Church & Culture
When Hollywood Goes to Church: 18 Stereotypes
A lighthearted look at what we've all learned about church and the ministry from TV and movies.

6. Churches are always open during the day for anyone to wander in and have a private conversation in a pew.

And that conversation will invariably be shushed by one of the elderly ladies who are there to pray. That's the Chicago way. (No, that didn't happen in The Untouchables. But I had to use that line somewhere in this post, right?)

7. If a pastor is in a scene for anything other than a funeral, wedding or confession booth, they'll turn out to be hypocritical and/or downright evil.

8. If they're preaching on TV or radio, they're only after your money.

9. If they pastor a megachurch, they're adulterous hypocrites.

10. If they pastor a small church, every seat in their tiny white chapel is always filled on Sunday.

Empty seats are very distracting to the camera.

11. Even Protestant churches have huge crucifixes.

Hollywood: the only place you’ll ever find a crucifix in a Baptist church.

This is needed for the hero’s “I’m yelling at God!" rant. Otherwise they'd just be getting angry at two pieces of wood. Hollywood: the only place you’ll ever find a crucifix in a Baptist church.

12. Pastor's kids are either naïve simpletons or angry rebels.

13. If the pastor’s kids are rebels, the pastor is always wrong and the kids are always right.

This also goes for cop's kids, doctor's kids, teacher's kids, superhero's kids, yada, yada, yada.

14. When a pastor quotes a bible passage in a conversation, the other person will always respond by citing the chapter and verse – thus showing the pastor who’s boss.

And it's never John 3:16. It's always an obscure, judgmental-sounding verse. And the passage must be stated as wordily as possible. "I believe that's found in Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthian church, chapter 4, verse 4." [smirk]

15. If a pastor preaches against a sin, he will be caught comitting that sin.

16. The pastor’s prepared sermon is always boring.

17. When the pastor throws out the prepared sermon to speak from the heart, it never lasts longer than three minutes and it’s always Ah. May. Zing.

Just like we've all done, uh, never.

18. Though unrehearsed, the choir always starts humming just the right song at the two-and-a-half minute mark of this amazing, off-the-cuff, three-minute sermon.

Why hasn't Hollywood stepped in and shown us how to do this? They could help us end the worship wars this weekend!

Pivot is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

August 14, 2015 at 7:27 AM

Join in the conversation about this post on Facebook.

Recent Posts

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters