I Hate Christian Movies
They seem to come from some sort of fantasy land where all the Christians are kind and caring, all the churches are warm-hearted gatherings of people who unselfishly love each other, and all the atheists (or whoever the enemy protagonists are) are truly hateful and angry. People in them doing evangelistic work are even-tempered, wise, and lovingly concerned for those they are witnessing to. And always, always, through kindly exposing false beliefs, sacrificially giving support, and being living examples of Christ-like love they succeed in winning souls. At the end of the movies there are no loose ends, no failures, and, of course, no sense that perhaps the Christian’s own views may need to be rethought.
When I contrast the Neverland world of those movies with the world I actually live in I get depressed. Evangelism goes on here too. But most often it comes across as a desperate fight against a decaying culture. I hear the message that world is bad, needs to repent, and become like us. I hear proclamations that the morals, beliefs, and standards we have are not only the foundation of America, but that which is needed to reverse a terrible, declining culture. There is a message, spoken or assumed, that if people just believed, lived, and acted like us, America would be a much better place.
Spokespersons and leaders of Evangelical Christianity almost weekly make public statements repeating this theme. I have seen so many articles and quotes in the past month or so that are dire warnings that the world is bad, needs to repent and become more like us in values and lifestyle that I could insert 50 links to show them. A prevailing sentiment seems to suggest that if we would just return to an idyllic past where everything was seemingly simple and clean, things would be so much better. It is that idyllic siren call that populates Christian movies.
So, since I can’t move to Christian movie land how do I actually live out my faith in front of others? I don’t think it is sharing messages like this one from John Piper: “Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way.” My wife’s cousin has been in a same sex relationship for longer than the 44 years she and I have been married. It is a little late for the message of imminent calamity. I need to love them now, and not keep waiting until they are hit by that tidal wave.
Living out our faith can’t be warnings about God’s wrath about to fall. Somebody told me recently that the approval of same sex marriage in our country means that we have declared our intention as a nation to not only disobey but celebrate that disobedience and that, for sure, God will not stand for celebrating something clearly prohibited in both the OT and the NT. Of course, both the OT and the NT tell us clearly that we should worship the Lord God and serve only Him and the US has been not only ignoring that but celebrating our religious freedom to do that and so far His wrath has not fallen.
Our message can’t be that same sex marriage, or abortion, or any other sin is wrong, wrong, wrong. It has to be how do we love those who disagree? Our message has to be that we are seriously concerned about the logs in our own eyes. It has to be that, as much as we feel a life in Christ is beautiful and joy-filled, we are going to go right on loving people who don’t agree. The only alternative seems to be to go home and watch Christian movies.