I have “proof” that those who faithfully practice the Christian faith see the world—nature, relationships, business, art, etc—through very different eyes than those who shun any religious affiliation or even avoid a daily one-on-one with their Maker.
My husband and I watched the movie “Fireproof”. Now, I’ll admit I was a little reluctant. I majored in television production, minored in theatre, and have directed stage plays for years, so I don’t think I’m bragging when I say I can feel bad acting coming before an actor or actress on camera or stage even opens their mouth. And spiritual films, for the most part, are not known for their Oscar-winning performances. So again, I was a little reluctant to watch “Fireproof”. But Netflix had it available, and it probably cost me all of $1 to rent. So, I thought, why not?
Well, my first mistake was starting the thing at 11pm—on a weeknight. I figured, I’ll stop it after only 30 minutes (because it won’t really be that good anyway). Well, my artistic nose smelled the amateur acting right away. But there was one bright spot—Kirk Cameron. He literally saved this film. While everyone else was straining to perform naturally, he got an A- in my book. This really impressed me because as an actress and a director, I know how hard it is to perform well with other actors who may not be as skilled, schooled, or talented (I’ve been on both sides of that challenge). Personally I think that speaks volumes as to Cameron’s personal character and integrity.
So after 30 minutes, I’m still watching this thing, cringing from time to time but drawn into the story nevertheless.
One hour in. Okay, now I really have to go to sleep.
Ninety minutes in. I can survive tomorrow on six hours sleep, right?
And then my husband came in and watched the last 30 minutes with me through which we both sobbed (softly and embarrassingly), holding each other’s hand.
So, yes, I’ll humble out and admit it. I actually liked the film.
The next day, sleepy but curious, I looked up several reviews on the film. It was much as I expected. Every review from the secular press pretty much panned it saying, yes, the acting was bad, but more that it was “too religious”.
On the other side was the Christian media who hailed it as a remarkable achievement. But one writer—from a secular press, no less—really nailed it when he said that Christian viewers would love it for the very reasons that many “non-Christian” viewers hated it.
I imagined this was probably similar to the varying experiences two different of people would have sitting in the front row of a church service—the one drinking in every moment like a thirsty man in a desert, the other wondering what in the world he was doing there in the first place.
I was also reminded of the passage in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that says “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” People who “get” the gospel see everything differently. Even a poorly acted film. They see the intentions behind the tragically bad performances. They forgive the poor direction. They overlook a somewhat flaky storyline because they see the heart behind every performance, every direction, and every word of the script.
And when you think about it, aren’t they just being like their Father anyway?
How many of our bad performances does He forgive every day? How many of our verbal blunders does He overlook? How much of our misguided direction does He discount?
Yes, I think the reason we can see the awesomeness in even a sub-par film is because¸ quite simply, we’re just imitating our Dad.
Amen. At least we’re getting something right.