The Avengers, The Gospel, and Christian Movie-Watching

Southern Gospel Yankee

christian movie watchingSome of you might be groaning already at this post’s title. It’s okay, I know what you’re thinking. Read on.

Lately I’ve become more and more irritated as I watch how Christians react and respond to film. It seems to me that Christian moviegoers are dividing into two rough “branches,” or groups. Not everyone falls into one of these groups (myself included), but from a big picture perspective, this is what I see:

1. On the one side, hyper-conservative Christians who will watch pretty much nothing. I don’t just mean that they have standards for their families (I’m all in favor of that), but they will insist that mature Christian viewers who watch something they consider “worldly” are allying themselves with the flesh and the devil. They have no sense of perspective and (usually) a very shallow sense of excellence and art.

2. On the other side, Christians who will watch pretty much anything, because they claim they can find “redemptive themes” in pretty much anything, from the innocuous to the horrific. They’ll go see something no Christian has any business watching and come back saying, “Well God spoke to me in a powerful way through this character or that plot twist, and I realize this film isn’t for everyone, but all stories are part of the Great Story and I can see the gospel in dark places too,” etc., etc., etc. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t movies that would fit that description, and even movies where I think reasonable Christians could differ on questions of appropriateness. The problem is that these people apply it to films that, as I said, no Christian has any business watching.

To illustrate what I see as the “seed” of this perspective, I’m going to start with a film from the innocuous side of the spectrum: The Avengers…

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