Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flywheel Ruminations

If you want a dead giveaway for a homemade—very independent movie, check the soundtrack. They tend to overpower. That being said, Flywheel has some really good production values. It is a frankly amazing achievement for a movie put together by a church for $20,000.
Like most evangelical Christian movies, it is made to send a message. Living life by your own rules does not bring satisfaction and fulfillment. God has a better plan. It was probably made with the intention of reaching people who do not know God, and convincing them to get to know Him. Also, like most Christian movies, it probably doesn’t accomplish its stated goal.
The real audience of this film is made up by lukewarm Christians who need to really commit. At that, it is pretty effective.
One complaint. It hovers dangerously close to that version of the Gospel that is baptized in the American Dream. Turn your life over to God, and He will make your business successful. He will bless you financially. Commit to setting things right and you will never suffer. Pay back the money you stole, and God will see to it that you don’t suffer any pain, you won’t have to go hungry.
OK, maybe that is a little harsh, but it is evident enough throughout American Evangelicalism to be concerning.
Meanwhile if you want to reach the lost with film: drop the prosperity in favor of reality, tell stories that ring true and show all sides of faith—including the difficult, have the sin be as evil as it really is, and present the Gospel played out in everyday life. It is the Gospel. Don’t make a sales presentation, and don’t try to make it appealing. On its own it won’t make sense to a lost person anyway…so embrace the fact that you are merely collaborating in getting the message across.

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