reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Watching: saved

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |

So - this was an interesting film.

First off - well, this film is pretty clearly a big dig at evangelical Christians, of the t(r)ype we should expect - especially with a born again Christian as American President at the mo. The film's producer is Michael Stipe, gay activist, true blue Democrat and all round anti-Christian, and that is more or less the sum total of the message of this film - evangelicals are bad. Everyone is good, as long as they have decided how to live their own lives. No evangelicals have decided this, because you'd only be one if it was a way for you to prove you are better than anyone else and if you had been indoctrinated from birth.
From the closeted gay teenager, to the Pastor so much happier when he could break his wedding vows the film is an attack on evangelicalism. The protestations of the production team that it "could have been set anywhere" are clearly rubish, and in some ways it is a very cruel film. I winced a lot. Be prepared for that if you watch it.

However, this film is an interesting insight into how evangelicals are perceived. I think it says a number of things:
1) We are often people who preach grace and don't model it. It is interesting in the film that the popular Christian, even with the adults in the film is the pretty leader girl who forces everyone into submission. The film has it right that often we are people who preach grace for salvation, but don't foster an attitude of grace in dealing with our own weakness and the faults of others. Moreover, often we admire and raise up as leaders people who would be leaders in wordly terms; strong definite popular, achievers, and this doesn't model grace - we ought to help people who know their sin and trust Jesus be those who are seen as triumphs of grace. It's very much a teen drama about who's cool and friends with who at school set amongst Christians. But it should be different with Christian young people. Shouldn't it?

It's interesting, that while the characters in the film use loads of evangelical jargon "accept Christ", "ask Jesus into your heart", "backsliding" etc, there is no clear mark of them as a distinctive religious group because of a strong belief in grace. This may be on purpose; as I have said it was definitely not on the film makers' agenda to make us look good, but it may also be because it's not something that is obvious to the casual observer. Which is wrong.

2) It really made me think twice about the value of Christian institutions - schools, universities etc. How can it be avoided, as the film graphically shows, that people are peer pressured into following Christ in that environment, and creating even more of a place where NOT being a Christian is hyper rebellious.
What does one do with a teenager who thinke he is gay in such an establishment - I just don't know!
One of the most amusing aspects of the film is the Mary character reaching 8 months pregnant without anyone at her school noticing because none of them had ever encountered a teen pregnancy before. Ridiculous, but not totally unbelievable - are we at risk of preventing our kids engaging their faith with the real world from a very young age? I think we might be.
The film certainly warns, I think realistically, that kids being peer and family pressured into a faith system can be just as damaging as them being peer pressured out of one. Although, I am, as I will readily admit, ignorant on things to do with parenting.

So - if you can cope with a small bit of sex and a large helping of sarcasm, I would recommend you take a look - made me think.


Blogger Brittney said...

the producer isn't R.E.M. michael stipe, michael stipe, is he?

11:19 AM  
Blogger Little Mo said...

Yes. He is interviewed in the DVD extras and it is definitely him.

He is NOT a big fan of Christianity, I must say.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Brittney said...

sooo interesting. no idea that he was into producing.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Nghia James Brown Room said...

its great that u have talked about this film.cos we watched this film for our Go-week in hallgroup.
i agreee alot about what u said. it does worry me sometimes about how non-christians perceive christians and if its anything like the film i do have to agree we are a strange bunch huh?
but anyways not as an excuse but yeah we are all sinful and are not perfect so we suck.
SOOOOO im So thankful its not about us and all About His Grace.


1:30 PM  
Blogger thebluefish said...

makes u realise why books like What's So Amazing About Grace are so needed...

How do you bring people up in the faith without moralising them??

5:39 AM  

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