Thursday, 5 June 2008


Here's something else I've been thinking about for a while (I realise I've been asking questions without really suggesting answers. I guess that's the way my brain tends to work). Over on Peter's blog he recommends some resources by Ted Turnau on using films in evangelism. I've only skimmed it, but it looks good, as does his website.

One phrase in particular stood out for me though: "Let’s face it: movies are this generation’s literature." And I guess I agree - a lot of people will sit down and watch a movie who wouldn't sit down and read the book. And movies can engage with big ideas and challenge people just like a good novel will. This can make them a great tool for explaining the gospel to people.

But I wonder how many people would naturally watch a film in that way. I was taught to do it by Andy Shudall when I was a Relay worker. Before then, I would just watch a film without really thinking. I guess they may have shaped my attitudes a bit without me realising it, but I'm dubious how much. And when I think of a lot of my friends and family, I'm not sure they'd be much different.

I think a much more powerful force in shaping culture and worldviews is TV. I think it's sort of seen as a poorer relation of the movies, but think about it. It's there in most people's homes all the time. It plays a huge role in shaping how we view the world (whether via news, documentaries or chat shows). It passes on moral values (which, as far as I can tell, seems to be the whole point of Loose Women). In particular, I think soaps are massively influential. Regular viewers get to know the characters. They may like them or loathe them, but they care about what happens. And I reckon values portrayed in shows like these will be absorbed much more easily than if they are surrounded by Hollywood razamattaz.

So how would this shape the way we communicate the gospel? Good question. I think I'll have to think about it a bit more...

1 comment:

peterdray said...

Ted Turnau was big on 'worlds' being created in film, something that is made very effective by large screen size, lack of distraction etc in cinemas. I guess the closest TV equivalent is, as you say, the soaps. You could do a very similar critique using his materials on the soaps.