double features

Two passions kinda animate me. One is biblical exposition with texts like gospel and epistle and prophecy. The other is cultural exposition with texts like advertisement and lyric and movie.

Take movies for example...



If I was a (youth) pastor I'd organise a retreat for the leadership team in which we watch a double feature of High School Musical and Invisible Children. I watched it last night and it provoked this post. We'd ask how the characters in the two movies answer the two big questions of life: Identity (who am I?) and Destiny (why am I here?) ... before finishing with some biblical exposition on how God answers those questions - and then make our response as a team.






If I was a pastor I'd organise a retreat for the leadership team in which we watch a double feature of Chocolat and As It Is In Heaven. They have similar settings, similar plotlines, and similar characters. We'd let the movies speak both literally and figuratively to us. Then we'd ask how the characters (and the director, for that matter) in the movies open up issues like community and leadership and sin - thereby opening the way for us to respond with thoughts about mission and salvation ... before finishing with some biblical exposition on what it means to be church - and then make our response as a team.




Maybe you can beat me to it (as I am not a pastor!) and tell me how you get on...

nice chatting

Paul

Comments

Tash said…
I see you that challenge .. and raise you this ...

put aside a weekend and go down to the local 'good' video store. Take out every film Peter Weir has ever made, starting with 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' through to Fearless and more recent offerings.

watch and wonder at the development of the director's spirituality and wrestling with themes of faith, spirit and church along with the political & historical chronology of when the films were made.

I like to think that watching a film is entertaining, about engaging with the actors passionate retelling of a story .. but mostly, it's about getting inside the head of the director to see things how they see them - which leads to a great deal of questioning about who the most 'influential' people in hollywood are.

i then breathe with relief that Tom Cruise chose acting and not directing as his craft!
Andrew Butcher said…
I'd add to that list, The Big Kahuna - very interesting film. Divided We Fall (a Czech film set in WW2) offers some interesting discussion about ethics in a time of war. Being There (Peter Sellars), American Beauty, and any M Night Shymalan films are also good. And The Simpsons, for many reasons, not least its own view of and contribution to (American)popular culture.
Jyoti said…
Hey Paul,

A man was walking past a church in Twickenham - over on the North Island, or should that be Island in the North! The Sunday evening service was an exploration of Bridget Jones' Diary. What kind of crazy church features Bridget Jones, he wondered - but he had to check it out.

He was intrigued by the service, joined Alpha, gave his heart to Jesus, and recently went part-time on a top flight City job in order to serve the church.

Once a month on Sunday evenings we have movie week (Truman Show, Spiderman, Harry Potter, etc) at our church and it has been amazing in reaching people who have never had any truck with the Christian faith before.
Paul Windsor said…
Yes, one day I will watch all these movies! I do like what you say about the director, Tash. Directors are every bit the preacher as the person behind the lectern. Hollywood preaches, make no mistake about it ... and while the actors get most of the attention, I am finding myself increasingly drawn to asking questions about what the director is doing and why.
Paul Windsor said…
Hi Jyoti - I am not surprised Bridget Jones' Diary sparked that kind of fruit. If Paul was doing his Athens thing today (Acts 17 - starting with a line from a poet) I reckon movies, advertisments, and lyrics of songs would each grab his imagination. As I like to tell students: 'Paul was flexible enough to start there but also creative enough to get from there to Jesus'. That is a skill we need to recover...
On the Bridget Jones idea - one of my favourite discussion starters is to play the opening five minutes of Bridget Jones Diary and then the first five minutes of About a Boy ... and throw that into an identity/destiny discussion. Talk about pre-evangelistic potential!