Editor's note: This is the third of a four-part series about what it means to make "good, Christian movies." In this part, the author examines films that are "merely" entertaining—even frivolous—and what he believes the Bible has to say about that.
As a child, I grew up in the world of missionaries—a world full of fantastic people like the indomitable Hudson Taylor, Mary Slessor the "white queen of Calabar," and my hero as a teenager, the ferocious, poetic Jim Elliot. Forfeiting home, family and the comforts of their native culture, these brave souls sacrificed their lives for the gospel of Christ. "Expendable for God!" they cried with earnest, burning hearts. Former English missionary C. T. Studd intoned what would become the confession of countless missionaries: "Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." To my youthful spirit, this was edible fire: sublime and deeply satisfying.
It was serious business being a missionary. There was much to be done and too brief a life to accomplish it all. Missionaries "made the most of their time" so as not to squander a single opportunity to serve people with the love of Jesus. Fruit-bearing for the Kingdom must be a first priority, and rightly so.
Many years later, looking back on my slightly romantic view of missionaries, I wonder whether the Greats would have approved of me watching movies—lots of movies. With the harvest so dreadfully plentiful, how could I indulge in hours of Monty Python or What About Bob? Perhaps they would have tolerated The Gods Must Be Crazy, but never something so frivolous as Wayne's World. Could we imagine Mother Teresa holed up with a copy of The Pink Panther while ...1
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