Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Meaning At The Movies: A Book Review

About The Book:

This illuminating book helps Christians think biblically and critically about the art and culture of film, moving beyond simple moral judgments to an understanding of deeper worldviews and philosophical meaning.
Hollywood produces, packages, and sells hundreds of movies every year. Many of these movies propagate a distorted sense of morality and ethics. Under the surface of immoral behavior and unlawfulness, however, there can be deeper problems in Hollywood's messages. What are these stories telling the viewer about life, relationships, and God? What worldviews and ideas do they espouse? If Christians are to tread carefully at the theater complex, they need resources to help them.
This book is just such a resource. By exploring the relationship between Christianity and art, the theology of biblical discernment, and a brief history of filmmaking, as well as through analysis of popular films, Meaning at the Movies equips readers for careful discernment in the cinema. The book does not simply list criteria for judging film art; instead it encourages Christians to develop biblical and critical discernment in regard to not only film, but all aspects of culture.
Check out an excerpt of Meaning At The Movies here (PDF format)
About The Author:
Grant Horner is associate professor of English at the Master's College and has taught film at the college level for fourteen years. He was a contributor to John MacArthur's Think Biblically! and speaks regularly on current theological trends, philosophy, and popular culture.

My Review:

Like many of you, I love movies. My favorite genres are mystery/suspense, chick flick romance, action (depending on the actors), and drama. I have watched many movies over the years, both in the theater and via VHS and DVD. I believe the first time I ever saw a movie in the theater was the original Star Wars in 1977ish (please correct me if I am wrong on that year). Obviously, I do not remember that outing with my family, but I know we attended several over the years, such as E.T., The Lion Kind, Father Of The Bride, to name just a few.

Over the last few years though I have tried to become more discerning in regards to my movie viewing. Not always successfully, but mostly. I have said "no" to watching movies based on the occult, witchcraft, or horror, but was okay watching movies that clearly violated moral and biblical standards. Hmmm, something did not seem right about that. Now, I am not knocking any said genre or movie specifically, but I think I was bordering on being legalistic in my viewing choices, while also overlooking important teachable moments.

That is why reading Meaning At The Movies by Grant Horner was so beneficial to me. His book is loaded with scriptural references and really showed me what is truly involved in becoming a discerning Christian movie viewer/goer. His book was very easy to read and I read it fairly quickly. I realized that I had a lot to learn, and need to view movies that will not only edify God, but also encourage, and edify me in my Christian walk.

As Horner mentions in his introduction, Meaning At The Movies is not able what movies Christians "should or should not watch". Its about why the film industry exists in general and how we, as Christians, should develop a discerning world view in regards to film.

If you are a movie buff, and like to dig deep with regards to movies you view, I highly recommend Meaning At The Movies. It will challenge you and give you a lot of food for thought. I read it quickly for the purpose of reviewing it, but I am going to go back and really dig into it in the near future.
BUY IT: You can purchase Meaning At The Movies online here, directly from Crossway. It is also available through your favorite local Christian bookseller of Crossway products.

****I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Crossway Publishers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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