“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” That was Nathanael’s disgruntled response when he heard where Jesus grew up. I think a lot of Christians may have a similar reaction to the announcement of our summer sermon series, Redeeming Cinema. “Can anything good come out of Hollywood?” I say that’s a fair question, and I hope this series will help shed some light on that question.
The response to last weekend’s announcement was far more diverse than any sermon series I’ve planned to date, with some showing immediate enthusiasm and others expressing concern. Whatever your personal opinion may be, I think it is important to know that the following are NOT reasons for doing this series.
- Toby likes movies. Yes, I do. But the fact that I enjoy something does not make it worthy of a sermon series. I will not be doing a sermon series on whitewater rafting, the wonder of chainsaws or the joy woodworking. (Although some really snappy titles come to mind)
- Lighter summer fare. This series will not be a light-hearted escape from weighty matters of Scripture. We will actually be addressing some of the most serious themes in the Bible.
- Outside inspiration. Some might wonder if after 20 years of preaching the Bible that perhaps the well is running a bit dry for me, so I am looking to movies to fill the void. Not at all! It is the Bible that inspires me to evaluate movies, not the visa versa.
- Seeking relevance. One friend challenged me for going to Hollywood to make the Bible more relevant. No, the Bible is inherently relevant because it is God’s Word, and it tells us how to look at every area of life. Hollywood can no more make the Bible relevant than Mars can make the Sun relevant.
The goals of this sermon series are summed up in the subtitle: Polishing Gems, Discovering Bridges and Rejecting Trash. I could begin unpacking each of these but I better save it for the weekend. After all, I have a sermon to work on.