First up is an older Newsweek interview with Madeleine L’Engle. I went to a writing conference in the Pacific Northwest eons ago where she was the keynote speaker during the two or three days we were there. I remember less of what she said (my notes are buried in some box somewhere, I’m sure) than who she was. I’ve met some famous people, but this is one of the only times I remember when someone was even grander and larger-in-life than in my expectations.
The most memorable impression I carry with me is that she is formidable. As odd as this may sound, in Tolkien’s world she would have held her own and then some if she’d stood against Gandolf (though there’s no doubt she would have been on his side). L’Engle the White, she would have been.
Here’s a taste of the interview:
So to you, faith is not a comfort?Then there’s Barbara Nicolosi and her Church of the Masses blog post where she discusses the Christian-made film effort, Facing the Giants. Nicolosi (scriptwriter, speaker and founder of Act One) has cropped up on this blog before and I share similar concerns about the Christian filmmaking industry. While I’ve not met Nicolosi in person, I find her voice (like L’Engle’s) to be somewhat formidable. And, in my world, that makes her a joy to read. Here’s a taste of her post:
Good heavens, no. It’s a challenge: I dare you to believe in God. I dare you to think [our existence]wasn’t an accident.
Many people see faith as anti-intellectual.
Then they’re not very bright. It takes a lot of intellect to have faith, which is why so many people only have religiosity.
I have taken to calling "Able Christians", those who are committed to giving God beautiful, first fruits kind of work. We talk about excellence alot and "the demands of beauty*"(JPII, Letter to Artists) and professionalism and the rigors of the craft. We talk about being missionaries to Planet Hollywood, and how God is much more interested in the people making movies than in the movies being made. We are always wrestling with making projects true AND commercial, beautiful and mainstream. Not because we want the money of studio success, but because we believe that the Gospel needs to be preached to those who haven't heard it, to those who might never wander into a church.Now go read the rest of their words and--whether you agree with them or not--taste some good God-talk. Again, thanks to Elliot at Claw of the Conciliator (a novel, by the way, which I've just started) for posting the links and excerpts of L'Engle and Nicolosi's words as well.
In contrast to this movement of Christian artists, are the ones who are yearning to replicate the Christian Contemporary Music model in Hollywood with a Christian Contemporary Cinema. The goal of these folks seems to be to create fantasy movies for Christians, made by Christians, and paid for by Christians.
Facing the Giants from any serious perspective is a fantasy film. Its message is very dangerous for Christians, and scandalous for pagans. Adult Evangelical Christians watching Facing the Giants is like sex addicts watching the Spice Channel. (Nope. Not going to take it back.)
(Images: L’Engle, Copyright © 2006 Random House; Nicolosi, BarbaraNicolosi.com)