As I said, it is an ongoing struggle and a source of conflict for many people. Here at Media Missionary School we talk a lot about media missionaries. We believe it’s possible for people of faith to create art that speaks of Jesus the least but has him most in mind. We believe we can live out our faith in front of our peers while at the same time create media that is thought-provoking, socially redemptive and, above all, truthful.
I recently told this to one of my friends who had a rather puzzled look on his face. He said that this sounded like somewhat of an indirect approach. How will they know the Gospel if we’re talking about Jesus the least? Shouldn’t we be direct about our message? Leave no stone unturned. Make sure they hear the Word of God.
Most Christian movies fall into the category that I call “the two hour window”. The window opens. The window closes at the conclusion of two hours which is the typical run time of most movies. I believe in an open window approach in which the window continuously stays open. As I see it, I want the audience to be thinking about the movie two hours, two days, two weeks and two months later. That only happens if you connect on a deep emotional level both consciously and subconsciously.
Recently I read a response to one of my blogs from an aspiring filmmaker who is a Christian. He wants to produce visually appealing films that are realistic, dramatic, and powerful. He believes the most effective way to do this is to present the realities of life, which sometimes can be very ugly. He believes that sometimes you have to use bad language, violence and other means in order to be effective. Sometimes an element of ambiguity is also necessary. This vision won’t set well with many Christians.
We can talk about Jesus the least but have him most in mind and get our point across. I’m convinced this approach is neither direct nor indirect. It’s both simultaneously.