You can always tell that Pascha is near, by watching the newest movie trailers from Hollywood. It seems that each year, another movie or documentary about Christ or Christianity is released. This year is no different with a new movie reportedly about Saint Paul to be release in the coming days. I have no desire to see this movie as I have little trust that some playwright or director has spiritually beneficial information for us as Orthodox Christians. It isn’t that I am against Hollywood, although there is much left to be desired, it is that the nuance of faith is rarely able to be captures by the silver screen.
There is no love lost between Be Transfigured Ministries and Hollywood, but lately I can no longer remain quiet about the spiritual danger of Hollywood movies about Christ or the Church. Even when Hollywood isn’t openly antagonistic toward the Church, the real danger is from the slow infiltration of incorrect beliefs about our Lord and His Church. Some urge me to reconsider my position, stating “at least the movie is about Christ,” or “Didn’t Christ say whoever is not against us, is for us?”
If you desire to know more about Saint Paul, rather than spend what is no longer even a bargain ticket price, stop by your Church bookstore and pick up a book published by the Church. If you want to know more about Christ and His Apostles, pick up a book by one of the Saints and allow hundreds of pages to penetrate your heart with truth. Even the Holy Scriptures are routinely skewed by non-Orthodox interpretations, and we can rarely trust secular portrayals of Church history.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that watching movies about religion can cause us to lose our faith. I do find it disturbing, however, that many times I find myself engaged in arguments about faith. The real shame is that many Orthodox Christians believe what Hollywood films portray rather than what the Church teaches. You may recall the violent arguments over movies such as The Last Temptation of Christ. I remember many otherwise faithful members of the Church expressing acceptance of the possibility of false teachings.
Great Lent is always a challenge, not limited to the fast. The challenge is a true spiritual battle with demons and temptations. I encourage you to use caution when it comes to what you watch during this holy season. Do not allow the secular world to influence what you believe about God. The stakes are too high, and Hollywood just wants your money. As the third week of our Great Lenten Journey comes to an end tomorrow, the Church turns our eyes toward the Cross. More about that tomorrow….