I saw the preview for the new Angelina Jolie film “Maleficent” a couple months back and the film looked dark and sinister. My daughter wanted to see it so I agreed to see it with her. The previews did not accurately portray the actual film. The movie (WARNING-WARNING-SPOILER ALERT!!!) tells the story of innocence lost and then innocence redeemed. I found the film to be quite redemptive and touching. But my review of the film isn’t the main point to my post. The response from many Christians about the film is what struck me. So many complained that it wasn’t dark enough. Not dark enough? Why would a Christian desire more darkness in the film. It wasn’t just one or two people. There was a real disappointment in the film being too light.
This caused me to contemplate the state of our culture and how it has affected the Church. Many of my Christian friends share with me their excitement over the latest zombie film, horror movie, television series with the hero of the story being a drug dealer, prisoner, murderer or serial killer. Why this fascination with darkness? So many of the current films that get rave reviews from some Christians have horribly sad and hopeless endings. Where is the redemptive message? Where is the hope? Why do people delight in Hannibal Lecter’s escape? Why do we watch films like “August: Osage County” where hopelessness and a lack of redemption leaves us depressed and unfulfilled?
I Thessalonians 5:5 tells us, “For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” We are to be a light in the darkness. We are the mirror image of Jesus Christ in this world. We should be reflecting hope, grace and light everywhere we go. I remember when I first trusted in Christ. One of the first scriptures I memorized was Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things”. Again the scripture tells us in Colossians 3:2 to “ set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” So why the fascination with darkness? Why the onslaught of films and television shows about dystopian futures of hopelessness, fear and control?
The gospel, or good news, is the true hope for those of us who are in Christ, as well as those who have not yet heard the good news. The Good News has often been distorted and filled with fear and doubt, not light and hope. Jesus Christ truly lived, died, was buried and has given EVERYTHING to His Church pertaining to life and godliness. We, of all people, should be filled with hope and should long for that hope to be reflected in our thoughts, our lives and, even in our entertainment. Our story ends with the summation of all things, with God and Christ living together with mankind in true peace, hope and love. Maybe those kinds of movies wouldn’t sell very well. But I think they would. What are your thoughts?