Hollywood and God – The Reel Story

Hollywood and God – The Reel Story

“Art is the embodiment of man’s response to reality and his attempt to order his experience of that reality. Man has always and will continue to express his hope and excitement, as well as his fears and reservations about life, death, and what it means to be human through the arts. He will seek to express his world through all available means, and presently that includes film.” – Todd Kappelman of Probe Ministries.

“Too many film critics and scholars have underestimated (or even missed) the transcendent, revelatory possibilities of film.” – Craig Detweiler from his book, Into the Dark

For a long time I have kicked around the idea of doing a discussion series on current films in light of their spiritual and cultural significance. I love movies! (Almost as much as ice cream.) The seed for this was planted long ago as I watched a film called “The Emperors Club” starring Kevin Kline. The topics of integrity and truth telling nearly jumped off the screen and sat in my lap begging to be talked about. It occurred to me that I might not be alone in wanting to explore how Hollywood flicks could convey scriptural truths in a way that mimics Jesus storytelling via the use of parables. This idea was reinforced when we (Grace Chapel) launched the “Just Walk Across the Room” effort to reach our neighbors with the gospel. One of the suggestions was to invite a friend or neighbor who wasn’t a believer to a movie night. Afterwards, talking about the movie could lead to some serious dialog about the human condition and God’s answer. Several years have passed and the timing never seemed right to attempt a discussion series like this. Until now! With the encouragement, support and involvement of two other likeminded movie freaks…

Enter “The Reel Story”, a planned adventure into the movies of our day to discover what the Spirit, who still calls, might be saying to us as well as to a world that isn’t even expecting to hear from Him.

Dan Rose, Matt Lesniak and I have been scouring the archives of recent and not so recent films in order to come up with the top three films to launch this project. The list went through several revisions and it was remarkable how many films we shared in common because of the great themes for discussion embedded in them. Our goal and hope is that, by viewing and interacting with these films together in a group setting we can catch a glimpse of the work of God behind the scenes (no pun intended).

The format will be simple…gather, watch a good movie, talk about it, go home with a fresh insight or two into life, truth and God’s work in the world. This will be open to all, church family, friends, neighbors, those who are searching for some answers. It will be a great way to keep our minds and hearts on tip toe through the long hot summer. We will meet once a month, in June, July and August. This is a pilot program; we didn’t want to try to bite off more than we could chew with schedules and such.

What are the top three films you ask? In June we will view and discuss the incredibly popular and highly controversial film “Avatar”. July’s selection will be “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and we will round things out with ‘The Dark Knight” in August.

Jesus said that the work of the Spirit is like the wind blowing where it will; the evidence is only the rustle of leaves and the way it feels across our skin. Perhaps together we can catch a glimpse of branches swaying in the breeze as these scenes pass before our eyes.

The dates are June 25, July 23 and August 20. Give us a shout if you want to know more. Or check out the bulletin and announcements at church.

5 Comments

  1. Char Schwedland

    Hey you guys did a wonderful job! What a fun way to spend a Friday night! I did enjoy the discussion and look forward to telling others about the project and sharing insights with a neighbor.

  2. Glenn

    I’d heard some talk about “Reel Story” around the church so I visited on August 30 for the “Dark Knight” showing. While I have found Batman movies somewhat dark and disturbing, the discussion after the showing offered great insights that could be shared with someone who has viewed the movie. I loved the concept and hope the project will continue beyond this pilot.

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