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05 October 2006

Addicted To Mediocrity

And you never ask questions when God's on your side. - Bob Dylan

There's a movie out right now called Facing The Giants. It is one of those inspirational Christian films. In other words, it's probably awful.

Here is the movie's description from Wikipedia:

Coach Grant Taylor at Shiloh Christian Academy has never had a winning football season. His car breaks down frequently, his house is falling down around him, and he and his wife are infertile. When he overhears school parents plotting to have him fired, he reaches a crisis point and prays. Reluctant at first, Coach Taylor resolves to get serious about his faith, and challenge his players to do the same. Events and situations work themselves out in a way that the entire school and community is touched, encouraged, and convinced that "with God, all things are possible."
I haven't seen the movie, but I'm guessing that in the end God takes time out of his busy schedule to help Shiloh Christian Academy win some football games. God is, after all, deeply concerned about the outcome of high school sporting events. The true test of faith is not whether Christians feed the poor, but whether they believe that God will help them score more touchdowns than the opposing team. I guess all the people starving and dying of thirst in Africa just aren't praying hard enough.

At any rate, the movie isn't exactly getting rave reviews. As of the moment, it's only got a 14 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Even Josh Hurst at Christianity Today gave it a one star review. And, as Looking Closer notes, that isn't sitting well with a lot of readers.

Here's a comment from Christianity Today reader Dave Peterson that is par for the criticism the review has gotten:

Your review of Facing the Giants is disgusting. This was one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. The audience seemed to agree with me also. There were cheers, whoops, laughter (in all the right places, not as you stated at the actors), and the inspirational parts were, well, flat out inspirational. I think your reviewer needs to be more in touch with the average Christian rather than set themselves up as a movie critic. I see this is one more example of Christianity Today going further away from the Bible and moving toward a liberal theology.
This is very telling of Christianity in the United States. It is also extremely sad.

For many Christians, the purpose of art is to reflect truth. I would agree with that, but not in the way they mean it. What they often mean is that art must somehow point people to Jesus. Or it must communicate a "Christian worldview." Or it must be inspirational. What this particular group of Christians does not care about is whether the art in question is actually good art. It is more important to them that art either bring people to salvation or that it win some arbitrary battle in the so-called culture war.

With a mindset like that, it is easy to see why George W. Bush is President. These particular Christians have little patience for quality, for nuance, or for the complexities of real life. They do not have time for moving beyond a superficial black and white view of the world. It is more important to them that a man be a Christian than that he be able to do his job well.

These Christians would prefer to rot their brains with Audio Adrenaline than listen to John Lennon. These Christians would prefer to visit a Christian doctor, even if he is not a good doctor. I would rather visit an atheistic doctor who knows what he is doing. These Christians would rather have a Christian President. I would rather have a Muslim President who is not an incompetent jackass.

Comments on "Addicted To Mediocrity"


Blogger Reel Fanatic said ... (10/05/2006 04:09:00 PM) : 

That comment definitely sums up the problem with "Christian" filmmaking ... I may be wrong, but I always assumed the first aim of a feature film was to entertain, not to proselytize . sheesh


Blogger shelly said ... (10/06/2006 09:09:00 PM) : 

I've seen quite a few inspirational films in my lifetime--a couple of which are sports movies, which is sort of what Facing the Giants is seeming to be, its so-called "Christian message" notwithstanding--and they were all, IMO, very well-made and fun to watch. None of those movies were "Christian". In fact, most of the Christian movies I've seen have sucked.


Blogger Marty said ... (10/09/2006 12:27:00 AM) : 

The church where I work has computer classes for women that teach the basics of computers, but it also requires the students to attend a Bible study once a week in conjunction with the computer class. They have a "prayer bucket". I got a call from the director saying she forgot to pick up the prayer requests and would I mind going and getting them and mailing them to her. One of the prayer requests was praising God for a winning football game that her son played. Now her son believes in the power of prayer because his mom prayed for a win. I'm not making this up.


Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (10/09/2006 08:36:00 PM) : 


The other implication in these movies is that everything always turns out swell in the end. Most rational human beings know that that's bullshit.


I wish I could say I'm surprised.


Blogger jasdye said ... (10/11/2006 07:55:00 PM) : 

"The other implication in these movies is that everything always turns out swell in the end. Most rational human beings know that that's bullshit."

but we eat it up, regardless. that's the nature of sports movies.

which is why i soooo recommend Hoop Dreams.


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