Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Controversial Movies, etc.

All this talk about Willy Wonka has gotten me thinking. Especially from a Christian perspective, there are some forms of entertainment (with movies being one of the easiest to participate in) that certainly might be considered as "forbidden fruit."

But from an artist's perspective, a lot of the clean stuff can often be considered very boring and just plain NOT living up to any real artistic standard. A lot of Billy Graham movies, for instance -- although more recently I think they have definitely improved. It sort of makes me think that they wrote a tract and just padded it until they had a movie script (I think "Tribulation" fits this category).

In my opinion, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is an excellent example of a movie set solidly in the Bible, with an overt Christian message -- yet with solid artistic merit.

I am blown away with "The Passion" each time I see it. But I've noticed that other people aren't affected as profoundly. So I wonder... does my fascination with its artistic merit just blow its Christian message out of proportion? or am I enamored with its message and in turn blow its artistic component out of proportion?

To me, a complete flipside of "The Passion" would be Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Jesus Christ Superstar." I personally dislike this movie VERY strongly. I feel that most of it is blasphemous and just plain dumb. (Except for some of the melodies, which bear Webber's signature genius.) Yet, I've talked to some people who are deeply ministered by this musical. To them, it demonstrates the humanity of Jesus. (To me, it demonstrates the ickiness of the free display of chest hair in the 1970s.)

Hey, if God uses a movie to draw people closer to Him, that's awesome. May He continue to move however He pleases! For example, Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" movie ministers to me (at least in the first 30 minutes or so) because in a way, the Phantom is like a combo father-lover figure to Christine. Sort of like God the Father and Jesus, drawing His beloved into the secret place. (Except for the Phantom's obsessive, serial-killing thing, that is.)

I'm sort of just throwing out ideas here, but I'm wondering if part of it has to do with walking in the fruits of the Spirit. Among the fruits of the flesh, Galatians lists sexual immorality, idolatry and witchcraft, drunkenness, orgies, etc. To me, that's your basic listing of what the world around you does (or at least wants to do) for fun, is it not? :) The fruits of the Spirit, on the other hand, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I'm thinking that Galatians lists very specifically (in the flesh-fruits listing) what NOT to do. Yet it seems to leave a lot of breathing room (in the Spirit-fruits listing) in what IS allowed.

Not that I consider Willy Wonka's movies to be "forbidden fruit" (at least, not for me personally). I think Wonka can be compared to a generous Father who wants to share everything He has with His chosen. But I'm sure there are some who disagree. And I might be stretching it. What do you think?

Please feel free to expand the discussion to include other forms of entertainment (TV, music, etc.). Have fun!!

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