We had our final, and possibly the best, movie discussion of the year (we run on the fiscal year here at Hope) on Sunday. The movie was Saved, a satire attacking a superficial, unloving Christianity. It was probably fairly accurate at a number of levels, which is probably what made it so funny. In the end it seemed to tear down the judgmental Christianity, only to replace it with a more universalistic theism. And again, the irony of it all, is that this replacement once again serves as a judgment against all those who don’t adhere to this universalistic individualistic belief structure. As Tim Keller in The Reason for God described it, every group has to by nature exclude someone.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and agreed with many of the critiques. For instance, Pastor Skip, the principal, comes out doing a flip and calls for people to “come down” and rededicate themselves to Jesus after “backsliding the summer.” I’m not a fan of altar calls or re-dedication calls, because people just come on down and it never seems to make a difference. I can’t tell you how many youth I’ve seen come down one evening, and then nothing after that. Maybe you’ve had a different experience, but that’s been mine over the years. And of course I’ve come down several times for re-dedication or commitment (once might have been the point of conversion in elementary school, so I can’t completely blast the practice!) and personally haven’t seen it enable me to “carry my cross daily and follow after Jesus.”
Movies are going to express something true of the world, just like books or philosophers. That’s just part of being made in God’s image, according to the WCF we were created in “holiness, righteousness, and truth.” Of course sin enters into the picture, and concomitantly into the motion pictures, so sometimes we have to mine a little more carefully. But there is truth conveyed nonetheless and this movie turned out to be quite devotional: I was challenged to be more broken before others-the broken characters were the only characters in the movie we actually liked. It really taught me a lot about relationships.