I read this post from Salon recently that asked the question, “Why are Christian movies so awful?” I was intrigued by its title question, because if I’m honest, I’ve asked it before myself.
I was especially struck by writer Andrew O’Hehir’s statement here:
“But when we use the buzzword “Christian” in contemporary American society, we’re talking about a distinctively modern cultural and demographic phenomenon that has almost no connection to the spiritual and intellectual tradition that fueled Dante and Milton and Leonardo and Bach.”
This question — why the awfulness of Christian movies — begs a logical follow-up question. What, exactly, is a Christian movie? How would you define a “Christian film”? The movie’s message relates to the gospel? The plot is taken from a scene in the Bible? The motive behind making the movie is to tell people about Jesus? Or perhaps the majority of the film’s moviemakers follow the teachings of Christ?
I’m honestly not sure.
His post does bring up a thoughtful topic — whether faith fuels your work. The artists brought up by O’Hehir — Dante, Milton, Leonardo, and Bach — produced some of the world’s most brilliant displays of majesty, and at the heart of their work lies a similar passion — devotion to Christ.
Scene from Chariots of Fire
To be fair, there are plenty more movies than the few listed by O’Hehir. Arts & Faith has compiled a list of their Top 100 Films, and they’ve included some definite classics. Also a number of controversial ones.
But even a quick glance at this compilation begs the same question — what is a Christian film?
So today I thought it would be fun to discuss this: What is a Christian movie? What do you think?
There are also plenty of follow-up questions. How does your faith fuel your passion and work? How directly does “Christian” art need to point to Jesus? Are these questions valid for other art media — music and writing, for instance?
And of course, there’s the first question — Do you think Christian movies are awful?
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.Leave a Comment