So I am currently listening to an audio book by John Eldridge “Fathered by God: Discover What Your Dad Could Never Teach You” and it is really, really good. I have read two previous books by him “The Sacred Romance” and “Wild at Heart” both of which I would highly recommend for anyone. I really enjoy the way he writes. He’s very real and honest about the struggles of a man and how deeply impacted we are by our relationship with our father no matter how good or bad it was. Not afraid to use words in a faith based book like “crap”, “sucks”, and “damn”. It’s refreshing. It’s got me thinking about a lot of things, some of which I may share here in the future, maybe not…we’ll see. But I was wondering…what was your relationship like with your dad? How has it impacted you in negative and positive ways? How does the relationship with your dad impact how you view God? Discuss below….
Categories: books, faith, life
The past few weeks I have been both reading articles online and hearing talk within the Christian society about the new movie “The Golden Compass” based on the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. The articles range from so-so reviews of the movie itself to discussing the controversy surrounding the movie. While within the Christian subculture the conversations focus mainly on the books the movie is based on and the atheist agenda of Pullman. Although from the many articles it is pretty clear what his agenda was and where his beliefs lie when it comes to the material, this situation brings up once again the treacherous balance between faith and culture. Does Harry Potter teach our children witchcraft? Does The DaVinci Code lead people to believe that the church and its beliefs are a sham? Can you read these books and watch these movies while still calling yourself a devoted follower of Christ? I think that the issue that is even more important than that is the condition of the foundation of our personal faith.
“The Golden Compass” is just the most recent in a long line of cinematic features that have raised the eyebrows and protest of evangelicals and Catholics alike in recent history. The outcry usually consists of how it is an attack on the church and their beliefs and how it is trying to undermine the faith of our children or our belief system. We see interviews on major networks with representatives of the church about how detrimental these vessels of the enemy in disguise of media are and how they are hurting the church. We hear sermon after sermon on Sunday mornings with the same content only attaching a plea asking us to boycott the film that is in the center of attention at that point in time. Yet when a movie like “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Passion of the Christ” comes along it is claimed as a victory for the church and their views. While both of those are excellent movies and do cause deep emotions in our heart to rise up and strengthen our moral fiber, I highly doubt it was the mission of the creative minds behind the movies to gain a victory for Christianity and the moral right. It is always easy to dwell on the sometimes cartoonish reactions of the Christian world to the entertainment in our culture, what we should be zeroing in on is where the condition of the majority of believers’ faith must be for leaders to be so concerned about the affect that these movies will have on their congregation.
When did we become a church so flimsy in our faith that one viewing of a movie about wizards or one reading of a book that attacks the Christian faith in disguise of a children’s fantasy would undermine everything we believe and hold true? If that is the case then is our faith based on sound biblical doctrine and truth or on the moral swaying and scriptural interpretation of our pastors and leaders? I do not want my words to be misinterpreted, I believe whole heartedly that we need to listen to and respect our pastors and spiritual leaders, but if our faith is not rooted on firm, biblical foundation then all the charges by men of God in the world will not hold our faith up when every wave of society, entertainment, and culture comes along.
I’m not saying we should give into every single thing that Hollywood and society throws our way, in fact we need to be wise and decisive about everything we involve ourselves in no matter what the medium may be. In fact, Paul states “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). He was not saying that every time a film or novel comes along that we are uncomfortable with we should hold boycotts and write books that speak out against them that only those within the Christian culture will read, but we should hold firm to the truth that we have planted deep in our hearts so that when everyone else is questioning the theme that was in a movie or contemplating the morals displayed on TV, we will have answers for them that are rooted deep. We can only do this when we have a firm spiritual foundation.
In the book of Matthew Jesus talk about the two homes, one built on a rock and one built on sand. Of course, as we all know, the one built on sand was washed away by the waves of the ocean and Jesus said in Matthew 7:26, “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (NIV) We are commanded to build our homes, our faith, on a strong foundation that will withstand the waves of popular culture and stand strong against the storms of the lies of the enemy. So when we do run into some falsehood or some attack against our faith and beliefs, whether it be at the movies or in a conversation with a friend, instead of running and boycotting it or shattering that relationship, we can hold strong to the faith that we have firmly planted in our hearts and not be swayed by something fleeting.