Art tends to imitate life, and the same is true for Christian movies. Faith-based films have always been used to educate viewers on important subjects like marriage, family, and religious freedom, but there are other crucial issues that filmmakers have quietly side-stepped. Maybe they’re considered inappropriate for a Christian film, or maybe the topic is just too controversial. Either way, Christians are losing valuable talking points on some serious questions. If we hope to correct this, here are five modern issues we need to see in today’s Christian movies.
Christians often hear that a Godly marriage can survive anything, but the sad truth is, sometimes it doesn’t. Yes, God is capable of redeeming a broken relationship, and troubled couples should do everything in their power to reconcile, but divorce still happens, even in the Church. To make matters worse, very few Christians know how to respond when a marriage ends. It’s not uncommon for well-intentioned believers to say or do the wrong thing while trying to be helpful. A faith-based movie could go a long way into solving this.
We need to see examples of divorced couples who learn to forgive one another, but remain separated. After all, healing does not always mean the restoration of a marriage. Sometimes it means picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and discovering that despite all your failures, there is still a place for you a Christ’s table.
Mental illness is an awkward topic for the Church. In the past, some Christians believed things like depression and PTSD could be solved with prayer and a little Bible study. Now, we understand these are serious medical conditions that usually require a doctor’s attention. Still, this has done nothing to remove the stigma from mental illness. As an issue that affects countless people worldwide, the Church can no longer afford to be silent.
A Christian film might help start the conversation. With a good script and decent actors, Christian viewers could see the reality of life with mental illness. It would provide an opportunity for believers to learn how they could best help, and remind us that loving our neighbor means sharing their burdens.
Homosexuality & Same-Sex Marriage
Most Christians know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but that doesn’t change the fact that same-sex marriage is becoming a very real part of our society. Given the big changes on the horizon, it’s time Christians started acknowledging gay and lesbian individuals in their films. To be clear, this does not mean all Christians need to start endorsing gay marriage. However, it does mean letting go of hurtful stereotypes we’ve clung to for years. There are a lot of myths surrounding homosexuality, and as followers of Christ, we need to separate the truth from fiction.
Imagine the possibilities of a Christian film that took an honest look at homosexuality. Parents could learn how to respond when their children come out. A believer could explore the reasons why some Christians would attend a same-sex wedding, while others would not. If we are going to speak the truth with love, we need to know what it looks like.
Having doubt is not a sin. In fact, sometimes doubt is necessary for faith to grow. Unfortunately, sincere doubt is a topic few Christians like to address. We prefer to act as though everything about our faith is obvious. Simply put, it’s easier to sing songs and quote scripture than acknowledge that gnawing feeling of uncertainty in our gut.
Doubt is no stranger to Christian movies, but it’s usually cleared up the minute a character opens their Bible. Christians need a film where the protagonists reads the Word, absorbs the theology, prays the right prayers, but still wrestles with doubt. If Christ’s own followers had their seasons of uncertainty, we can afford to talk about doubt in Christian films.
The Purity Culture
Let’s face it, Christians are really bad at talking about sex. We know that sex is a gift from God, that it’s sacred and should be reserved for marriage, but sometimes that message gets lost in translation. The Purity Culture was designed to help young Christians stand apart from our sex-obsessed world, but as Sarah Bessey has pointed out, it also wraps up all our value and worth in virginity. We shame youth who go astray, and compare them to damaged goods. Meanwhile, we turn marriage into an idol and create unreal expectations for future spouses.
There needs to be a message that teaches youth to respect sex without disqualifying others. A Christian movie about sex sounds ridiculous, but it might be the only way to fix the problems caused by the Purity Culture.
What about you? What are some issues you want to see in Christian movies?