Yesterday was a cool day in Los Angeles for me. For my wife, it was cool, mixed with managing a very active almost-one-year-old at a small outdoor shopping mall in 90 degree weather for a few hours while I was off in Hollywood attending a press junket for the Soul Surfer movie.
I was invited to represent Pastors.com since the press has brought a lot of attention to the faith-related elements of the film, and I’ll be posting on the site shortly about that very thing.
I sat in a hotel room around a table with five other reporters from various showbiz media outlets and spent twenty minutes doing group interviews with Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb, Bethany Hamilton, Rob McNamara, and Lorraine Nicholson. Because I was completely new to the experience and was surrounded by experienced Hollywood reporters, I kept mostly quiet, but I did want to ask Dennis Quaid one single question. Here’s the audio…
And here’s the official trailer for the movie…
I thought it was interesting how the different actors handled the questions surrounding the strong theme of the Hamilton family’s Christian faith that apparently gets preserved quite well in the film. Quaid, McNamara, and AnnaSophia Robb were all very positive about this element while redirecting our thinking toward the movie not being a “faith film” but a film about a girl whose faith shaped her character in responding to a life-altering crisis. I like that.
In fact, I think we often make a mistake when we value only “Christian” movies, books, and other media. I like it when the Christian faith infiltrates the storyline of something that isn’t specifically labeled “Christian.” I like it when actors, who are Christians, are in films and think we sometimes make a mistake when we see that an actor is a little vocal about their faith and we immediately segregate them to our “Christian” subculture.
The goal is to permeate the world around us with our faith, not to isolate from it. Will people come into a relationship with Christ as a result of encountering media such as “Christian” movies? Not necessarily. In fact, I think Christian movies typically draw an already-Christian audience. So it’s not that I’m excited about the evangelistic potential of this film, or others like it.
Rather I’m excited about the way the Christian faith of the Hamilton family is normalized and portrayed positively as a factor that shaped their response to adversity. Perhaps it’s the conversations that spin off of our discussion of the film that might lead into a dialogue with people about “how do you handle adversity?”
What do you think?