MOVIES: Redeeming the art

by Phil Boatwright, posted Monday, March 02, 2015 (3 years ago)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) -- In my grandfather's day, going to the movies was a sin. Indeed, when movies first came on the scene, Christian leaders believed this new art form would lead their flocks to fallow fields. Ironically, now more than ever that view has merit.

Contemporary films and television aim at our baser instincts and serve to promote secularism over religious substance, many viewers believe.

Fortunately, there are still those who use cinema and television to suggest the omniscient stature of God and the need for us to explore the most lasting component of the human makeup -- the spiritual.

Three films are among such offerings this month, including cinema and DVDs. Additionally, CNN is airing a series on Jesus.

Do You Believe? follows a handful of characters' personal journeys through lives riddled with problems all too familiar with our own.

While most blockbuster wannabes avoid the subject of the soul altogether, this movie successfully addresses the subject artistically and emotionally. The common theme of securing a spiritual equilibrium is handled convincingly in this set of intertwining stories.

How wonderful to see veteran acting pros such as Mira Sorvino, Cybil Shepherd, Lee Majors, Robert Forrester, Delroy Lindo and Ted McGinley in a film about the need for faith. It is something sorely missed in most faith-based productions -- actors who have mastered emotional range. This movie proves that a movie containing spiritual values can be done effectively when producers employ those who know how to tell a story and those who know how to act it out.

From the producers of "God's Not Dead," Do You Believe? opens in theaters March 20.

Where Was God? This 89-minute documentary concerning the destruction caused by tornadoes that ripped through Moore, Okla., and Joplin, Mo., in 2013 will have a limited theatrical release in mid-March before being released on DVD May 1st.

Though this is a difficult film to view because of the sadness and grief portrayed, it's importance lies in its presentation of issues such as sacrifice, salvation, love, guilt, anger, devastation and bonding with our fellowman. The production will move us and cause us to appreciate not only "what" we have, but "who" we have.

Information on the release of the film is at

In Plain Sight: Stories of Hope and Freedom Previously spotlighted in Baptist Press, this DVD reminds us that our Christian service extends beyond Sunday worship, and encourages us to fight evil wherever and whenever it attacks. An inspiring documentary, it features the work of six female abolitionists as they battle against sex trafficking in the United States.

Occasionally, a motion picture can reveal and offer solutions to injustice. Sex trafficking is happening in your state, not just elsewhere. Though it seems incomprehensible, it's probably happening in your city. Right now.

CNN's Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery is a six-week series closely assessing poignant moments in history such as the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The first episode aired March 1. According to promotions, the series is intended to investigate the many mysteries of the Bible. The first investigation covers the Shroud of Turin, the cloth supposedly used as Jesus' burial wrap after his crucifixion.

The fact that CNN is doing a series on Jesus is surprising. But remember Nathanael's statement in John 1:46 when he learned Jesus was from Nazareth: "Nazareth, can anything good come from there?" Well, something very good came from Nazareth, or CNN.

The first segment was highlighted with interviews by theologians, devout historians and scientists, and was mixed with dramatic segments that graphically portrayed the crucifixion of Christ. These live-action visuals detailing the torture and suffering of Jesus were not suitable for children. They did, however, as in "The Passion of the Christ," remind adults of what man did to the Son of God, and what He did for us.

If the series goes in the same direction as the first segment, Finding Jesus will prove an affirmative way to spend a Sunday evening.

In April, look for the NBC series "A.D. The Bible Continues." The program starts with Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, and leads into an epic telling of the complicated birth of the early church.

In addition to writing for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for and is a regular contributor to "The World and Everything In It," a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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