It’s funny how diverse believers can be in their reactions to different types of media. One person will love a movie and see it as a great tool for outreach; another will be totally offended.
Last year I screened the movie To Save a Life, opening in theatres this Friday. I really enjoyed the film- It’s going to be a great tool that youth leaders use for discussion. (We’ve already wrote up a peice of curriculum using a cliip from the film- check it out here, and gave away some of their youth curriculum kits here)
I blogged about it last September, giving a pretty detailed synopsis, and I received some fun comments in reply. But I also received this comment:
Where was Jesus mentioned once in this movie? And 3 curse words, one used twice. It is watered down, diluted faith and I can’t believe youth pastors are all thinking this is great. I took my 17 year old daughter to the movie and she thinks they went to far with the language and sensuality as well. Implied would have worked. Would you eat a 9×13 inch pan of delicious looking and smelling brownies if I told you it had 95% pure ingredients (finest chocolate, flour, an sugar you could buy) but had 5% dog poop in it? I would not eat it and I will not take my teens to see this movie!
Hmmmmm. (The brownie illustration again? Really?)
I commented back… then he replied, I commented again… the bantar was rather humorous (for me, anyway). I won’t paste our bantar- but you might want to check it out in the comment section of that blog.
Then I couldn’t help myself. I emailed Jim Britts, the screenwriter of the film and asked him to address the comment. Here’s Jim’s reply:
From the beginning we never set out to make a “Christian” movie that would cater to just a “church kid” audience. This film was made for the millions of teens that are not going to set foot in a church and for the courageous Christian teens who have a passion for reaching their friends with the love of Christ. The top two things unchurched young people think when they hear the word “Christian” are hypocrites and they just want to convert me. We intentionally made this film real (which meant including a couple cuss words-which I prayed over repeatedly) in order to earn the attention of teenagers and lower their guard against just being converted. The whole reason we did this is so they will be open to a conversation with a Christian friend about the issues they related with from the film and how God could help them like He did in Jake’s life.The film does not present the gospel because that’s our job. My prayer that it’s much less the youth pastor’s job and much more our students. Our ministry is preparing every student in how to lead their friends to Christ using the film and our prayer is they’ll be equipped and empowered to have more spiritual conversations this next spring because of this film than they’ve ever had before. What if we didn’t see this film as a threat to our Christian kids holiness (I bet they’ve already seen 10 times worse already) but instead an opportunity to challenge them to be more bold in their faith.Jim BrittsYouth pastor, and screenwriter of To Save a Life
There you have it. No need to add to that.
I encourage you to go see the film this weekend and take a look for yourself. I think you’ll find it a very effective tool for Outreach.