Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Saved!" (2004)

The only thing I can imagine as being more dramatic and “soap opera-y” than High School would be private, Christian High School. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not really against such things; I just imagine the atmosphere has to have a lot of the sort of drama with which I would have a hard time dealing. This based on friends and friends’ kids I know who attend such schools, friends I know who work at and run such, and the fact that one of my own kids attends something very similar to one.

It has to be the classic “catch 22” scenario. You want to protect kids from negative influences all the while influencing them yourself in positive ways. The problem is, such a motivation can quickly devolve into the worst sort of legalistic religiosity that, if not managed correctly, simply convinces a generation that Christianity is: all about deeds and not motivations. And that our sorts of sins are acceptable compared to the “worse” sins in the non-Christian world.

If you are the sort of Christian that can handle valid critiques against other people who claim the name of Christ without feeling attacked yourself, then “Saved!” is a great piece of satire. Without a blanket dismissal of faith and spirituality, it manages to level some good satire against the worst forms of the religious side of Christianity. Examples abound: A confused product of this more fundamental sort of legalism actually thinks that premarital sex with her boyfriend to help him see he is not gay is a valid and Godly decision. Or prayer meetings in the film are thinly veiled gossip sessions. And the “right” expression of devotion and faith is just another tool used to express acceptability and coolness like brand names and cool clothes.

In the end, Hollywood tries to deliver a message about God’s love and forgiveness towards sinners that His followers usually fail to achieve. The critique is valid and point taken, but nuanced enough it is not.

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