Christians can choose to dwell on — and invest in — movies that show us what we already like, tell us what we already know, assure us of our own salvation, and make us feel happily entertained. That isn’t wrong. But might we make better use of our time? Might we exercise courage and conscience, step outside of our comfort zones, attend to our neighbors, and learn from their experiences?
He should have been with me on that nice summer day forty years ago when I went to see The Message in London:
And “we” were quite a group. As the moviegoers filed into the theatre for the showing, that sudden realisation came over me: “I’m the only white guy in this place.” The rest of the viewers were obviously immigrants, probably mostly Pakistani. Once everything went dark and the film started, it was pretty interesting. So was the crowd; they cheered when the Muslims won a full battle or killed an infidel. I thought that they might get fired up to start “jihad” in the theatre and I would be their first victim. But they didn’t, the film ended peacefully, and the happy Muslims filed out.
I know, the film he reviewed (Timbuktu) isn’t the same as The Message, which was about the life of Mohammed. But I’ll bet that his idea to “step outside of our comfort zones” (a phrase that gets overused in Christian parlance) didn’t include what I experienced on the Fulham Road.