A zombie loving friend of mine and I keep saying that we ought to get together to have a bible-themed movie night but we never seem to get around to organizing one. Consider this another reminder, zombie lover… Bibleman or bust!
Anyway, the Kansas City Star is reporting on a Christian movie company and its success in creating Christian-themed movies that are actually watchable and appealing to a broader audience — at least, that’s the hope. Sherwood Pictures released their fourth movie this week, called Courageous, and it’s being shown in 1400 theaters across the States, and also doing a run through Canadian cinemas.
This film company is about as far from Hollywood as you can get. It’s a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., a midsize town about three hours south of Atlanta. Its purpose: Produce movies that promote a Christian message using mostly volunteers, then funnel the profits into outreach programs that benefit communities and start-up churches.
“It’s not about making money with them. It’s about making a difference,” Whitehurst says. “They use movies as a way to get that message across globally. They know this is a medium that has the power to impact people way beyond the pews.”
I’m going to use the word “awesome” now because it’s great to see people want to make money for the specific purpose of doing something good with it beyond buying mansions and shoes and drugs and cars. Apologies to the people whose jobs rely solely on the culture of greed, but it’s nice to see that not everyone intends to spend their earnings in those consciously consumerist ways.
The only argument I wind up making is that Christians don’t hold the monopoly on morality or ethics. I don’t mind that Christian movies exist; it’s a niche market people want to see filled. The library buys all kinds of movies that have been approved by religious/family groups that promote purity over smut and people are very grateful to see those seals of approval on DVD cases. They’re glad to take home something that won’t cross much in the way of lines.
However, the best movies in the world tend to be the ones that cross lines and leave the main characters stranded on the wrong side of a bad decision. We watch from our seats (hopefully) unsure of how they’ll save the day, fix their mistakes, or adapt and move on in the wake of some tragedy. Courageous sounds like that kind of movie:
the tragic loss of a loved one, the dangers of gang involvement, and the consequences of breaking the law..
Like all Sherwood films, there’s a strong moral message that will be accompanied by books and study guides. The filmmakers hope “Courageous” sparks a conversation about fatherhood as “Fireproof” did for marriage.
I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but I tend to get turned off when a message gets hammered into me in a heavy-handed fashion. If more are like me, and learn that Courageous is funded by a church, they may never buy a ticket to it so they might wind up missing something that actually turns out to be a fine film. I don’t imagine I’m going to watch it this weekend; Attack the Block just came to town and I’d rather spend my hard earned coins on that. I don’t care if it’s crap. I’m going.
And when I’m done watching it, I’ll resurrect my “Morality Movie Monday” project and work through the themes presented and demonstrate how anyone can take good lessons from a movie, regardless of the film’s original intent.
quick edit to add link to article. Oopsie.