Monday, February 26, 2007

Defacing the Giants

I learned from the movie Chariots of Fire not to prejudge a "sports movie." When I was eleven, I reluctantly went to the movie theater with my family to see Chariots of Fire but came away inspired. I deeply admired Eric Liddel for seeking God's glory in all that he did, including running, and for standing on principle in the face of opposition.

Recently on a homeschool discussion board, some people were recommending the movie Facing the Giants as inspiring and family friendly. I gathered that the movie was a football story, and while I'm no football fan, I allowed that the movie could possibly be worthwhile.

James and I rented the movie this weekend, and we quickly realized that it was a "Christian" movie.

*Possible Spoiler Following*

In my opinion, the word that best describes the movie is "fake." Setting aside the poor acting, it was a sermon-driven story, leaving me feel very manipulated. (I don't mean that sermons are usually manipulative!) A good story should be able to communicate important truths without preaching. This particular movie has a good message: Praise God if you win and praise God if you lose. Live life for his glory. What bothered me about this film is that the only losing that occurred (apart from one little token loss! that got reversed!) happened when the characters were not trusting Jesus. As soon as they started living for him, they were showered with victory upon victory in all areas of life. The manipulation part of the movie is that if one raises a skeptical eyebrow, the message is "With God all things are possible." I believe that. Really, I do. But I also know that the kind of "advancing still from strength to strength" that occurs in the lives of heroes of the faith in the scriptures and in all Christians' lives today involves a good bit of suffering and failure from a human perspective. The glory goes to God when we trust in His strength through our weaknesses. That's the kind of faith that people take notice of and that God uses to change lives.

Facing the Giants is not based on a true story. It is not that I am opposed to Christian fiction. However, it seems to me in this case that the purpose of the movie-makers would have been better served by telling a true story of God's work in peoples' lives. Testimonies abound. This movie, in my opinion, actually misrepresents God.

No comments: