Just as book clubs read a book each month and then come together for discussion, a Sunday School class or several friends or couple groups might want to view a film together and then discuss it. Such interaction could greatly enrich their understanding of what is happening in society. Or, once a month a church could view a contemporary movie on Sunday evening and have a discussion with finger foods and desert. Many churches do not have a Sunday evening service because everyone is staying home to watch television. Most churches can afford to buy a large screen television. They can use the movies as a valuable teaching tool to make the Gospel relevant to people who have become visual learners.
Some people object to watching movies that have sex, violence or foul language. This whole issue comes under the category of 'doubtful things' discussed by the apostle Paul in Romans 14. Simply put: Christians will always differ over how sex, violence and foul language is used in the arts. Listed are six possible positions.
Bash It Separate completely from it. This is the monastary or convent approach that was used in the Middle Ages. It failed.
Baptize It Culture is ahead of the church so we ought to absorb it like a spong taking in water if we want to be relevant.
Photo-copy It Create a shadow culture: Christian Rock or Rap music; Christian aerobic classes; Christian basketball teams. Entertain the masses but slip the gospel in on them when they least suspect.
Change It Challenge the arts through legal means or social pressure, or 'boycott evangelism.'
Debate It Must view and hear the world's art in order to speak the gospel intelligently to unbelievers.
Ignore It This is very hard to do since we are surrounded by it. Most likely these persons are involved in the world's culture more than they realize (especially if they play the radio or watch Tv).
Here are some suggested guide lines for film discussion.
What scenes were the most vivid?
What use was made of music?
Were the actors well suited to their parts.
Did the film have more of a visual or verbal impact?
Were the camera angles distracting or enhancing?
What was your mood while watching it?
What was the audience reaction to different parts?
How did you interact with the different characters?
What were the choices and consequences of the different characters?
Will the film be popular? Why or why not.
What is the central theme of the movie?
Why should anyone see or not see this film?
How does the message of this film fit with your understanding of Christianity?
My wife and I see movies which we think have a message for our culture. Even though some movies are a box office smash (e.g.Mike Myers, zanny trilogy spoofing James Bond), we do not necessarily attend them. However, such movies probably indicate how ignorant and shallow most Americans are when it comes to movies. We then talk with friends about what we have seen and recomend it to them if we think it is worthy. I especially do this at work to draw out others and see where they are in their worldview. I hope the reader will begin using the questions given above to help him/her to analyze films and use them as evangelistic opportunities with family, friends and co-workers.