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Finding God in the movies
A pastor’s angle
We have started a new series of messages at our church called God at the Movies. Using movies as part of worship and as a jumping-off point to talk about biblical principles, spiritual issues and the sacred may seem a bit strange to some and even ‘of the devil’ to others.
I believe we we can use parts of our culture to point us to greater truths about who God is, what He has done, and how we are to be obedient to Him. Instead of hiding from the culture, we are to engage it and exploit it for God’s glory. This is called ‘plundering the Egyptians’ – remember how the Israelites under God’s command took gold and other items from the Egyptians during the Passover but left that which was not useful. Make no mistake, many movies have little redeeming value. However, whether it is a movie, a popular song, a television show or most anything else in culture there is a sacredness to it if you will.
Here is what I mean. The Bible says in Psalm 24:1 “The earth and all that is in it belongs to God.” God pervades all things. As Creator, God is part of everything. This doesn’t mean, as some have mistakenly said, that God is for instance ‘a tree, a rock, or a turtle.’ But that tree, rock, and turtle reveal the glory of God, were created by God, and point us to Him. This is also true for many other things in life. There is a sacredness to them that, if only we scratch hard enough, reveals God’s glory, points us to God and helps us to follow Jesus.
The grand narrativeMovies, songs, or television shows are all part of a grander narrative. Almost all of these things, whether they are stories about love, friendships, struggle, or the search for meaning in life, point us to the greatest story ever told – the story of God’s love for humanity perfectly made known to us in Jesus Christ. These human stories are mere shadows of the One Story that defines all of human history. They are attempts to tell the greater story. All of our art and entertainment, apart from the truly grotesque and abominable, are just attempts that echo part of the greater story.
It is interesting that when Jesus taught his disciples, He used story – parables. He used everyday things people knew about, like farming, to convey spiritual truths. The same can be done by using movies, songs, television, etc. The truth is not actually the first-century farming methods themselves, any more than it is the storyline of yesterday’s summer blockbuster. Truth is instead found in the One whom those things point us toward. These are just tools for us to use.
Robb Almy is a pastor in Fredericksburg USA, and blogs frequently about God and culture. We are grateful for permission to use this article.
related pages within the Using culture & Bridge the gap menu links
recommended books on culture including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry