Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chaff Mountain

"We live in an R-rated world," explains Jeffrey Overstreet in this lengthy dialogue, where he both justifies movie grit and once again proves himself head and shoulders above so many film critics, Christian or not. The primary enemy in said conversation, as it nearly always in among "culturally savvy" Christians, is unsavvy Christians who just can't see the light in the darkness. And that can be a shame. Convincingly, however, Anthony Sacramone puts his finger on a danger, (one which no doubt Overstreet is aware of). Says Sacramone:
Now I know the tendency among some Christian film critics to find the wheat, no matter how negligible, in any mountain of chaff can be taken to an extreme. They are members of what I call the "School of the Teachable Moment." Graduates of the school are convinced that virtually any film, no matter how egregious, can be redeemed if only we will take the time to look for hints of spirituality - even when there are none (sometimes especially when there are none).... But there are times when tolerance is intolerable. You have a right to sell dog food and you have a right to sell steak. What you don't have a right to do is sell dog food and call it steak.
I'm reminded of a time when I declared, as an undergraduate in Ashley Woodiwiss' politics class, The Devil's Advocate a profound gospel film. Woodiwiss' immediate reply: "You don't have to step in it to know what it is." Because the gospel is the world's true story, one can tease it out of any story. But the truly meritorious stories are the ones that tease it out of you.