The World According to kcillini77

March 31, 2007

Jesus Camp

Filed under: America,Christianity,Family,Movies — kcillini77 @ 1:53 pm

I guess my recent posts are revolving around movies. I don’t intend this site to be a movie review site, but lately movies have prompted thought for me so they are jumping off points.

This morning I took in the documentary Jesus Camp. I found it to be very thought-provoking. I know that there are many within the church who will refuse to view this film on the grounds that it was made by non-evangelicals and must have an anti-evangelical focus. I would contend that this is an important film for Christians to evaluate. This was an accurate portrayal of the participants – no one who was filmed has complained with the exception of Ted Haggard, and he’s got his own separate problems to deal with.

The only issue I have with this movie is the repeated use of the term “evangelical” in sidebars could easily lead many outside of the church to conclude that the behavior presented in the movie is typical of all evangelical churches. It is not. The people who are documented here are clearly pentacostal, and not all pentacostal churches would go to the extremes portrayed here, either. Speaking in tongues, particularly during a service, is not something you would ever see in most churches, due to both the controversy over whether tongues are even a spiritual gift in existence today and the admonisions in the Bible not to speak in tongues in public without an interpretation.  The uncritical endorsement of Republican politics is more widespread, but does not characterize all evangelical churches.  The condemnation of abortion is rightfully held to by most evangelicals, but the methods of conveying this vary widely.

The reason I think it is important for Christians to watch this movie is to observe the clear manipulation of emotions that is taking place between the adults and children in the film. It is easy to get a child to cry about their need for Jesus and to get them to weep over the horrors of abortion, and even to get them to attempt to speak to strangers about their faith. However, these emotional appeals, when not grounded firmly on reason and scripture, are sure to dissipate as they grow older. Emotions are God-given gifts, and we need them. But far more than wild swings of emotion over politically charged issues, our children need a firm foundation in the Word, and an example of service and giving.

I want to raise my children to be like Christ and to follow him through faith, reason, and actions. I don’t want them to be manipulated by emotional appeals. This film truly shows the effects of such actions.

March 5, 2007

Recycled Worldviews

Filed under: America,Arts,Christianity,Movies — kcillini77 @ 2:12 pm

Over the weekend I watched the critically acclaimed movie Little Miss Sunshine. I love movies, even though I don’t get to see them as often as I used to since the little one has arrived. I thought the movie was artistically well done and enjoyable. It did certainly have some content that would offend many people. But I am less concerned with counting cuss words in a film than I am with the underlying theme that movies present. If there is one thing that frustrates me to no end, it’s people in general, and Christians in particular, consuming movies and television and summarizing their feelings on the movie with “I liked it.” With the exception of some slapstick humor flicks, movies are always trying to impart a message to us and if we don’t listen for it we simply absorb it uncritically.

Though lauded for its originality, the theme of this movie was decidedly unoriginal. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. People are all different, but they are basically good at heart, and if we would just let everyone live how they want to without judging or criticizing them, we would all be free and the world would be at peace. I think about 80% of Hollywood movies have this as their underlying premise or at least is communicated as a secondary message. It’s a lie. We are not basically good at heart. We love evil, but we have the capacity to do good. That’s not semantics – these are two very different philosophies, and it is important that we decide which of them we believe because what we believe about our nature shapes how we view ourselves, our fellow humans, and our God.

If we’re basically good, we have no need for a savior and we should expect training and good behavior to make our world a better place. That obviously hasn’t happened up to this point. If we’re basically evil – or, in other words, have a sin nature, the good news of Christ makes sense. Examine yourself honestly. Do you really believe you are good at your core – at the very root of your soul? Or does your knowledge of your desires and actions show you that you love darkness, but can break out of that sometimes to do good? Follow the evidence. Don’t believe the lie.

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