This weekend saw the opening of a controversial film starring Nicole Kidman, The Golden Compass. The lead up to the film included outcry from various Christian sources warning of the films dangerous God-killing message. I personally got a dozen or more concerned emails from brothers and sisters in Christ about how dangerous the message would be and the damage it might do to our children if they viewed it.
O.K., let's chill for a moment. If the opening weekend is any indication, the movie stinks. In fact, the only reason it raked in $26 million this weekend is probably due to the alarms Christians were raising. I'm all but certain the movie's producers hoped for the outcry. I read the cliff notes version of the story online and basically concluded it was junk literature (unlike, say C.S. Lewis...and, dare I even say- J.K. Rowling!). What does the Golden Compass teach us? Well, first of all, it won't teach me anything. It sounds like a piece of garbage film, and not for the anti-Christian reasons you might expect me to point out. I read the plot of the movie (which is altered from the book quite a bit...don't want to be too offensive...just enought to generate ticket sales), and a few pre-reviews, and frankly, could tell ahead of time- anti-God or not- this film promised to be really lame. I'll most certainly re-watch a quality film, like The Godfather or Nacho Libre, before I give 2 hours to this film. The second thing it teaches me, once again, is how weak the American Evangelical church has become. I can't understand why someone would want to spend money on a sorry film like this, but if one did sit and watch it- even your children- do you really think it would threaten your faith? Your children's faith? Seriously? If a film like this can somehow shake us or our children, something is way off in our discipleship efforts in the church. God forgive us for freaking out on this.
I fully understand there are differing levels of impressionability our children may be at, depending largely on age and maturity, however, if a 10 or 11 year old child of the Church cannot discern bull when he/she sees it, we shouldn't get mad at Hollywood, we should get mad at ourselves, repent of our unfaithfulness to Deuteronomy 6 and say sorry to the world for not being the salt and light Jesus called us to be.
A film like Golden Compass (like many others before it- remember the "Last Temptation" and more recently, "DaVinci Code") will come and go, I'm afraid the church's weakness will continue unless we start doing something different with regard to the discipleship of our children and our overall influence on culture.