Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts, Free for CAPC Members
In Imagine, Steve Turner proposes that Christians ought to learn to understand art better and should feel able to participate in the arts more freely.
“I’m not interested in this movie. It’s old.”
As a part time high school substitute, I’ve heard many students express this sentiment when I’ve played them a video left by their teacher. One popular variant goes, “But it’s in black and white!” For many of these kids, films are viewed more like newspapers than drama, music, or literature: the movie is only good when it is fresh off the presses.
Of course, there are notable exceptions to this. Some films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones have an enduring quality, but on the whole I believe most movies leave our cultural conscience after a few years–barring a sequel. In this sense, our culture seems to have managed to take a medium that is not consumable and turn it into a consumable good.
With DVD rental services like Netflix and Blockbuster Online, we have great access not just to the latest releases, but also classic films. One of the real benefits of these services is that they can help us to think of film in a much broader way than merely this week’s releases.
Part of our calling is to think on things which are good and worthy of praise, not just new things. While excellent movies continue to be released, there are a lot of older films which are also worthy of our viewing and praise. Here are a few of my Netflix/Blockbuster suggestions. Naturally, this is very far from a complete list of great classic films, but it is a place to start:
I hope that we will take advantage of the technological services we have to not only enjoy excellent new releases, but to also praise what is worthy in older films. As Rich has already encouraged us, films offer us the opportunity to glorify God in they way that they place us in a larger community, challenge our base beliefs, and show the inherent meaningfulness of life. Recognizing excellence across time might mean we have to become colorblind and deaf, but it is still a part of our calling. Let our statement be then, “Is it a good film? Then I am interested in it.”
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