I really enjoy reading, especially fiction. I have so many books on my “to read” list and sometimes I can get into a rut. The cure is to pick up a work of fiction to keep me going. While in Middle School, I was first exposed to Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. For years it held the “my favorite book” award in my heart. Unfortunately, it’s been 20+ years since I’ve read it and it’s become more of a distant memory. Then something changed.
In the past 5-10 years, I’ve become increasingly tired of most Christian media, primarily novels and movies. I think I first realized my issue while reading some books by Ted Dekker. I loved that he was pushing the boundaries of Christian fiction/suspense. Book after book exposed the darkness of humanity and sin where characters in the book, often the protagonists were non-Christians. However, they didn’t exactly talk or act like non-Christians and the characters were totally unbelievable. Thinking it was just that book, I picked up another and found the same to be true in others. I quickly realized that that this was simply “Christian entertainment” written for the Christian sub-culture who wanted a taste of horror or suspense without crossing any lines.
I think it’s really cool that some movies written and produced by churches have made it to the big screens. I’ve seen a few of them and they were pretty okay. The story was touching, but even as I’m sitting there watching the movie, I knew that I could never invite a friend who was far from God to come and watch it. They’d ask if it was a joke. They wouldn’t get it because so many of these movies are simply “Christian Entertainment” produced for the Christian subculture. There are enough Christians going to see these movies,they’ll keep making more.
Then I saw the movie Blue Like Jazz. It is a Christian movie, but it was NOT created for the Christian sub-culture. It is the movie a person far from God can go and see and no think it’s an inside joke they haven’t heard or. It defies all the Christian movie stereotypes, the makers really are trying t distance themselves from being lumped into the category of “Christian film.” I really do hope that more films like Blue Like Jazz are made. I think that our culture needs to see more expressions of art with powerfully positive messages that point to redemption and a God that loves them without them feeling like they’ve just seen a propaganda film. I also hope that Christians will go and see this movie in mass, with an open mind. I hope they’ll see and understand that this movie wasn’t made for them for entertainment purposes, but the film tells a story that family and friends who will never set foot inside their churches needs to hear/see.