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Christianity Today at the Movies: Features

Christianity Today at the Movies: Features

Award-winning website devoted to film reviews, interviews and commentary, all written from a biblical perspective.
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This celebration of black culture and black success points to a bigger story for the church.A while ago, I stopped watching a certain type of black movie.In the wake of the black suffering that I saw in real life, I didn’t want to see another black slave scene. I didn’t want the water hoses of Alabama to once again wreck my hopes. I didn’t want to see us integrate another school, sports team, or profession despite the overwhelming odds. I didn’t avoid these films because I was ashamed of our history, but because my soul needed rest.The film Black Panther presented itself differently. It did not set out to highlight black suffering, but black achievement. Furthermore, it was black achievement in a black context. For black people, this was a film for us, by us, and about us.The Marvel movie—set in a fictional, futuristic African country (Wakanda) and featuring an African and African American cast—has even inspired black viewers to come to the movie dressed in traditional African clothing.This response might seem excessive, but given the history of cinema, the chance to center the black experience outside of the setting of extreme poverty is no small thing. Black audiences are celebrating the vision for a bigger story for black boys and girls; their support is a call to attend to the whole of black life and culture.American evangelicals might look to Black Panther as a starting point for dialogue and reflection as they increasingly address concerns about diversity, reconciliation, and representation in their churches and the church at large.This movie milestone exemplifies how deeply we as a people want to be our whole black selves and tell our whole stories. We resist the expectation that we must conform to cultural norms in order to be accepted in white spaces, including evangelical ...Continue reading...
In his new HBO show 'Crashing,' the former evangelical winks to Christian fans.If Pete Holmes’s HBO series Crashing is his love letter to comedy, the church at least gets a tender PS.Inspired by Holmes’s life and evangelical background, the show follows a nice Christian guy who’s trying to make it in standup after his divorce leaves him dumbstruck and homeless. Episode to episode, his character crashes with Sarah Silverman, Artie Lange, T. J. Miller, and other comics he meets while grappling with the brutal New York comedy scene and his quarter-life crisis.Fans will not be surprised that Holmes’s series, complete with tracks from Joel Osteen sermons and Jars of Clay CDs, puts faith at the forefront. Even though he’s no longer an evangelical, he can’t resist talking about God. Religion constantly comes up in his popular podcast, You Made It Weird. On Crashing—which he produces with Judd Apatow—the TV version of Holmes makes for a likeably, laughably naïve protagonist; he stands by his clean comedy, owns up to beings a “God guy,” and explains to his new buddies why he and his ex waited to have sex until marriage.These days, Holmes, 38, draws inspiration from contemplative Catholic Richard Rohr, spiritualist Ram Dass, and pastor Rob Bell, now one of his best friends. The two go on tour together, and Bell prompted Holmes’s newest project: a book about God.While his churchgoing days may be behind him, the Los Angeles comic considers himself “a Christ-leaning spiritual seeker” who finds new meaning in the Christian vocabulary and stories with which he was raised. CT online editor Kate Shellnutt talked to Holmes about his new show and the intersection between his faith and his comedy.Continue reading...

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