Friday, January 28, 2011

The Exorcist, Getting the Hell Scared Out of You - Part 4

Can mainstream Hollywood movies made by nonbelievers have the ability to change your life and lead you toward God? Can they communicate truth? Do they have the power to challenge the decisions we make and the life we pursue? Absolutely. I am a living example. (see part 1 ) Yes, it can do all of the above and more. Here are just a few other examples of films that convey truth and have the potential to lead viewers toward a relationship with God.

Lars and the Real Girl from 2009 portrays one of the best examples of Christian community that I have ever seen in any film. The film is a reflection of I John 3:18 which says, “My children, we should love people not only with words and talk but by our actions and true caring.” NCV Lars is a lonely, shy and socially inept young man living in a converted garage behind the house of his brother and sister-in-law. Lars is suffering from some sort of emotional and psychological disorder. As crazy as the plot sounds, he believes that a life-like doll that he orders online is actually a real person. His family and, more importantly, his Christian community rally around him in love and grace to help him in his recovery. It’s a beautiful story and a perfect example of Christian love at work. What we find in Lars and the Real Girl is a Christian community we all hope for—unconditional love, acceptance, and redemption.

And finally, Dogma offers a view of Christianity, especially Catholics, that some may find offensive. Many believe that it mocked and questioned conventional theology about the nature of God. The film was directed by Kevin Smith who is well-known as an edgy filmmaker. Kevin Smith has given many interviews where he has stated that he is a devout Catholic and a believer in God. Although this film offers an irreverent view of the Church and organized religion, it does affirm the existence of God and the importance of faith. It affirms the benevolence of God and the divinity of Christ. For some Christians, it will be impossible to see God at work in this film. However, it spoke to an entire generation of post-modern youth who are trying to understand who God is.

The film presented an opportunity for dialogue and discussion with the Church. Unfortunately, for the most part, we couldn’t get past some of the more disturbing elements of the film to see the truth that Dogma was presenting. Most people in our society want to have an honest and frank discussion about the nature of God. Who is he? How do I find him if he exists? Dogma presents opportunities where we can enter into such dialogues but only if we are willing.

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