So we were going to have a "Faith & Film Discussion Series" at North Street this summer, but it kind of fizzled out, mainly due to schedule, but also because no one but me was really excited about the book. I've known about the book Faith & Film: Theological Themes at the Cinema for a while, but had never actually read it (hence inviting our community to read it too). Even though it hasn't worked out with North Street, Meghan and I have decided to read the chapters and watch the films together. I'm looking forward to it.
The book has a number of enticing elements to it for me: 1. To order the theological themes, the book uses the Apostles' Creed. I continue to grow in appreciation for the place of the ancient creeds in worship and formation, so I appreciate this (and also some "order" to the discussions rather than a generally-themed book (like "love," "mercy," "faith," etc.). 2. The theological and ecclesiological lenses through which the author, Bryan Stone, would write such a book (I hope). I've already mentioned Bryan here before: I have really appreciated his work, particularly Evangelism After Christendom. He grew up in my tradition (the Church of the Nazarene), and still has connections (including maintaining his ordination credentials, or so I've been told). But he is what we might call a "recovering evangelical." He is thoroughly Wesleyan. 3. It involves watching movies. I need to enflesh myself in more stories in my life that I might tell stories better myself. (Side note: We are finally moving from a cable-TV home to a no-cable TV home. Instead of cable, we've signed up for Netflix. Perhaps I'll blog soon about some other "re-modeling" that we are doing in our home.)
As we finish each chapter, I'll write a response here and update the chapter links below. I enjoy movies, but be forewarned: I'm no film critic. And I confess that lately that most movies haven't really moved or wowed me. The only exceptions are the great blockbusters (like Avatar) or very simple stories that are believable (like Once). I've only seen a handful of the movies below (and actually like very much the ones that I've seen), so we'll see how Bryan's other choices do for me.
Introduction - "Cinema, Theology, and the 'Sign of the Times'"
1 - "I believe" - (Contact)
2 - "God, the Father almighty" (Oh, God!)
3 - "Creator of heaven and earth" (2001: A Space Odyssey)
4 - "Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord" (Jesus of Montreal)
5 - "Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary" (The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Last Temptation of Christ, & The Gospel According to St. Matthew)
6 - "Suffered under Pontius Pilate" (Romero)
7 - "Was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead." (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
8 - "On the third day he rose again, He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father." (Phenomenon, Powder, & E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial)
9 - "Will come again to judge the living and the dead" (Flatliners)
10 - "I believe in the Holy Spirit" (Star Wars)
11 - "The holy catholic church" (The Mission)
12 - "The communion of saints" (Babette's Feast)
13 - "The forgiveness of sins" (Dead Man Walking)
14 - "The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting" (The Shawshank Redemption)