Facing The Giants & Good, Better and Best.

A Culturally Savvy Christian (CSC) is serious about faith, savvy about faith and culture and skilled at relating the two. A CSC influences culture by communicating in culture, being countercultural and creating culture.

What then are CSC’s to make of “Facing the Giants?” This film was produced by Sherwood Baptist church and received national attention when it received a PG-rating for the controversy of it’s religious content!

First hats off to a local church for seeing the importance of film in communicating the message that with God all things are possible. Congratulations to young filmmaker Alex Kendrick for proving all things are possible by making this film for $100,000 with a cast of amateur actors from his local church!

Inspiring football stories are told often, but what makes Facing the Giants stand out is its countercultural acknowledgement of GOD as the source for accomplishing impossible things.

By aligning itself with this film SONY pictures is recognizing that there is a sizeable portion of American moviegoers who believe in God and are tired of paying ($) 8 bucks to enter a theatre only to see their beliefs ignored or even attacked.

The “Passion of the Christ” opened some minds in Hollywood and opened some doors for faith affirming films and Facing the Giants walked through the newly opened door!

So Facing the Giants communicates, is countercultural and is a creative contribution to culture. These are all good things.

BUT BECAUSE the CSC is savvy about faith and culture and skilled in relating the two, our enthusiasm about a faith-affirming film like Facing the Giants will be tempered by our responsibility to evaluate it as art and ideas like we would any other film.

If we aim for good, true and beautiful stories told skillfully, there are some clouds in the silver lining of Facing the Giants.

1) Facing the Giants presents a feel good gospel that implies when God gets involved, the ball of life will always bounce your way. In Facing the Giants virtually every problem faced by the key characters PRIOR to turning their life over to God is RESOLVED after turning their life over to God. This feels good—but it isn’t actually how the gospel works in most people’s lives. Our old care isn’t mysteriously replaced with a new truck, the infertile wife doesn’t always miraculously get pregnant, the losing coach doesn’t always win the state championship against all odds.

The book and music world are making tons of money off feel good books by Christian authors and songs by Christian musicians and now Hollywood wants to make money off feel good movies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love It’s a Wonderful Life and I like Facing the Giants
but as communicators of gospel, the truth is we KNOW that while trusting God for miracles is always the right thing to do,trusting God does not always mean we’ll get the miracle that feels so good¢â‚¬¦

Films made by Christians need to tell true stories not just happy stories.

AND we need to tell them well.

Facing the Giants proves that amazing things are possible, but it also proves that when an inexperienced writer and director, operates with a small budget and amateur talent,even the untrained eye will notice it.

Someone is saying-what’s wrong with that Dick Staub¢â‚¬¦

For years we’ve been praying for better films and opportunities for Christians in Hollywood¢â‚¬¦Now he is criticizing one of our films¢â‚¬¦

Isn’t he on our side?

Here’s the deal¢â‚¬¦

Our films ought to be the best
Best Story. Best Acting. Best Directing.
Best Lighting. Best Editing. Best Musical Score.

We cannot allow our films to operate in a parallel but separate universe from the rest of film.

I am sorry to say that when judged on technical merits
Facing the Giants meets the standards of a made-for-TV movie more than the big screen.

So as A CSC I appreciate the inspirational story told by Facing the Giants
And I appreciate the inspirational story of a small local church that, like young David the shepherd boy, took on the Goliath of Hollywood¢â‚¬¦

This is all good.
But let us not deceive ourselves into believing we can influence culture with good. We need to encourage filmmakers who are Christian to move from good, to better to best for the glory of God.

Posted in Staublog in September 21, 2006 by | No Comments »

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