November 22, 2005

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

In preparation for the movie The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, I am trying to read through the book. I just finished The Magician's Nephew. My work got advance tickets for the movie to see it the night before it opens to the public.

In thinking about this movie, I wonder what the role of the Church should be in regards to the promotional hype. Mel Gibson's The Passiono of the Christ became a promotional priority for the Church. "The best evangelistic tool in 2,000 years!" read one misguided promotional piece. I bet the creator of that piece would have sold tickets to the crucifixion if they thought they could spin its evangelistic appeal. Hopefully time machines will never be invented.

But it does raise the question, "What is our role in the Church?" Should we not promote movies that illustrate godly principles? Why not movies such as Hotel Rwanda? That movie definitely has a message for today's church. Why are we not promoting Beyond the Gates of Splendor?

I think we are fickle. We pick and choose what "fits" us, and avoid things that may actually challenge us. One minute we are picketing and boycotting Disney, the next we are promoting their movies for them. All they have to do is choose a movie that appeals to pop theology, and "the church" will do the rest.

I think this demonstrates our programmed response to evangelism. For most people, evangelism is a program, a technique, a style. But evangelism is really a lifestyle. How can we expect people to want anything to do with the church if all they ever see and hear from us is hate and judgment? Sometimes it would be better to keep our mouths shut than to "take a stand" against something. In my own denomination they separate compassionate ministry from evangelism. Is there really a separation? I don't think so. Compassionate outreach to others and the Good News of God's Kingdom should go hand in hand. I think it would certainly be more effective.

How would people view the church differently if they saw the Church giving as much as they are asking?

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