The thing that I’m worried about is the fact that the two big films of 2004 were The Passion of the Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11. And what were they? They were basically two very extreme films. They were both promoted within these incestual little Petrie dishes, whether it was to liberal Democrats or to conservative Christians. What both these films tapped is the point here. The Passion, in the long run, probably didn’t have that big of an effect because a lot of Christians were the ones who went to see it. Fahrenheit 9/11 didn’t have that big of an impact, at least not as big as the Republicans were all worried about, because it was a bunch of lean-hard liberals who went and saw it. It just proves one thing: that people will get really excited and spend a lot of money for ‘their thing.’
So I’m hoping that we move away from that and embrace broader films that help share the story. Why does it have to be a ‘Christian’ film? I don’t know if you saw it, but at the same exact time The Passion came out, a film called In America was playing. The Christian Science Monitor called me and asked me to go review The Passion . So I went and saw the film, and I said to the Monitor, ‘You know what? I saw In America the night before I saw The Passion. If I were to invite the people in my neighbourhood to talk about the issue of redemption, I would invite them to In America. I mean, it’s an amazing, powerful script.’
The problem is that you never hear a pastor or anyone anywhere say, ‘I challenge all of you right now to go out to our information booth. We have In America tickets available. In fact, we rented the entire theatre. We want you to bring your neighbourhoods to see this film.’
I think we need to start embracing films that might not be considered ‘Christian’ a little more. We live in a Christian ghetto that says, ‘If they’re not for us, they must be against us. Anybody who practices faith, meditation or prayer is evil if their focus isn’t Jesus.’ Then we embrace criminals and crooks from the business world, bring them in and pay them high dollars to train our pastor to run churches as if the pastors were CEOs. And now some of these business crooks are in jail.
From page 88 of Practitioners – voices within the emerging church, published by Regal 2005