Doug challenges us to take a fresh look at Hollywood
"The movies are an eruption of trash that has tamed the American mind
and retarded the Americans from being a cultured people." Ben Hecht
"Who are we to look to? Every generation is suppose [sic] to have role models. Madonna? Michael Jackson? People wonder why we are so confused. Wouldn't you be?" Donatella Arpaia, Fairfield University student
The answer to the title's question is not "either or" but "both and." Hollywood is largely a neglected narcissistic hellhole of a mission field, and there's a good reason for it: Christians have abandoned and eternally vilified a place of ridiculously powerful influence.
At this moment in American history, there is no needier focal point
for our 'outreach' budget than the entertainment industry.
Hollywood is ripe for intelligent and creative Christian artists to effectively infiltrate it.
Yeah, Yeah . I can hear it now. "Well, Mr. Giles, so you're going to be reaching out to naughty little Hollywood? Now, isn't that special? How convenient you feel a calling, Mr. Clash, to give your attention to a place filled with scantily clad, beautiful women in compromised positions cavorting and cajoling with lascivious, testosterone-pumping, gun-wielding men. That's really special. Let's see now, who could be inspiring you to do something like that? Hmmm . maybe Satan?"
I expect heat from my colleagues in theological la-la-land because I'm
flag poling outreach to L.A. . but so what? Given the huge influence
Hollywood has on all of us, the internal rot America, is undergoing in
its character, virtue and faith and the dicey 21st century environment
we have thanks to terrorism, we must try to influence the realm that
has maximum impact on this nation. Or do you think God is pleased with
the mind numbing, moral shattering, Satanic garbage coming out of
The call to impact the entertainment industry is a part of a Christians' great commission, Spanky.
'Discipling nations' doesn't just entail passing out tracts, throwing
up a pre-fab metal building, buying 16 tambourines and preaching
outdated, boring sermons to self-marginalized fundamentalists. That's
a deli-thin slice of the Great Commission ham.
There is greatness to the great commission that takes us out of the four walls of our stained glass churches to the institutions and industries that influence our nation, and Hollywood figures hugely into that scene.
"But, but Hollywood's evil and seductive." Oh yeah? Well thank you for that observation, Captain Obvious. We wouldn't have seen that, Ezekiel, if your eagle eye hadn't pointed it out. Thanks for the tip off, Zeke. Something wasn't right with The Crying Game the other night . I just couldn't put my finger on it!
The reasons Hollywood is naughty by nature are threefold:
1. Because of the Church's lack of involvement.
2. Because of the Church's banal involvement, and
3. Because of the Church's bovine scatological involvement in recent years.
Christians are either not involved or their involvement has been so lame and lackluster that now the secular humanists are running the circus, they've let the lions loose on the crowd . and currently the cats are chewing on character's carotid artery, and our nation is bleeding to death.
Historically, Christianity had a huge impact on Western society. Not just in a ministerial sense through the Church or politically through our government, but artistically upon our culture. Believe or not, the Church communicated a Christian worldview; it mainstreamed character, faith and virtue and not just through the primacy of preaching or through lobbying and legislation. How? Through the powerful impact of the artist's brush, the writer's pen and the poet's verse.
And you know what? The Church slew the competition. The godless couldn't keep up. The Church, yes, the Church was cranking out killer music, 2-D and 3-D stuff; its stage performances were topping the box office.
The Church and real Christians set the pace. They weren't rubbernecking trend followers trying to make cheap copies of lousy art. Christianity was king, and the culture followed in its wake.
Get it right: Bach, Van Eyck, Vermeer, Durer, Rembrandt, Handel and Mendelssohn, plus tens of thousands of Christian artists of the early Italian Renaissance, all had a real and living faith that put a bigger-than-Dallas beauty mark on Western civilization, elevated the human condition and provided an avenue for the praiseworthy and the noble.
My ClashPoint is this: a picture is worth a thousand words. Look objectively at the movies, TV, music and literature that is popular in our current culture and you'll see where our nation is headed. So, if you don't like where we are headed as a nation, quit blathering on about how bad it's getting and do this instead:
Give major props to Christian artists trying to reach the mainstream markets.
Encourage involvement in Hollywood and the media as much as you would a missionary to wherever.
Support initiatives such as The Movieguide (www.movieguide.org).
Don't think that Christian ghetto television is the answer.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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