Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Heart of God in Hollywood - part 3

Now that we have a better understand of the heart of God for hollywood, than what kind of movies should we make that will offer the type of impact that represents the heart of God at work?

Social Conscious Media

There is no question that God has a heart for people. When Jesus was asked which were the greatest commandments he responded by saying to first love God with all your heart, mind and soul and then to love your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t say “thou shalt not” because love is the fulfillment of the law. Media that expresses this concept is embracing the heart of God.

We are called to take care of people’s needs. Matthew 25:34-40 says, “Then the king will say to those on the right, come, you who are blessed by my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me; I was in prison and you visited me. Then those righteous ones will reply, Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and showed you hospitality? Or naked and gave you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you? And the king will tell them, I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” The New Living Bible. Films that express social injustice, prejudice, intolerance, hunger, or poverty are examples of how God can work to fulfill his desire for us to embrace Matthew 25:34-40.

Are we doing everything to make this world a better place? Are we expressing God’s love and mercy through our actions. These are many of the themes that today’s filmmakers can explore through socially conscious media.

Universal Themes

Universal themes speak to a broad audience on issues we can all relate to. They include hope, family, sacrifice, love, forgiveness, courage, determination, overcoming obstacles, the underdog, etc. These are central themes we can all find some level of agreement and common ground. They are perfect subject material for filmmakers and media makers to express God’s heart in these matters. They are essentially the building blocks of the Bible. Recent films include Slumdog Millionaire, Pursuit of Happiness, Freedom Writers, Great Debaters, and Sweetland.

Relevant and Timeless Themes

Movies and media that are both relevant and timeless speak to contemporary audiences about current affairs and issues and are also capable of being relevant to future audiences. The Best Years of our Lives from 1946 is a classic example of a story that was relevant after World War II and very capable of speaking to current generations. It is a story about returning World War II veterans attempting to readjust to civilian life. The issues expressed in this film are just as relevant today because many soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan facing similar difficulties. This is great filmmaking when you can be relevant to your age and speak to future audiences.

An example of a film that I believe is currently relevant and will also be timeless is Up in the Air. The film’s main theme strikes a nerve with today’s audiences because it highlights our current economic climate. With high unemployment being an issue on people’s minds, audiences can relate to this film because they can see themselves adrift wondering who they could count on or lean on in uncertain times. Up in the Air examines our lives in an impersonal culture that is becoming increasingly isolated from human contact. In some sense, we all feel like we are living up in the air as the characters in this film who are physically, emotionally, and professionally adrift.

The human condition can be very fragile. Life is always unpredictable. How do we handle these types of issues in uncertain times? Where is God in all of this? There are no better themes more relevant than the human condition. This is where people live. It’s how they feel. As media missionaries, these are timeless ideas worth exploring.

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