At #MediaLit12 last night, we looked at an extract of The Motorcycle Diaries, the story of Che Guavara’s travels in Peru, looking for messages that we could use (without forcing the issue too much) as theological pointers – from a film that was not planned with any theological rationale, so the following press release from Premier Radio is very timely:
Kermit the frog, Clint Eastwood and Martin Sheen can help to spread the Gospel, according to preachers and writers who have contributed to a feature in the latest edition of ‘Christianity’ magazine out today.
The ‘stars’ are among a number of screen characters from well known films and TV shows who can, it is claimed, be used to illustrate specific biblical themes to enliven sermons or small group discussions.
Kermit’s latest song, ‘Man or a Muppet?’ from ‘The Muppets’ film, is cited as a song about identity. Alexandra Lilley, assistant minister at St Mary’s, Islington, says that many of the struggles that face Christians today stem from insecurity about their identity so that the song could be used to accompany a talk.
“The song is very catchy, so people listening will hopefully recall the talk as they hum it the next day in the shower,” says Alexandra.
Writer, speaker and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey looked to the Clint Eastwood film ‘Gran Torino’ to illustrate the theme of sacrifice. In the film, the irreligious Clint Eastwood character Walt Kowalski allows himself to be shot and killed by local thugs in order to ensure that they are arrested for murder by the police.
Says Voysey; “Kowalski is not Christ figure. He is an aggressive, potty-mouthed racist needing his own redemption from guilt. But his act is a discussion-starter for a mature audience about a sinless Jesus whose sacrifice disarmed the evil powers and rescued us from dominion of darkness.”
The Martin Sheen film ‘The Way’ is presented as an illustration of stepping out and the journey of life while the hugely successful TV series ‘Homeland’ has been cited as a way to present the love your neighbour message.
“I believe an intelligently used clip can be a powerful way of communicating a biblical theme,” says ‘Christianity’ editor Ruth Dickinson. “So we asked six preachers and communicators to provide a new illustration from a recent film or TV show – not only because it might liven up a sermon or discussion, but because we believe we are called to engage with what culture is saying, especially when the Gospel is as evident as it is in some of these dramas.”