“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:3-14 ESV)
Barry Cooper wrote this in a recent book review of Reforming Hollywood by William D. Romanowski:
“The particular shock of the recent shooting in Aurora was that it happened in a sacred space. ‘The movie theatre is my home,’ said Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, ‘and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.’
For most of the 20th century and up to the present day, the cinema has been a functional church. It is a sanctuary, thick with worship and warning, joy and hope. It not only reflects who we are, it shapes us in trackless ways by offering us promises of what we might one day become. And Nolan clearly isn’t the only one to believe this: for many in America, even professing Christians, it feels like home.”
Why is it that the Church, to a large degree, also feels that the theatre is “home” or a “sacred space?” Scripture is very clear that the children of God are to worship only the one true God, having their minds renewed by His life-giving Word. They are not to partner with the sexually immoral or impure. However, this is what we do in spending millions of dollars with little discretion as we go weekly or even daily to the revered mountain of Hollywood.
We say that it’s art and entertaining, and it has no impact on our spiritual health. Others claim that in order to reach our world with the gospel, we need to be fully immersed in our culture’s world view(s). How much stench and filth can we actually stomach? When do we get out of our complacent La-Z-Boys and expose the lies of the movie industry?
And what about the actors and actresses whose job it is to portray intimate and immoral relationships? Which one of our spouses would willingly send us off to work with a smile realizing that the scope of work included passionately making out with somebody of the opposite sex (or worse)? Is it any wonder that the Hollywood marriage never lasts and that so many of the child stars are wrecked by the lifestyle and fame?
All of this is to our shame. We are not demonstrating any Christ-like love or concern for those who are being destroyed to entertain us by participating in the “fun.” Maybe worse yet is the fact that if the theater has become this “sacred space” and “home,” then our hearts have been exposed for what they really are—no different than the sons of disobedience.
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.