Skip to main content

What kinds of films should Christians make?

I vote for the good kind - and so does Barbara Nicolosi.

In "Escaping the Creative Ghetto," posted today by Christianity Today, Nicolosi calls for the church to rethink its attitude and concept of “Christian” filmmaking – and those who engage in the art.

The whole church needs to brood over what it means to be the Patron of the Arts in a post-Christian setting. We need to wrangle over how best to nurture our young artists and media professionals, and how to maximize the influence of those Christians with talent and charisma. But first of all, we need to figure out what success in Hollywood will look like for the Christian community. What does a Christian worldview mean in entertainment, and will our own brothers and sisters in the church recognize it when our artists start producing it?
For one thing, it means getting beyond making films for ourselves and about “safe” subjects:

When we speak of achieving a "Christian cinema," we don't mean a creative ghetto for us to come together and make product all by ourselves and for ourselves. . . [O]ur efforts in entertainment cannot be limited to making movies about saints and the Bible, as though we have nothing to say to the modern world about anything that is not part of our subculture. Borrowing from St. Paul, Christians in entertainment don't have to be always talking about God. They should be talking about everything in a godly way.

And it's all about posing the questions - and not necesarily delivering a neatly-wrapped answer:

A movie can show the ramifications of a worldview, but it gets in real trouble when it starts articulating worldviews. Christians will never have real success in Hollywood until we accept that simply delivering the Truth will not help the audience. We must allow the audience to wrestle with the Truth. We need to have the simple trust of the sower who casts seeds out on the ground and then moves on, believing that somebody else will come along to till, weed, and harvest.
She lists some themes filmmakers can explore, and then concludes:

The principal reason for the moral confusion that ends up on the screen is the paucity of happy, well-catechized believers in the entertainment industry. We do not have enough witnesses to Christ living and loving and working alongside the witnesses to Mammon or secular humanism that have overrun the creative community. We do not have enough thoughtful, godly filmmakers who can draw compelling stories from a mature faith experience.

The world does not need a "Christian cinema" so much as it needs Christians in cinema.

We do not need our churches to set up production companies and make movies. We need the church to approach Hollywood as a missionary territory, to preach and teach and minister.

We need a new generation of artist-apostles to come to the industry with humility and pastoral love.

Amen. This is a call many Christians in the arts have been making for years, and it’s nice to hear it again. Here's to bringing more God-talk into the open spaces.

(Image by emdot)