theology in "secular" films

"The idea that Christians will go see films targeted at them has not been borne out by the marketplace. Christians, it turns out, see the same films as everyone else."

Here's an interesting piece by Thom Parham entitled Why Do Heathens Make the Best Christian Films. The author asks an interesting question in a thoughtful, well written article.

Here's another quote:

Christian filmmakers seem to believe that they do not have to compete in the mainstream market. Thus, storytelling and production values end up taking a backseat to the movie's message.

How Schaeffer-esque.

And yet another pithy statement:

"Christian filmmakers seem to dislike mystery."

In fact, I would apply that sentiment more broadly to include most of mainline and evangelical Christianity (that means churches, too). There seems almost to be a lust for certainty and factuality and a fear of mystery. I would suggest that that fear is what mystery is all about and leads us toward rather than away from God's presence. Yet people who remain unconvinced of the gospel generally seem more comfortable with uncertainty and than those who do.

Toward the end of the article, Parham points out that a slew of Christian films were actually made by Christian filmmakers. Catholic Christian filmmakers. I was going to take him to task for this, but can't question his choices, which include films by Hitchcock, Scorcese, Capra, and Coppola -- Catholics all. I've always maintained that Catholics have us mainstream and evangelical types completely snookered in the mystery department. And anyway, he qualified his remarks by saying,

"This isn't to say that non-Catholic Christian filmmakers are at a complete disadvantage when creating cinema. But the Protestant evangelical emphasis on the primacy of "word" has not allowed us to fully realize our ability to translate the image of God (imago Dei) into moving pictures."

Which may be the most insightful statement in the article. We sometimes forget that though the word is primary, it was made flesh for a reason.

Anyway, interesting read if you like films and theology.

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