It seems like everywhere I turn these past weeks I have had conversations with those in ministry as to whether or not I will be taking students (or friends, or anyone) to see the “Son Of God” or “Noah, ” movies that are both being released this month.
In the Christian community we have many thoughts on movies “like this.” On the one hand they are big budget movies with a wide national release. We love the movies like, “Facing the Giants,” but these are different. They are “top tier” movies that give us the ability to show our “unchurched” friends that these “stories” from the Bible are powerful and relevant. However, I also have seen some annoyance at the continued portrayal of Jesus with perfectly white teeth and obviously blow dried hair. In Noah, I have heard moans at the fact that Russell Crowe is playing a man from the Middle East.
It’s easy to either over or under emphasize movies like this. Churches are buying out entire theaters to encourage their patrons to attend and take friends. They want to show “Hollywood” that indeed those of us in the “Christian community” will make the time to see something like this. In contrast, I have friends who have declared they will not “give money to more misrepresentation of the Bible.”
I admit it, when “The Passion of the Christ” was released we took over 200 students to see it on the big screen. It is still a movie that shows a powerful representation of the days leading up to and the crucifixion of Jesus. While we all love to see Charlton Heston play Moses, (even decades later) there are some things we need to keep in mind when it comes to the Bible based movie and our students.
Personally, I am not sure if I would take “ALL” of the students and their families to see these films, but I would (and probably will) take some. What do we do to prepare?
Take the time to go through the actual Bible passages with those in your programs and tell them what might be coming. We know that Jesus didn’t “stand out” based on his ugly or gorgeous appearance. It was dusty and people walked everywhere, there wasn’t “Crest” to perfect the smile. Noah and his family did not have British accents (Can someone explain to me why this is the go to accent for all movies in history?). No, Hermione was not Noah’s daughter in law. What might they encounter that IS and IS NOT in the actual Word?
It’s A Movie:
There is a cool scene from the Noah trailer that shows the flood springing up from the ground and the sky. This is the first time I have ever seen anyone acknowledge that it may not have been just a lot of rain that brought water over the earth. No matter how awesome it is, WE WILL NEVER REALLY KNOW what everything looked like. Someone told me recently how wonderful it was to see the way Jesus walked around on earth and interacted with people. Let’s remember, this is one person’s interpretation of that.
Great Conversation Starters:
Don’t throw the “baby out with the bathwater” as they say. These movies are great conversation starters, and people are interested. I think many of us are intrigued to whether or not the “stories” of the Bible could be fascinating on the “big screen”. If nothing else they are epic stories. Go to the movie with some students and talk about it afterwards. Even if they don’t care what was “really” in the Bible, what are the concepts about faith and trust and God that you can use to get a conversation rolling?
Personally, I will take some students to see these movies. Actually, we had a great time in one of my small groups recently walking through the story of Noah, line by line. One of my Seniors actually declared, “I hope they show it took over 100 years for him to build that monster in the middle of a desert!” It was a great time to discuss what “poetic license” is. We don’t know any conversations Noah had with anyone outside of God during the building of the ark. We do know he was the ONLY person on earth listening to or caring about a relationship with God. We also know that God told him to do this crazy thing and he did it. Finishing up, I asked them, “Could you have faith like Noah?” We talked about having a relationship with the Lord that is SO close you will do ANYTHING. It was fun and inviting, and they can’t wait to see it. We will go together. Then after we see it., we will make a “day of it” to go out and talk about it. What a great way to really tell them what we think about the Lord and what a relationship with Him looks like. We get an inside scoop to hear their thoughts as well.
How about you? How are you using these movies for the Lord?