Being “salt and light” in the world of entertainment

Aside from working with the “What’s in the Bible” team, I also administrate a online Christian movie site, promoting Christian films, filmmakers, writers and all things media related.  On site we have some great (sometimes even heated) discussions, too!  I’ve had numerous conversations with fans of Christian films, and much of what I hear is sort of reactionary in terms of our culture and the negative impact that Hollywood is having on that culture, as a whole.

This weekend I took my mom to see the newly released film Hereafter. Its previews made it sound like it was going to answer the big question, “What happens when we die?”  Granted, I wasn’t expecting an overtly Biblical viewpoint about the afterlife, but I was interested in seeing their take on what most of us refer to as “Heaven”.

Bluntly, the story was weak.  But besides that, it was written using a post-modern worldview. While the film started to address the idea that there may be more than just a black void which will be experienced after death; without taking a Biblical truth and expanding on it–well, Biblically– the audience was left confused, and had many really important unanswered questions.

Sadly, the story couldn’t answer the tough questions:  What, where, and why?. Those who don’t share our worldview can’t go beyond what is physically tangible. Where there is no faith, there is no “hope for things unseen…”

The beauty of having a Biblical worldview is that we can answer these tough questions;  not based on our complete understanding, but based on faith in God’s Word and His promises, fulfilled in Jesus! When our children ask us what happens when we die, we can direct them to scripture. We can truthfully tell them that, while we don’t know exactly what Heaven looks like, it DOES exist. We can explain that through the Resurrection of Jesus, we have an ultimate hope in an eternal life with God.

There’s that need for that “Bible literacy” thing again!

Here are two questions that many Christian filmmakers and fans of Christian films do a lot of talking about on my site, “Should we make films for only Christians? –OR should we make films for the rest of the world, with a needed message of redemption?

We needn’t look any further than the Biblical stories of Daniel and Joseph to see how God used these two simple, yet godly men to work amongst powerful idol worshippers to reach His greater purpose! Bringing about a transformation within their very societies, which ultimately helped God’s people!

Jesus instructs us to be “salt and light of the world”, (Matthew 5:13-16) and to do the work that God has sent us to do.

In John 17:18, Jesus says, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  Jesus never asked God to take believers out of the world, but to instead USE THEM in it.  Because Jesus is the one who sends us into the world, we should not try to escape from it, and avoid all relationships with non-Christians.  Rather to impact the world with His light.

This makes me think that we must ask ourselves if we are truly helping to unify the body of Christ–AND how we are bringing His truth to those who don’t yet know Him. Both things are equally important.

Personally, I pray that I become less reactionary in my response to the world. I pray that God shows me how to help transform and impact culture–somehow, and that I can teach my children to do the same.  It shouldn’t surprise me that those who are OF THE WORLD can only share a distorted message of questionable values, based on inner enlightenment and a belief structure based on a self fulfilled destiny.  They don’t know any better. They lack His Word…the Truth…or perhaps a literacy of that Word.

Part of that truth is we are made in the image of a loving, relational God, who desires to be in a loving relationship WITH us.  What a great starting point in any story, song, play, or movie.  What a great beginning in transforming our society!

As a mom, I can see how vital it is for my kids to really know their Bible.  Not just the sweet Sunday school stories, but the history–the time lines–the cultures– the story behind the story. That’s probably why I love the What’s In the Bible? series so much!  It’s chalked full of so much more than what I was taught as a kid!  I’m blessed to be able to give my kids that advantage.  They are both creatives…so maybe one day they’ll feel inspired to make a movie or write a book that will make an impact on their generation for Jesus!

What is your opinion about the films of today?  Do we Christians need to make a bigger impact on society through secular films / media projects?  Or should we stay within the Christian film / Christian media genre, only? Would you support work by Christians who write, act, and produce films for an inclusive or cross-over audience? Do you let your kids watch secular films? What if your child wants to be an actor, director or filmmaker?

We all value your insights and comments!!

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