My last post, about the movie “Fireproof,” has been one of the most successful posts I have made. By successful I mean a couple of things – my object with this blog is not to convince anyone of anything. I am not trying to tell you how to feel or think or believe. I am simply sharing some insights or thoughts I have about a variety of topics. My goal is to start conversations, or to help people think of things in ways that they hadn’t before.
To me, a successful post is one that: a. a lot of people read, and b. people think about and react to. On an objective level, this can be measured by the number of visits and the number of comments.
My fireproof post was one of the most successful posts on both counts. Now, the term “a lot” is relative. Anytime one of my posts goes over 50 hits, I consider it “a lot.” So far, the Fireproof post has had 63, and has a chance at becoming the most viewed post in this blog. It also has brought forth several comments, including a running dialog. To me, this is fantastic.
It seems clear that this movie has hit a chord with a lot of people. Those that like the movie claim that its message is powerful and has been inspiring to people in the context of their marriage relationship. The message (apparently, I still haven’t seen it) is that God must be in the center of a marriage. I certainly believe in that, and have preached that on more than one occasion.
On the other side is the fact that Kirk Cameron is the star of the movie. Some Christians believe him to be a good representative of all that is wrong with American evangelical conservative Christianity. In this, I mostly agree. I am not completely familiar with his work, but I find the movie “Left Behind,” which thrust him into his current role within some Christian communities, to be dangerous and antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it.
So, where does this leave us? Should I ignore the movie, or even actively try to dissuade people from seeing it, for fear that it might inadvertently lead them down paths I would certainly want people to avoid? Or should I see the movie and use it as an evangelical tool to guide people in Christian marriage?
As usual, when I am faced with a decision that appears to boil down to options A or B, I choose option 3. I have determined that I am going to see Fireproof. So as not to support the production of it financially, I am going to try to borrow it from a library. After watching it, I will be better able to enter into a conversation with those that have experienced grace from it. But I am probably not going to be putting up movie posters or host a community showing.
3 responses to “Fireproof stirs something”
A very similar debate to the one taking place here arose around Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”. I found the movie to be very disturbing even before I had seen it – predominantly because of the anti-Jewish undertones. I was also very concerned about supporting any movie that contained an anti-Jewish message. However, in the end I decided to see the movie and then to organize and interfaith panel of Jewish and Christian leaders to respond to the movie.
That being said – I have not seen “Fireproof”. I think your choice to borrow it is a good one. However, I do agree with your original post that we need to enter into the dialogue, and that may mean going to see such movies in the theater. Is this supporting the production of bad theology? Maybe, but frankly your $8 is a very small drop in a very big ocean of profits. The negative contribution of said “drop” would vastly be outweighed by your ability to respond and help people pull the positive elements from the movie while warning against any dangerous theological themes.
Now, even thought I have not seen the movie, I would guess that there are some very good points to it, but it would not surprise me if there were some dangerous parts the “sneak under the radar.” When I tell people that I do not like “The Passion of the Christ” because of the anti-Jewish themes, many people say that those themes were blown out of proportion by the liberal mainline churches and media. I then remind them that after that movie was produced hate-crimes against Jewish communities spiked across the nation and particularly in St. Louis. I have also heard directly from people who cite “The Passion of if the Christ” as justification to use violence against Israeli Jews. Does this mean there is nothing valuable in “The Passion…” or that anyone who saw it was supporting evil? No. Some people have very profound spiritual insights from seeing the movie and grow in their faith. However, it helps to have a pastor or spiritual leader who has seen the movie and is able to guide folks in pulling out those spiritual moments and warn about any dangerous or malicious theology.
Sorry for the long post – good discussion.
Eric – Thanks for your insight. That is a really good comparison.