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Ted Baehr, Tom Snyder, and Movieguide

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I also don't think it can be changed except at a grassroots level.  When we interact with people one on one and they see the difference and freedom in our own lives.  When they see another way that isn't scary to them and are helped to walk outside of their zone.  Remember, a lot of their subculture is actually built on fear.  It can be changed through friendships, one person at a time.

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Since this is post 501 in this thread, Jeremy, I think the engagement Rubicon has been crossed.  The question I raise is "is it useful"?  Engagement of course can take many forms--a critique, a dialogue, a satire, an insult.  Classic rhetorical applications, I suppose, having never taken a course in the subject.  But in the face of this relentless willful newspeak (there i go) what good is it to spend any more time interacting with Movieguide?

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I think the good it can do is not to change them, but to help people who only have one foot in their door, so to speak, to not go in that way.  To help them to see how off some of these folks are.  If that makes sense.

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 But in the face of this relentless willful newspeak (there i go) what good is it to spend any more time interacting with Movieguide?

 

Well, for what it's worth, Sam Sweet at The New Yorker proceeded through his interview with me with a sort of heightening astonishment to learn that there is so much else happening besides Movieguide when it comes to Christians engaging with cinema. He had seen all kinds of stuff from Movieguide, from Focus on the Family, etc. But he was delighted to discover the arts-and-faith-friendly communities, the alternate-route perspectives at Christianity Today and Image, and elsewhere. He expressed his encouragement to see such an open, thoughtful engagement, and to find Christians who actually know names like Bresson and Tarkovsky.

 

By choosing to engage and express a contrary view to the predominant voice of "Christian perspective" in the media, we make another kind of "Christian perspective" evident to audiences, some of whom will join the conversation.

 

I've seen this happen again and again.

 

A college freshman wrote me a letter once that said (I'm paraphrasing), "My parents brought me up on Movieguide and Plugged In. I found your stuff at Christianity Today taking issue with Movieguide. It showed me a different way to understand art through the eyes of faith. And I'm not exaggerating... it pretty much saved my life."

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A joke among Catholics goes ... a group of Traditionalists were stranded on a desert island. A year later, when a ship came and rescued them, the ship's captain noted that there were two Catholic churches on the island. He asked one of the Trads to explain, and was told, "we needed one to go to and one not to go to."

 

I have no trouble saying Baehr and Snyder are idiotic philistines, and did so "to their [cyber-]faces," at the New Yorker combox. But as an outsider*, I will also say I'm seeing the same dynamic here, albeit in the reverse "ideological"** direction -- a little too much investment in being Not-Them.

 

-------------------------------

 

* This almost certainly will be my only comment in this thread since I see this as an intra-evangelical thing about which I have, by definition, no right to an opinion.

** Ugh ... I hate using political lingo in theological contexts but no very good substitute comes to mind.

Edited by vjmorton

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I have even less right to an opinion . . .  but I think it helps immensely to hear Christians who may be one or more of these things: evangelical, conservative, gun-owning, pro-capitalist, pro-life, disassociate themselves from that mentality. Word-order is very telling in this tweet (#Truth: Use 100% of your brain and heart - Become a #Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Capitalism #Christian conservative.) I have often wondered when and why Christianity became *so* predicated and subordinated to politics. It alternately depresses and horrifies me, and I'm grateful for questions and critiques raised in this thread and beyond!    

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I always think of people who are on the edge of these things that could just use a helping hand out, or maybe to see others and to know that they are not alone when they are walking away from it.

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But as an outsider*, I will also say I'm seeing the same dynamic here, albeit in the reverse "ideological"** direction -- a little too much investment in being Not-Them.

 

 

I will second that, though whether my standing as an outsider (in either a political, ideological, cultural, or A&F sense) is on par with Victor's, I know not.

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 Word-order is very telling in this tweet (#Truth: Use 100% of your brain and heart - Become a #Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Capitalism #Christian conservative.)

 

!!!!!!!

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I would think the WORST thing you could do is engage them. Let them to their own vices. Their hypocrisy is self-evident.

But as Attica and Jeffrey mentioned: 

 

He expressed his encouragement to see such an open, thoughtful engagement, and to find Christians who actually know names like Bresson and Tarkovsky.

By choosing to engage and express a contrary view to the predominant voice of "Christian perspective" in the media, we make another kind of "Christian perspective" evident to audiences, some of whom will join the conversation.

I always think of people who are on the edge of these things that could just use a helping hand out, or maybe to see others and to know that they are not alone when they are walking away from it.

I think the good it can do is not to change them, but to help people who only have one foot in their door, so to speak, to not go in that way.  To help them to see how off some of these folks are.  If that makes sense.

 

Yes, that makes sense. I would also add that it's always possible that someone who works at Movieguide may have a change of heart and sort-of realize the uncharitable, un-Christian nature of their reviews, and reading an articulate critique of Movieguide's practices could be very helpful to that person.

Edited by Evan C

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"ideological"**

** Ugh ... I hate using political lingo in theological contexts but no very good substitute comes to mind.

Well, Eric Voegelin traced "ideology" back to Joachim of Fiore and Gnosticism, suggesting that ideology always has an ultimate theological context.  If that's true, then your language is both accurate and appropriate.  D.G. Hart, in the meantime, has argued that the weakness of "the religious right" is that it has turned itself into an ideology.

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For the record, the finest films & shows of 2014 according to Movieguide:

 

WINNERS
 

$100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring Movie of 2013: Grace Unplugged


$100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring Television Program of 2013: The Bible


10 Best Movies for Families:
1. Frozen
2. Despicable Me 2
3. The Croods
4. Turbo
5. Grace Unplugged
6. Monsters University
7. Black Nativity
8. Oz, The Great and Powerful
9. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
10. Linsanity

 

10 Best Movies for Mature Audiences:
1. Iron Man 3
2. 42
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
5. Gravity
6. Man of Steel
7. Thor: The Dark World
8. Captain Phillips
9. Jack the Giant Slayer
10. The Tower


Faith & Freedom Award Movies
Iron Man 3


Faith & Freedom Award Television Winner
Duck Dynasty: Till Duck Do Us Part


$50,000 Friess Foundation Free Enterprise Prize: Shark Tank: Episode 4.20


Grace Award Movies
Actor: James Denton of Grace Unplugged
Actress: AJ James Denton of Grace Unplugged


Grace Award Television
Actor: Willie Robertson of Last Man Standing: Back to School
Actress: Roma Downey of The Bible

 

Edited by Overstreet

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Evan C said:

 

: I would also add that it's always possible that someone who works at Movieguide may have a change of heart and sort-of realize the uncharitable, un-Christian nature of their reviews, and reading an articulate critique of Movieguide's practices could be very helpful to that person.

 

 

To my knowledge there have been some that have had a change of heart.  You have chatted with some of these people Jeffrey, right?  At least if my memory serves me.

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Jeepers, I love me some pop culture, but for some reason Iron Man 3 isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think "movies for mature audiences." Either they're trying to "reclaim" the phrase, or they saw a very different cut than most people seem to have.

 

.

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 But in the face of this relentless willful newspeak (there i go) what good is it to spend any more time interacting with Movieguide?

 

By choosing to engage and express a contrary view to the predominant voice of "Christian perspective" in the media, we make another kind of "Christian perspective" evident to audiences, some of whom will join the conversation.

 

Yes, and I'm glad you have the platform from which to share this other kind of healthier perspective.  And as others have mentioned, and you have exemplified, this kind of grassroots impact has a personal effect on many.  That's a great thing.

 

I'll take a stab at working through my concerns a little later on--no time at the moment.  But I'm intrigued by the direction this thread is turning.

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To my knowledge there have been some that have had a change of heart.  You have chatted with some of these people Jeffrey, right?  At least if my memory serves me.

 

Yes! More than one.

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Attica, Even, Jeffrey - I'm encouraged by your responses. I suppose I'm sooner to disassociate myself from a 'Christian response' to art and culture when it just seems like too much work to redeem it. It seems much easier to simply pursue film and criticism on the general playing field, if you will. But that's just where I find myself right now. My Christian faith is restricted to mostly vague subtext for the time, considering what popular 'Christian' film criticism tends to look like. I'm grateful for pockets of the internet like this, but it still seems as though there's such a painfully long way to go.

 

Possibly I just live in the wrong place and see all the wrong things.

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 I suppose I'm sooner to disassociate myself from a 'Christian response' to art and culture when it just seems like too much work to redeem it. It seems much easier to simply pursue film and criticism on the general playing field, if you will. But that's just where I find myself right now. My Christian faith is restricted to mostly vague subtext for the time, considering what popular 'Christian' film criticism tends to look like. I'm grateful for pockets of the internet like this, but it still seems as though there's such a painfully long way to go.

 

Same here (except, y'know, lit crit instead of film criticism). At the risk of huddling into an ideological "not-them" position, I'm extremely grateful for A&F--particularly Overstreet and SDG, though the whole community was very important in the process--for the way it helped me move away from the Movieguide perspective (about--yep, ten years or so ago). There's a lot that's bad about defining a group in terms of us-them, but when the most vocal portion of Christian criticism is often the worst, I think it can be a needful thing as well.

 

--that's not just true of evangelical Christianity, by the way. Pretty much any time the blowhards are the loudest, it's a good idea to speak up.

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Josie wrote:
: Word-order is very telling in this tweet (#Truth: Use 100% of your brain and heart - Become a #Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Capitalism #Christian conservative.)

 

Well, the first four words are all modifiers, and it's the final word that is the noun -- so if we're focusing purely on word *order* here and not on word *choice*, I would say the only problem here is that "Christian" comes second-last and not last. (It's for similar reasons that many of us prefer to be known as "evolutionary creationists" rather than "theistic evolutionists".)

 

: Jeepers, I love me some pop culture, but for some reason Iron Man 3 isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think "movies for mature audiences." Either they're trying to "reclaim" the phrase, or they saw a very different cut than most people seem to have.

 

Well, when you consider that they want to eliminate all R-rated films and most PG-13 films as well, a PG-13 film like Iron Man 3 is about as "mature" as they can tolerate.

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For a guy who seems so concerned about obscenity and foul language, it's interesting that he follows and retweets this guy. Check out that header image with the dogs. Or this tweet.

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Buckeye.  I'm not sure if this stuff can be changed anytime soon.  What's going on her is the complexity of a different worldview in several ways, not just one.  The lies all work together to keep people caught in the same lies.  It's a circular system I guess one could say.  It's enhanced by the idea that anybody who disagrees is a "left wing", "cummunist", "marxist", "anti-Christ", "pagan."  

Don't leave out "humanist" or "feminist"

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I've just discovered a pile of long "comments" on my blog from Snyder. I'm not going to post them there, because this discussion thread already contains more than enough to answer pretty much everything he says. And I'm going to make this my last post on the subject unless it becomes extremely necessary. 

 

But for what it's worth, this is an excerpt:

 

Apparently, Jeffrey is more interested in unproven slander, and in diluting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, than Truth, Righteousness, or Justice. 

 

...

 

... I can no longer take Jeffrey seriously. There's no honest, serious debate, much less serious thinking or scholarship, in his and his fans' tirades -- just vitriol, mockery, slander, ridicule, logical fallacies, and (apparently) more than a little envy.

 

Edited by Overstreet

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I've just discovered a pile of long "comments" on my blog from Snyder. 

Ummm, see comment 509. DOES NO ONE READ WHAT I WRITE HERE??? :)

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I've just discovered a pile of long "comments" on my blog from Snyder. 

Ummm, see comment 509. DOES NO ONE READ WHAT I WRITE HERE??? smile.png

 

 

I mean... unapproved comments on posts at Looking Closer. 

 

The New Yorker post is not "my blog."

 

And yes, I do read what you post here. I also recommended your work in my post about this matter at Looking Closer, FWIW. ;)

Edited by Overstreet

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