I have not seen the movie Noah yet, but it seems to be creating quite a ruckus among Christians. On one hand, you have people who feel that this movie is an opportunity. They feel that even though it might not be anything like the biblical story of Noah, we can use this as a way to talk about the Bible. People might not have ever been interested in the Bible before, and even though this movie might not provide the best information about the Bible, we can use the potential interest that it might develop as a gateway to a more profitable discussion.
On the other hand, there is the thought that it is not helpful for Bible stories to be misrepresented. If the movie is inaccurate, it could be the only interaction some people have with any type of Biblical story. We don’t want these people to come away from an inaccurate movie believing that the Bible is really like it was portrayed.
Personally, I tend to fall more with the latter in regards to Noah. I don’t like the idea that some people might see this movie and take it as a literal interpretation of the Bible. However, even though I do tend to side with the second camp in this particular instance, I think that the first group has picked up on something incredibly important.
There is a huge opportunity here. People like to think about the Bible. People like to talk about Christianity. Why else would we be seeing things like Noah coming out? Why would The Passion of the Christ do so well around the world? Why do we have God’s Not Dead in movie theaters around the country (except for in my home state of Vermont)? There is a world out there that is interested in talking about Christianity.
It is not surprising then that this movie was created; people will pay to see it, and that is definitely an important consideration when you go about making a movie. People have this demand to talk about Christianity, so someone is going to supply it.
How do we respond?
Why don’t we create these cultural discussion pieces ourselves? In the past, Christianity was the driving force of culture. Think about the beautiful compositions of Handel. Think about the imaginative storytelling of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. Think about the art of Michelangelo. It is not as if the secular world has some kind of monopoly on culture creation; there is no type of separation of church and culture.
I am not saying that every movie we film or book we write needs to be a word for word recitation of the Bible either. Take The Lord of the Rings for an example. It is not an allegory, but you can definitely feel the Christian values and talent throughout the trilogy. Not only that, but you can feel that literary brilliance as well.
We need to be the type of people who are transformed by God, and as we operate from that worldview, we can use our talents to create art, literature, music, film or whatever other medium we happen to be gifted with.
Think about it.
Start with Romans 12:2.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are called to be different than the world, and we are called to be transformed. As Christians, that goes without saying, and I think we all know that. Our minds are supposed to be renewed through Christ. That will obviously influence the type of media we create.
Now, we are different, and there is something very important that we ought to be doing at all times.
Psa 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Psa 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Psa 150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Psa 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
This particular Psalm focuses on praising God through music, but it also mentions dance. If you have breath, you ought to be praising God. It provides examples of how you might praise God, but this Psalm never claims to be an exhaustive list. It seems to give you more of a feeling of your attitude. However you can, you ought to be praising.
If we have these transformed minds and if we ought to be praising in whatever way we are capable of, we have found our way to respond. If I can compose a beautiful piece of music and praise God in that way, I ought to do it. If I can write a brilliant piece of poetry, I can praise God through that. We praise God when we use the talents that He has blessed us with.
Rather than complain that the secular world is dominating the culture, why don’t we use the talents that God has given us to create culture? Just like a Christian can enjoy a movie that was written by an atheist, I am convinced that an atheist could also enjoy a movie that was written by a Christian.
The main difference in these two situations is that when the Christian is the one writing the movie, the values that are going to be communicated on the screen will come from someone writing with a mind that has been transformed through the power of Jesus Christ. A great move from someone who is writing with the right foundation.
That is why we cannot simply complain about movies that we don’t like or worrying about our culture diving off of a cliff. Why don’t we worry about creating culture? Why don’t we become part of the solution rather than complaining about the problem? I feel like our energies might be better spent by working in that direction and will also bring glory to God when we use the talents that He has given us.