Last weekend, I happened upon a Christian movie, so I invited my two daughters to watch it with me. They laughed. “Is this serious?” one asked. As we finished it, they seemed more amused at it, particularly when one character pressed his hands together to pray (It looked more like a yoga move, actually). One said, “Why are Christian movies so cheesy?” I’m sure the producers didn’t go into the movie thinking, I’m going to make a movie that’s so cheesy other Christians will laugh at it. But that’s what happened.
I can’t help but think money has something to do with it. The movie had a very low production value (people in Jerusalem were clearly Americans with black mustaches painted on), and the acting was rudimentary. To attract higher values (production wise), you need money. To attract convincing actors, you often need money. To write a great script, you need money and excellent collaborative writers.
As it has been pointed out in other forums, the Christian exodus from Hollywood has created a strange dichotomy in the arts. I’d love to see great stories with redemption continue to hit the screen, with Christians contributing in intelligent, winsome ways. We’re beginning to see this. Our influence of culture comes by our lives being authentically lived out in the midst of those who don’t yet know Jesus. I love what Oswald Chambers wrote about this, referring to Abram pitching his tent between Ai and Bethel. He wrote, “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.”
I wonder what it looks like for us to pitch our tents between the two, to have deep communion, yet still have influence on others.