Last night Central Baptist Church had a movie night. It was supposed to be out on the lawn, but the weather forced us indoors. We showed Star Wars 1.
Why Star Wars? I mean we are a church, and we had plenty of people who are not part of our church in attendance. Why not a good Christian film with an evangelistic message?
Well, aside from the fact that the only good Christian films are (a) not “family friendly” and (b) don’t have an evangelist message 2, we don’t really see anything wrong with gathering people together to simply have fun.
We call it hospitality.
As a Church we are called to bear witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We are also, as a church body, called to evangelize and spread the good news of what Jesus has done 3. When we invite the neighborhood over to watch a movie, however, we’re not pulling a bait and switch. The Gospel is not a used car, we don’t have to dress it up and pretend it’s something it’s not in order to convince people to “buy” it. So when we open up our space for people to enjoy we provide a bit of community for our friends and neighbors to enjoy one another’s company with no other agenda.
Do we hope people see Jesus in and through us? Certainly. As disciples do we have an holy obligation to testify to the name of Jesus? Absolutely. “Testifying,” however, does not mean “disrespecting.” To me, opening up space for people to enjoy one another’s company simply so you can try to “sell” them the Gospel is the very definition of disrespect.
So we gathered some people together simply to have an enjoyable evening. In a world where there is so much pain, brokenness, loneliness, violence, and hatred the fact that such moments exist at all is a blessing from God. A blessing for which I am grateful.
- The first one, the real first one. Sadly, I couldn’t procure the theatrical release where Han shoots first (and he did shoot first, no mater what George Lucas says). ↩
- About the best “Christian film” I’ve ever seen is Blue Like Jazz. The film essentially deconstructs the notion that salvation and faith follow the neat packages portrayed in so much Christian media – particularly film. ↩
- And also what Jesus is doing. ↩