God send his son here to be touched with all of our feelings, if men and women feel differently?

Maybe, because HIS characteristics are to fully understand both men and women. We are made in HIS image, after all… or should we redefine that one as well?

It’s that time of the month again when we scour the Wall for some delusional stigmata enthusiast and post another “God Sighting of the Month.”

Only, it’s been hot this summer and everyone’s hallucinogens are causing different moments of grandeur, like the water tower melting and the refreshing tidal wave is coming toward your house. Anyone? Just me?

And who says bread isn't good for you?

Lord Jesus! That's some good toast.

So we had to find a concocted vision, but this took some daft skill as seen in the UK’s Grimsy Telegraph:

Give us this day our daily bread” – so says the Lord’s Prayer – but in Great Limber, it’s toasted! This stunning depiction of Christ’s Crucifixion may look like it has been painted on tiles, but is in fact made up of 153 pieces of carefully charred toast.

This “artist” is a 33-year-old bloke named Adam Sheldon who felt his calling was to make a sacred illumination of the most hallowed event in history out of something we place sandwich spread upon. And probably with the crusts cut off.

How in the world do you manipulate your toaster to do this with such precision?!

I mean, I put two slices in mine, walk away to go to the bathroom and you would think I put them in the microwave. They eject with the velocity of the space shuttle, completely burnt to a crisp.

And this guy comes off like Da Vinci with the same apparatus? Man, I need to go back to school.

My only theological question about this artistic rendition (and make no mistake, that’s art) hanging in his local church is this: Does this create an entirely new definition for the term “Burnt Offerings“?