Movie lovers who are tired of the sex, blood, and gore of mainstream cinema and want something more uplifting may finally have an alternative, thanks to the Spiritual Cinema Circle.

Billing itself as a cross between the Book-of-the-Month Club and Netflix, the Spiritual Cinema Circle (SCC) is a subscription-based movie club that distributes a monthly DVD featuring 3-5 spiritually themed movies for $25.95 per volume, including shipping.

According to SCC co-founder Stephen Simon, films must meet several criteria to be considered Circle-worthy. "We look for movies that ask who we are and why we're here, AND leave you feeling at least a little bit better about being a human being after you're finished watching it," he said.

By those criteria, Simon explains, Whale Rider, The Matrix, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are examples of major releases that would qualify; American Beauty most definitely would not. Neither would The Passion of the Christ, which would be too dogmatic and too violent according to SCC standards.

Indeed, the Spiritual Cinema Circle is aptly named; it features films that are spiritual, though not necessarily Christian, in their worldview. One glance at the SCC's website indicates its multi-faith, open-armed philosophy; the image at the top of its homepage prominently features the Chinese yin-yang symbol and a woman in a yoga-like meditative pose.

Christian or otherwise, films with spiritual themes don't always find mainstream distributors, which is why Simon left Hollywood—after working on production of such movies as Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Smokey and the Bandit, and finally, What Dreams May Come—to form the SCC.

No theological agenda

Simon does not have a subversive spiritual ...

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