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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christianity, the Media and Evangelization

I was reading an article in the Village Voice about the place of Christian themes in contemporary film and was struck by this paragraph:

But there is no explicit mention of Christianity in Anschutz's speech or Walden's materials [about the Narnia movie], reflecting another strategy among members of the Christian right that involves cloaking their goals in secular language. As Didi Herman explains, "The [Christian right's] more sophisticated elements quite consciously avoid religious rhetoric; they know it doesn't work. The language of sin, apocalypse, redemption results in them being 'loonified' by the media." For example, Mel Gibson, in discussing his latest project Apocalypto (also to be distributed by Disney), rejected rumors that his new film was an end-times narrative inspired by sacred Mayan texts, saying at a press conference that it is "not a big doomsday picture or anything like that."

Is it really necessary that in order for Christianity to get its message out that we need to "hide" the very language that is Christianity, i.e. the theme of sin and redemption? Can we preach Christianity without preaching Christ?

I have trouble understanding why the very message that has brought people to Christ for thousands of years is all of the sudden something to be avoided. People don't come to Christianity because it entertains them, nor should we be "cloaking" our message - though some may indeed find the message subversive.

This doesn't mean beating people over the head with the Bible, but it does mean not being ashamed of the very message you seek to spread.

There seems to be a fear that if a movie is advertized as "too Christian" that it will keep people away. This is the real tragedy, the belief that an authentically Christian message will be unappealing. But if you speak to a convert, they always say that they became Christian because they came to know Christ, that he came into a fallen world and redeemed it.

It's easy to be nice, what is the real challenge and the real desire is to be holy.

1 Comments:

Anonymous shana sfo said...

All the fuss about "The Passion of the Christ" didn't keep people from it!

Perhaps Disney, which after all is quite secular and rather occultish in most of their offerings, AND is the main money behind the film, is the embarrassed party rather than the 'Christian right".

While Narnia books are very Christian, they are also a very entertaining. It could also be that the "Christianity" is downplayed in adverts & reviews by some just so those adults generally 'spooked' by Christian themes might be more willing to go & take the kids to be entertained.

It could be, too, that the "Christian right" is not using the expected vocabulary because it instictively knows whatever is said by anyone labeled "Christian Right" will likely be taken out of context and used against Christian causes. There may be more to this than we know.

Sad, though, that there can be mild profanity & sexual innuendo thrown at kids by a Jim Carey Grinch to rave reviews, but themes of redemption & sacrifice et al with a Christian flare is considered too controversial!

What a world!

12:28 PM  

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