Lights, Camera… Church: Lifting Up the Prophetic Voice of Film

By Wayne Meisel

When I was a kid, my parents would not let me go to the movies on Sundays.

Even though I didn’t like it or understand it, when I became a parent I tried to enforce the same policy with my own kids. But when they (and their mother!) questioned it, I didn’t have a good answer for why Sunday movies would be banned and the prohibition was lifted.

It’s not like going to the movies was outlawed in our home. My dad took my mom to Tuesday night movies, partly because that was their only date night, and partly because he was looking for sermon illustrations for Sunday morning. And sermon titles were due on Wednesday.

My father provided a prophetic voice in his preaching — sometimes with the help of a tale of heartbreak or redemption he had seen at the movies. At the heart of this, though, was an ability to challenge people to become aware, to become educated and to engage.

That is what many do from the pulpit and it is what many documentary filmmakers are doing now. Some filmmakers see their work as an expression of their faith. Others do not. Regardless, when viewed and studied, a documentary film can:

  • Enlighten acts of courage
  • Challenge realities of oppression
  • Educate about failing systems
  • Call us to live differently, through what we eat, think and do

READ THE REST at Huffington Post. 

Wayne Meisel was a speaker at the 2012 NEXT Church National Gathering in Dallas. He and Macky Alston will be in Charlotte next week for the 2013 gathering. Alston’s film LOVE FREE OR DIE will be screened on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian.