The first thing we often do is to bash on how terrible and shallow the Christian media industry is and how it needs to dig a hole to bury itself in.
I can understand this hate and frustration. I have felt like I have been lied to with ridiculous standards of a Christian life and how easy it is, such as through the movies produced by Sherwood Baptist Church (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous). These movies show problems, but the easy-fix-it-method of believing in God will make your life good is everything true.
Sure, there seem to be stories that unfold that way, but that’s just the surface level. We don’t see the constant fighting, struggle, and failures that continue because we are sinful people that can’t do what we desire most: be perfect.
The stereotypical Christian media asset is purely pointed towards Christians who want to be comfortable and live with a feeling that God always has their back no matter what. They set unrealistic goals and tell us all we have to do is love God with all our heart. This is the biggest lie.
Whether it’s books, movies, or songs, there are some that stand out that can be healthy for the community. Ted Dekker is one of my favorite authors. He wasn’t raised in North America; he was raised among Indonesian headhunters. His perspective on Christianity is much different than your average American, and this refreshes the idea of the Gospel. Dekker’s thrillers don’t shove an obvious message of Christianity down your throat, but hints and background themes. Because of the imperfections and sins of the world, he doesn’t provide the ending you might like; they usually end with questions left unanswered.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of To Save A Life, it stood out among the other movies for two reasons: the cinematography was beautiful and the antagonist was the pastor’s kid, which is a huge break from the Christian movie stereotypes. Two other movies came to mind that I thought were different: Ragamuffin and Brennan. If you don’t know whom Rich Mullins and Brennan Manning are, look them up. Both were dirty and rotten people who don’t try to hide. Cussing and drinking like there’s no tomorrow, these men struggle every day trying to understand the love of God.
There was a movie that I can’t think of the name, but it was directed by Steve Taylor and shared a simple, interesting story within it. A character hurts his hand loading a van and curses as a reaction. His friend responds by addressing the language. This friend, later on, apologizes to the character stating he hurting his hand, not his choice of words, should have upset him.
This addresses a huge issue of the church that shouldn’t be an issue at all. Christians drinking, smoking, cussing, and so forth are looked down upon and even cast out by brothers and sisters. I remember having conversations with a friend at my church when he mentioned he saw a guy he looked up to smoking and didn’t believe he was a Christian anymore. I was dumbfounded, but the more I look at other people in the church, this same mentality was displayed. It’s quite depressing but shows we need to keep working with one another to address issues.
Sometimes Christian media can help us realize these are human beings we are dealing with, tax collectors and prostitutes, not angels of the Lord. Mainstream and stereotypical Christian media often support these ideas of striving for perfection and worshiping the Bible, giving into idolatry.
Christian media needs a change. A change to takeaway comfortability and making ourselves feel good. Let’s strive for challenges and accepting we are terrible people who have hope in a God that has sacrificed himself for us.
For more interesting information and discussions, please visit these links:
• Evan and Gordon Talk: Why Christian Media Is So Bad
• The Problem With Christian Films