On January 29th, it was my daughter’s birthday and I decided to surprise her and her siblings by treating them to see Kung Fu Panda 3 which opened that same day. I disguised my plan by first taking the children to a store which was located next to the theater. We shopped for a little while and then exited the store. I then had our group turn left toward the theater rather than walking toward our parked vehicle on the right. It was at this time that my children knew something was going on and that Daddy was probably up to one of his usual schemes. And so I walked all of the children up to the preview poster of Kung Fu Panda 3 which was mounted on the theater’s outside wall. I revealed to them that our entire trip was really just a birthday gift in disguise and I could see most all of them getting excited.
In regards to the movie start time, I had performed this feat with children of various ages and with such precision that I was a bit proud of myself. And then it happened! My daughter tells me that she doesn’t really care to see Kung Fu Panda 3 and she’d actually like to go home and watch a movie we already owned. It was at this time that I had to decide between honoring the desire of my birthday girl...or the wishes of the majority. A bit of guilt crept in because I felt that the rest of the children would harbor ill feelings against their sister if we didn’t go in to see the new movie and it would be my fault for putting my daughter on the spot in the first place. On the other hand, if I went ahead and made my daughter spend hours of her birthday watching a film she didn’t really care to see so that everyone else would be happy, what kind of birthday would that be?
In the end, I made the call to have us all just return home. Per my daughter’s request, I put on the movie we already owned and everyone seemed to enjoy that movie just fine. Afterward, trying to make sense of the event, I went and researched Kung Fu Panda 3 [again] to see if there were any elements of the film which I might not want my children seeing anyway. In this process, I came across a Christian movie review where the writer complained about eastern religion elements which Christian parents might not appreciate. It was at this time that I began meditating a lot on the concept that I’m now writing about:
Colossians 3:17 reads,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
I try to live by this principle anyway but learning from the Kung Fu Panda 3 event, I’ve decided to be a bit more intentional. And I want to encourage all Christian brothers and sisters to do the same. What I mean is: I have decided that from now on, I am only going to give God my firsts when it comes to movies on opening weekends. Therefore, unless a movie has been written and produced to bring glory and honor to the One True God, I will NOT go view that film the first weekend it releases. I can wait until the second weekend or later. In doing this, I hope to send moviemakers the message “If God doesn’t come first in your film, then your film doesn’t come first in my priorities.” Even worse are films that outright dishonor God. These movies I will refrain from viewing altogether. I feel it is important that all saints cultivate a sense of discernment and live by conviction.
Now, on the flip side of this comes all the films that ARE written and produced to bring glory to God or spread the message of Christ. When it comes to these films, I plan to go out of my way to mark their release dates and opening weekends on my calendar and make a deliberate effort to view them that first week. In doing this, I aim to send filmmakers the message “When you seek to honor God, God’s people will honor your film.”
Again, in order to really drive the message home, I feel that Christians need to be intentional on BOTH sides of the campaign. There has been a nice increase in the number of Christian films being produced but this is only half of the battle.
If it’s just one family, one church, or even one city participating in this endeavor to shape our media, I’m not sure if Hollywood and moviemakers will get the point. But if saints across the globe join in on what I’m calling the “God Film Resolution” (pun intended), then maybe we can put a dent in the amount of godless, wayward, or dark content producers have been told is perfectly fine to put out. If we’re buying it at all or swarming to theatres for their junk food on opening nights, then they’ll just keep producing it and peddling it. — Think about it!