Courageous Christianity?

October 13, 2011

From the White Horse Inn blog:

Courageous (the recently released “Christian” movie) rejects nuance and the cross-bearing pilgrimage of the Christian life for artificially neat resolutions to the prayers of its one-dimensional characters. Sherwood continues to make films with God functioning primarily as a tool for our lives—whether he’s helping us win football games, repair our struggling marriages, or helping us find a job within seconds of a cry to the heavens. Brief, passing references to the gospel are only seen useful to convert a skeptic, who in a few tearful seconds somehow embraces the faith. Despite all the sermonizing dialogue—the story’s form and emphatic message has all of its focus on us and our accomplishments, not Christ and his work for us. In what could be page out of a John Elridge book, the “manly” vocation of police officer is used as the icon of fatherhood. Violent shootouts and car chase stunts ensure being a godly dad also looks as glorious as possible. Even the poster image calls to mind the slow-motion hero shot popularized by Michael Bay. As for the women, they are given little to do than look on approvingly.

Thankfully, the church has good news that far outpaces the takeaway of this story: an announcement that God has reconciled sinners to himself through Jesus Christ. The gospel pulls us out of our fragile self-worth built on performance and centers our identity on God’s love for us in Christ. As forgiven, yet still sinful sons and daughters, mothers and fathers— we will continually fall short of what God has called us to. In marriage and family life we need to be reminded of the gospel more than ever. Only by continually looking to our standing in grace can we be humbled and motivated to serve others not in prideful self-righteousness but thankful gratitude. Christ was courageous for us when we were not. This is the good news that changes everything.

Read the rest.

2 responses to Courageous Christianity?

  1. Dear Mr. Whitehorse,

    Maybe it’s because I’m a born Southerner, but I really love the Sherwood movies!

    The issue of Fatherlessness and the Church’s failure to fulfill God’s mandate to judge (mentor, counsel, support, nurture, model godliness) the fatherless is CRUCIAL.

    Gosh, it’s been one of GOD’s most urgent priorities since the time of well, the books of Proverbs, Isaiah and Malachi. Jesus reinforced this very thing, as did His disciples and other assorted apostles.

    Our prisons, addiction centers, gay bars, AIDS wards and morgues are packed full of fatherless men and women.

    Nope, Sherwood movies are not perfect – but they are inspiring. They present hope and community and the redeeming love of Christ. And, they are fun if you are not an aesthetics, film or literature snob. I have a Masters in fine arts, have also been a decorator, but I still love these movies. Especially since my own childhood did not much resemble them.

    So, I challenge you, Mr. Whitehorse to write and produce movies that will inspire, show that painful, persevering sanctification and uncompromising theological correctness you describe.

    Perhaps you would kindly take on a few of the more difficult topics needing an explanation of a truly Christian approach such as – Recovery from clergy sexual abuse, incest, abortion, identity disorientation, or same-sex attraction?

    After that, go for it with spiritual abuse, porn-addiction, internet porn, child-trafficking and child porn may challenge him further.

    Show the world how Hebrews 7:25 and Christ’s healing work is achieved and walked out day by day, through communion with Christ and His Church!

    I look forward to your contributions to the redemption of Western society through these efforts.

  2. The first Sherwood Pictures movie was ‘Flywheel’ the story of a professing (nominal) Christian man who comes under conviction for his dishonest practices in his used car dealership. Using amateur actors and a simple plot, it’s well done and fun entertainment with a great message for adults and youth. Whitehorse misses the point that young people love sports movies, want to see the difference God can make when we dedicate ourselves to His glory.

    Face it, Christian filmakers only have about an hour to tear down what Hollywood has built in human minds and to reveal a new set of ideas and attitudes…with God’s help.

    Because they know they only have an hour, Sherwood church has made sure there are coordinating books and workbooks and other resources to continue the work of learning about the more excellent Way of Love, Truth and Life.

    I’m excited about all the Christian films out there now. They are getting better and better.

    I am very selective about media and rarely watch a Hollywood film for the same reason I don’t have cable or watch network TV.