During my years at First Presbyterian Church, my wife and I have led a small group called Theology @ the Movies. This group has viewed and discussed a wide variety of films for several purposes.
First, it is important for the church to be conversant with what is “out there” – to know what is connecting with people – themes, ideas, etc – in order to be more effective in sharing the Gospel.
Second, film often provides a mirror to parts of our society – including the church. As all the of the films we have watched have some form of spiritual or theological basis, we have conversed with the films to try to understand what the film is saying about the church.
Third, film opens people up to worlds and ideas they might not encounter otherwise. One of our series focused on “controversial topics.” As we viewed and discussed Dead Man Walking, Hotel Rwanda, Do the Right Thing, and The Laramie Project, we were able to discuss topics such as the death penalty, racism, hate crimes, and genocides in an extremely effective way.
Fourth, it is fun to watch movies and share the experience with others.
We have done several “mixed” series with films of different genres, a series on comedies, one on controversial topics, and one based upon the book Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes Through Contemporary Film by Robert Johnson.
Below are some of the discussion guides from our series.
- Bowling for Columbine
- Bruce Almighty
- Dead Man Walking
- Do the Right Thing
- Hotel Rwanda
- Keeping the Faith
- The Laramie Project
- The Last Temptation of Christ
- The Matrix
- Minority Report
- Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- O Brother, Where art Thou?
- Pale Rider
- What Dreams May Come