Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Media and the Future of Christianity part 3

Every Christian can impact the culture through media by learning how to use it wisely. How do we start? It begins with media literacy, which is about understanding the meaning and purpose behind the messages which are communicated through media and entertainment. It is about understanding the impact it has on society as well as the individual. This concept should be taught throughout the Church to every individual regardless of their age.

Everybody uses media. Not understanding how it works would be like not knowing how to read and write. To say “No” to our children without giving them a reason or understanding of why not is no longer effective. We must teach them to have a discriminating inner vision. That comes from understanding media literacy.

Today there are many Christians in the entertainment industry who are subtly creating an influence in current films like Amazing Grace and Bella. Amazing Grace opened in March 2007 in over 1,000 theatres and grossed nearly $22 million. It is based on the life of an anti-slavery pioneer, William Wilberforce, who helped abolish slave trade in England in the early nineteenth century. It is a fine example of how Christians got behind the film to make it a success. Bella is set for theatrical release in the next few weeks. Bella is a story that shows how one day in New York City changed three people’s lives forever. It is a powerful, passionate film that affirms life and the choices we make. It may require some research on our part to find movies that support Christian values, but it is well worth it.

How do we support films like these? Nothing is more important than the opening weekend of a film. If we do not go to see films like Amazing Grace and Bella the first weekend of their showing, the likelihood is that they will not be there the next week. If Hollywood sees more support for these kinds of films, they will produce more. One thing for sure is that Hollywood understands money, and we can vote with our dollars.

Most importantly, we all can pray for Christians who work in the entertainment industry. When the Hollywood Prayer Network posed the question to Christians, “Should we be praying for Hollywood?” The response was that they had not even thought of praying for Hollywood. The Hollywood Prayer Network identifies key leaders that need to be lifted in prayer. They offer resources and insights into what we should be praying for. But the bottom line is we are all called to pray for Christians working in Hollywood, as well as to pray for nonChristians.

You can contact the Hollywood Prayer Network at hollywoodprayernetwork.org. They have a listing of prayer requests for each day.

We can also call our pastors and inform them when we find movies that are worthy of our support. We can write our local paper or news outlet and encourage them to write an article about an upcoming movie with a positive and uplifting message worth spending our dollars for.

We can reach out to our friends and our communities and tell them about a movie worth watching. Or we can form a small group at church and have a monthly film night where we watch a film and discuss its meaning afterward.

Thanking your local theater manager for playing films that support positive values may encourage him to show more of these films. But make sure you support the theater by going to see them. Theater managers usually receive complaints only. Let’s give them feedback on the positive movies.

These are only a few things we can do that can make a huge difference. If we really want to change the culture, it requires everybody working together. But it will come at a cost. It requires effort, commitment, time and resources. It requires us to become actively involved in what we see and hear. It requires us to take responsibility for the current condition of our culture. If anything is going to change, it starts with us.

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