Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Gone Hollywood

Posted by Adam Graham on March 26, 2007

“The church, which used to be all powerful, has been usurped by film”-George Lucas

With a lackluster 2008 Democratic Presidential field, a lifetime ambition could have been fulfilled for Al Gore. Gore, however, decided he would rather be in pictures.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Who is more powerful? The President may be more powerful than any single Hollywood producer, but the direction of Hollywood has a profound impact on America.

The entertainment media has led our culture on a slow march to ruin. Certainly, they’ve had their helpers in the schools, and parents who let television and movies define their children’s values are by no means off the hook.

However, this column is not about them, it’s about the behemoth that few on the right confront. Those Christians or Conservatives who engage this culture are without fail mocked by those who believe themselves gifted with a divine gift of criticism that is delivered with a condescending sneer for failing to meet the expectation of Hollywood-quality production levels.

Of course, lower production values may come from a lack of training, a lack of mentoring, or a lack of sufficient financial support. However, providing these supports is not on the agenda for Gene Shalit-wannabes, but it must have its place on the agenda in the battle for our culture.

Encouraging the Growth

Christian Director, Christian Actor, Christian Producer? All sound foreign in our world. Yet, a Senior Pastor in Albany, Georgia encouraged his Media Pastor to make a film that taught about the meaning of the Gospel and surrendering to Christ. This film, far from being an outcast ghettoized mockery, was a successful local hit at several area theaters. The DVD release found itself in 3,500 Blockbusters all over America. “Flywheel” has been seen countless thousands of times because this church dared to dream.

But they weren’t done dreaming yet. They prayed and decided to make another movie. This was a bigger budget deal, as this film cost $100,000 to make. They filmed with one camera. They depended on an all-volunteer cast and crew. The entire church came together to help the effort and feed the hundreds. Their film captured the hearts of Christians across America and made more than $10 million. The proceeds from “Facing the Giants” were used to help a 40 acre youth recreational park in Albany.

Some will disparage the message of the film or its acting. Whatever the deficiencies of Sherwood’s films, the two far outshine what the majority of Christians and Churches have dared to dream, much less actually achieved.

Recently, I heard a minister say that darkness exists only when light is hid. If our entertainment industry is full of darkness, death, decadence, and corruption, who is to blame? Is it not those who have hid the light? I believe that if shined bright enough, the light of Christ’s Church can pierce the darkness.

Every Christian in America should look at what Sherwood Baptist Church achieved and how they did it. They chose to engage culture in a radical way, they put their own money and time into the effort, and they kept at it through great adversity. Like their screen counterparts, “They never lost faith, they never gave up.”

When we choose to go where we’re needed, help those who are gifted rather than endlessly criticizing them, abandon our self-absorption, and sacrifice time and resources, great things can happen.

For years, we’ve cursed the darkness, now let the Church arise and spread the light.

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