Sunday, August 31, 2008

Offering Solutions Instead of Complaining

One of the reasons I've continued serving with FamilyLife is because of the vision I share with Dennis Rainey to try and offer solutions instead of complaints. I've often heard him say "Christians are known for what they are against. I want to be known for what I'm for." For instance, most Christians are known as being anti-abortion. While this is certainly true of myself and FamilyLife, we want to be known first for being pro-adoption. That's why FamilyLife started Hope for Orphans, a ministry that helps churches develop partnerships with orphanages and encourages them to begin adopting those orphans with the goal of emptying the orphanage. What if every Christian church in American were crying out to adopt the babies that are being aborted? Focusing on the solution would likely communicate more love while still taking a firm stand in opposition to abortion.

There are so many cultural issues that Christians take stands against without offering solutions. That's why I'm very excited about the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Doug Phillips began the festival to offer an alternetive to the film making machine in hollywood. Instead of complaining about what is offered, Mr. Phillips thought he should pursue a solution and offer a "revolution in film." Thus the beauty of their mission statement, which is "Reforming film, one frame at a time."

One of the more exciting things about this festival is that they are offering the largest single prize of any film festival of any kind ($100,000). This proves how serious they are about influencing Christian film makers to put out quality, competitive films.

Christian film is in an intersting position today. Bob Lepine analyzed the state of Christian film in his podcast Ear Reverent and especially reflected on rise of major motion picture studios developing "faith film" divisions. This largely rose out of their response to Mel Gibsons movie The Passion. When this movie came out, so many of the major studios were stunned that people would want to see such a film. They realized there is a huge untapped market to be reached. Make no mistake, their efforts to produce Christian films has very little, if anything to do with spreading the gospel. It is primarily about making money. But this is at least one concession from a media machine normally focused on pushing an agenda upon the culture at large, even if it is not what people want.

This is also true for books, as Vince Flynn noted when he stated that his first book, an eventual NY Times #1 best-seller, went through 60 rejection letters before he landed a publisher. He accredits the numerous rejections to his pro-war, pro-american postion in the book, ideas which many executives of major secular publishers oppose and do not want to publish.

So I applaud the efforts of Doug Phillips to provide an alternative, instead of just complaining about the options. This makes me reflect on the solutions I'm pursuing to the problems I endure. What things that insiprie complaining in your life could you begin praying about offering solutions for instead?

You can watch an interview with Doug Phillips about the festival here:


Anonymous said...

Amen to the first paragraph indeed.

Brian Reindel said...

Hi John,

I certainly agree about sharing solutions instead of complaints. I'm guilty of that for sure, and often find myself trying to curb the negative attitude. However, I think that Hollywood is one area where the solution is actually infiltration, and not a separate enterprise. I could probably write a long-winded tale why, but I'll try to keep it short.

One of the comments in the video touched on the fact that the Christian market for movies is mostly of "B" quality. I would probably go so far as to say "C" quality. The issue is that Christians have trouble with the content that makes people want to go see movies. I don't necessarily mean the sex and gratuitous violence (although some go just to see that).

What I mean is the essence of what makes us human -- the truth of what makes us fall so short of God's glory. Sometimes that is not pretty to look at, or pretty to hear. So we tally up the four-letter words, the number of gunshots, and a great deal of other things, and we chalk it up to Satan's lure. What we fail to understand is that those are the movies that get people talking, and get us engaged with non-believers.

Now, there are of course boundaries, and each one needs to find his own in the light of Scripture, and with a side item of accountability. Let's face it, a lot of movies are made to bring out our carnal desires, and to do nothing more than entice us to sin. Yet, there is a great deal I think the Christian community can offer Hollywood without all the sunshine and roses.

Okay, that was longer than I expected.

John C. Majors said...

Excellent comments!

Greg Halstrom said...
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