Tuesday 29 April 2014

Roaring like a lion.

Yesterday evening I went with a group of young people to see the film "God's not dead". I really enjoyed this new Christian film. Yes, it is quite American and somewhat implausible in parts. For instance, it is hard to imagine a first-year university student being able to have such a command of the contemporary debate about science and faith in the way that the film portrays. Yet, it was very refreshing to see faith in Jesus Christ so explicitly referenced on the big screen, and to hear grace being referenced in ordinary conversation. We long to hear people speak about grace and the work of God in normal life, yet it hardly ever happens, in my experience. Instead, we confine ourselves to more hollow subjects.
I also applaud the film for the way in which it "took the lid off" the reality of the Christian presence in our society, a presence which, today, tends go unspoken and unexpressed. In spite of this, the whole of life is lived at the interface of grace, and this film went some way to show this and, hopefully, to inspire a more normal public expression of faith in Jesus Christ.
What is of particular note in the film is the way in which masculinity is portrayed. In our era, in which there is a crisis of masculinity, "God's not dead" really does set masculinity in relief. The main character in the film, the young man, played by Shane Harper, expresses the basic identity of masculinity: leadership, service, strength of character and, above all, responsibility for the Gospel. Responsibility for the Gospel is the foundational task which all men have, a role which goes to the heart of today's crisis and one which the film nurtures and expresses quite well.
Christian films are few and far between; this film is a worthy addition and, I think, has been made with both self-confidence and the Gospel as its blueprint. "God's not dead … He's roaring like a lion!" I hope that we will get more and better Christian films as our era progresses.

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