Going to the Movies

Going to the Movies

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When was the last time you quoted or referenced a movie to help explain something to someone?

We all do it, right? Even if we’ve never seen the movie, we recognize quotes like “Go ahead, make my day,” or “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Why? Because movies (and TV and YouTube) are part of our shared heritage as modern Americans. Because movies are powerful influencers in our society.

Unfortunately, much what they portray does not paint the Christian worldview in a positive light. So what am I supposed to do with them?

Cover my ears and eyes so I won’t be polluted by the trash and twisted truths?

Protest every movie that promotes agendas I don’t approve of?

Or, should I be using movies, imperfect as they are, to reach hurting people?

In Too Christian, Too Pagan, Dick Staub says:

…film is not always the enemy. It can be our ally. It allows us a window on the world to better see and understand people God loves. It facilitates dialogue … It provides what we need to tailor the gospel message for today’s generation.

I have been thinking about those words ever since I read them. They challenge me, yet they also resonate with my spirit.

Movies are a window into the soul of our culture.

They cross cultural, generational, and socio-economic boundaries. They give us a glimpse of what people are thinking, feeling and searching for. What they believe, what they are afraid of, what they wonder about. The questions people ask and the answers our society has for those issues.

Film is also a picture of today’s theology. It helps us understand what people believe about God and man’s relationship with God. Dick Staub

And isn’t that understanding necessary in order to bring a message of life to a hurting world in a way that resonates?

Perhaps I can choose not to be offended that non-Christian movie writers and producers create art that promotes non-Christian thinking.

Perhaps, instead of passively watching, I ought to be looking for the underlying messages and then comparing them with the truth of the gospel.

Perhaps I ought to be looking for opportunities to dialogue with neighbors and coworkers about the movies I watch, the questions they raised, and my views on the answers to those questions.

For all of us who have put on the new self there are movies that are beyond the pale, movies we have no business viewing. But there are other movies that—while they may make us a little uncomfortable—are worth seeing, because they help us understand the hurting people who surround us and give us a non-threatening way to broach certain topics.

I can continue to think of movies merely as passive entertainment, or I can consider them a potential tool for dialoguing with others about God and his truth. The choice is up to me.

And you.


Photo by Salvatore Vuono via freedigitialphoto.net

About Lisa Betz

Lisa Betz writes from an empty nest perched on a wooded Pennsylvania hillside. When not volunteering at the church or library, she blogs about intentional living and writes historical mysteries.


  1. I so agree with this, Lisa. I find movies and TV are good ways to talk to people about what they are dealing with today and that helps me talk about my own experiences and how God has helped me through.

    Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Being in the world but not of it can be such a struggle. I always appreciate wisdom about how to find that balance, even when it convicts me. Why is it so difficult to see God working even in the stuff of life that looks so ungodly? He is creator of everything, after all.

  3. Janet K Brown (@janetkbrowntx) says:

    Good thought, Lisa. I had never thought of movies as a witnessing tool. In a workshop I do for writers, I use “Air Force One” to explain plotting. I found this post thought provoking. Thanks.

  4. I was challenged by this idea too. But it makes so much sense, especially if we intentionally watch movies that enable fruitful discussions afterward.

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