Hooray for Hollywood?

Hooray For Hollywood and the Gospel?EXPOSE  |  Hooray For Hollywood?

“I can now try to marry Hollywood’s desire to get to a faith-based audience, and try to get us as people of faith wanting to have films made that have broader reach and have high production value.” – David Oyelowo, actor

EXPLORE  |  Is Value AND Quality Possible?

I used to really love going to the theater to see a movie.  Not so much anymore.  Cost is one issue.  But what little redeeming value I felt I could find in the past, is all but gone now.  Then there are ‘Christian’ movies.  What gains they seem to make in value, often leave us with a corresponding reduction in quality.  Is it even possible to have both value and quality?

I had pretty much written off the idea until I was at a small gathering of Christian media in Dallas recently, where we were treated to a presentation by Jon Erwin.  You may not recognize the name, but he is half of the Erwin brothers who are responsible for movies like October Baby and Woodlawn.  He’s both passionate and bold in his pursuit of producing far-reaching, high-quality, faith-based movies.  The essence of his charge to all of us was this: “The gospel doesn’t change, but the mechanisms for presenting it do… even Hollywood can be used to spread the gospel.”  And then I came across an article featuring David Oyelowo suggesting that we shouldn’t abandon Hollywood.

If you saw the movie Selma, you saw what many felt was an Oscar nomination worthy performance by David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He seems to believe that the right story can be told the right way, even in Hollywood.

“…the market is ready for a new kind of film in which the production quality is high, the stories are compelling and the message is forceful.”

EXECUTE  |  Raising the Standard of EVERY Presentation of the Gospel 

We’ll need to wait and see what that ends up looking like, but I do look forward to that day, and what that could mean for the gospel.  In the meantime, what if we were to pose that same question to ourselves?  What does our presentation of the gospel look like?  How might we increase our ‘production quality?’  Are we willing to have the same expectation of ourselves that we do of Hollywood?

Both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ are important.  Given the importance of the ‘what’ (the Gospel – God’s Good News), shouldn’t there be great effort put toward the ‘how’ (our presentation)?  What would Hollywood find if they decided to research your life to see how the gospel should be presented?

“The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy” – John Piper, Desiring God (The Gospel in 6 Minutes)

Further in the article, Oyelowo makes the point that we should not excuse the lack of quality.  While we may not need to go all ‘Hollywood on it’, we should least remove quality from being a possible distraction in how we present the gospel.  Our approach and delivery should not keep someone from being able to hear the truth of God’s redemptive plan.

Probing questions:

How are we tolerating mediocrity in our presentation of the gospel?  How can we aspire to good storytelling?

How are we using the current tools and technology to advance the gospel?

Is our church taking how we present the gospel seriously?  Are we thinking it through thoroughly?

Are we willing to surrender to God, and how, when, and where He may choose to have us present the gospel?

That we’re presenting life-saving truth should be all the more reason to dedicate ourselves to the most effective presentation possible.  The Gospel may be offensive, but we shouldn’t be.

[Original article: Christians can’t abandon Hollywood]

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