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Movies Out of this World

I just read a fascinating book: Rumors of Another World by Phillip Yancey. I've read other works of his in the past. He is an interesting soul with some unique viewpoints of life and religion. Within its 244 pages, I found a lot of nuggets including the quote below from Michelangelo.

So now from this mad passion

Which made me take art for an idol and a king

I have learnt the burden of error that it bore.

And what misfortune springs from man's desires.

The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time.

That I was given for reflecting upon God.

I'm an author and a filmmaker of Christian materials. My daily work brings me into contact with creative types from both media. I get the impression from many of them that despite the fact that their lips speak of working for God, the primary motivation for their efforts appear to be personal in nature. Face it, folks. There is great glory to be obtained by being a figure in the public eye. And lucrative financial blessings can follow. Not many can withstand the challenge of success. Human nature craves recognition and acceptance.

Both of those things also appeal to secular film makers. Thus there is inbuilt conflict of interest for those seeking to serve the Savior through media. The temptation is great to let that art become an idol as Michelangelo pointed out so many years ago. Even if Christian film makers don't get caught up in the ego trip trap, they might start to glorify the art of movie making. For some reason the world gets the notion that things pertaining to God have to be opulent and flashy. God's dealings with the world seem to usually not employ those hype techniques. He seems to take delight in confounding the worldly wise things and people of the world with the simple and imperfect. Ironically, for some of those film makers who stress striving for quality of production facets of films, a suggestion that they live a life of highest quality leads to protests using the words legalism, grace, and judgmental.

Entertainment can serve as an idol for both producer and consumer. Check out this essay by Franklin Graham.

We've become a world obsessed by entertainment whether it is media related or golf or cruises or mountain climbing or whatever. And while we're off enjoying our leisure time and excess financial resources, who is taking care of the widows and orphans, as described in the Bible as pure religion? Christian movie makers need to produce films that educate believers in their faith and exhort them to become disciples at the same time they provide entertainment. And film viewers need to support them in their efforts - but not put them on any kind of pedestal.

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