1. Julie D says:

    This section really, really intrigues me. Especially 19 and the related image.  I’ve generally approached it from the opposite side when watching secular things (‘Mom, Coulson is a senior government whose agency has been taken over by an enemy he thought dead for 70 years. Is he honestly gonna stick to ‘Oh shoot’?) but from the other side, it’s also got some power.

    Think about whether the character would say it, not whether or not the author’s allowed to use it, and a lot of the fuss would die down.

  2. notleia says:

    Would somebody explain to me how War Room has enough appeal to be this financially successful?

    Also, why isn’t the summary Judeo-Christian spells to magically fix your spouse. No adult skills like problem-solving and effective communication needed!

    • D.M. Dutcher says:

      1. Think of Tyler Perry and his Madea movies. They both target an underserved demographic. In Perry’s case, it’s the chitlin circuit of older southern blacks. In Kendricks, it’s devout fundamentalist Christians. Both groups tend to be invisible on screen, and both filmmakers show things that matter to their life.

      2. It’s appealing because it isn’t magic spells. To a person who believes it, it’s the idea that God answers prayer, and prayer has the potential to change lives. There’s  an odd thing with non-fundamentalist Christianity where they think it’s good to pray, but not effectual-you do it not so much to receive a result, but to submit to whatever God has already decided. War Room is sort of a wish-fulfillment, that the prayers you pray will be answered and are effectual to change lives.

      • notleia says:

        Further thinking has me decided that it’s like the socio-emotional version of prosperity gospel, and I don’t understand why that’s popular, either, except I know that magical thinking exists.

      • D.M. is right. Biblical Christians absolutely believe in prayer, and we do believe God answers prayer with “yes” and that by praying we can help change things–because we are petitioning our loving Creator.

        But I also agree that the movie can serve as a kind of wish-fulfillment.

        Thing is, that impulse is not unique to Christian movies (or their fans). We’re just supposed to know better when it comes to reality.

  3. D.M. Dutcher says:

    17. War Room isn’t a “big” film. IMDB has it made for 3 million, which is maybe the cost of a single game of thrones episode, and peanuts in the long run. It gets a lot of notice mostly because no other films even breach Christianity as a subject all, let alone target Christians with a true theatrical release.

    Some of the issue with film in particular is that there’s really no substitute for money. War Room does what it does, because it’s really inexpensive to make a marriage-romantic film on a tiny budget. Even the remade Left Behind only had a tenth of the budget of X-Men Days of Future Past, and half of the budget of Twilight, which was considered a very inexpensive film to make.

    What is a bit annoying about the Kendricks though is that they really should be spending some of the money they make on better films. Yeah War Room was 3 million, but grossed something like 50 million +. Courageous grossed 15 times its budget. They don’t need to go whole hog, but I’m wondering where all that money goes when their films are shot so cheaply.

    • War Room was 3 million, but grossed something like 50 million +. Courageous grossed 15 times its budget. They don’t need to go whole hog, but I’m wondering where all that money goes when their films are shot so cheaply.

      I have also been wondering this.

      This is why I’ve been altogether supportive of these films making more money. I’ve previously thought, “Well, that’s a great start. Now put that in some kind of fund with interest, and contact some businesspeople to finance and creative people to help make, and let’s make some truly bigger movies.”

      But that won’t happen so long as more Christian viewers like what they see and do not see any reason to grow.

  4. Paul Lee says:

    I mean, what do we do in real life other than try to get other people saved, or Rededications, or Family Values?

    According to the preaching I hear, yes, those three things — particularly the first one — truly are all that we should live for. Our lives should explicitly be ordered for the agenda of sharing the gospel, my pastor teaches.

    Some of it is semantics and interpretation. The hardcore evangelizers I know don’t dispute the value of living. They just think that every interaction and activity should be done with the intent of “planting seeds” or building toward the opportunity to share the gospel. They acknowledge that they don’t necessarily have to bring out their Bibles and invite people to receive Jesus in every conversation, but I think they imagine that every positive interaction is inherently leading to that end.

    I don’t buy it at all, and I want to run away every time people start talking about evangelism that way. Still, I must acknowledge that many of these people have managed to live a holistic, internally peaceful Christian life. I don’t understand how they can live with their convictions without screaming in frustration and despair every day, but I see that some of them do.

    Bridging the gap between Christians who think they have to be evangelizing all the time and other Christians is partially a matter of translating the image of a peaceful, holistic, well-attuned life from one “language” to another.

    I would describe a well-attuned life as experiencing the death of Christ in daily self-denial while looking at the broken world with the faith that God will bring about its glorious transformation. I suppose the people I know would describe a well-attuned life as being in the center of God’s mission, of fully yielding to God’s personal agenda of seeing the lost come to know Jesus, of being fully willing to do whatever God asks without reservation. I think to bridge the gap between “Christian movie fans” and “Christian movie critics” we would somehow have to show that these different visions of a holy life are compatible, perhaps two different pictures of the same thing.

    If they’re not, then do we share the same faith at all?

What do you think?