Monday, February 26, 2007

Reel Light: Film and Spirituality

I love watching movies. It is one of my favourite pastimes, the other being reading, writing, making spaceship models, golf, eating, computer games, and collecting Batman figurines. Does watching movies influence my spirituality? Yes, I believe it does because whatever we expose ourselves to informs, forms and conforms us. I like the story from the First Nation tribes in Canada. An elder said that there are two wolves inside us. These wolves are always at war. One is good, kind and gentle. The other is aggressive, wild and cruel. How do we determine which wolf will be victorious? The one we feed the most. If we feed or watch a lot of movies with violence, cruelty, the Occult, or horror themes, it will definitely affect our spirituality.

Spiritual Growth Ministries' Journal of Contemplative Spirituality (Refresh) has its theme for the Winter 2006 issue: Reel Light: Film and Spirituality.

Andrew Dunn, the editor asks, "What if the act of movie going and watching has become a religious activity for many with its own rituals and temples as John Lyden suggests? I notice how religiously large quantities of popcorn, lollies, soft drink or coffee and icecream are consumed at the cinema, almost sacramentally one suspects! What if the communal aspect of film viewing has become a modus operandi for creating community that has its own life and vigour?" He then gives us some guidelines on how to watch movies in Cinema and Contemplation

Paul Fromont writes on Spiritual Direction: Waking Up and Recovering Ourselves through Movies. Using the movie The Matrix as the context, he uses waking up and recovering our true selves. Val Roberts uses the movie Forrest Gump to show us The Power of Love. Digby Wilkerson offers us his list of 100 Art and Faith Films. Man, I have not seen many of them. And Martin Stewart offers us his thoughts on Films as Parables.

The Journal also supplied some useful links:

Journal of Religion and Film.

Christianity Today at the Movies offering “Biblical perspectives on contemporary cinema”.

Describes itself as “pop culture from a spiritual point of view”.

Jesus: Real to Reel Bibliography and Web Resources For Religion/Theology and Film.

Film making as spiritual practice and ministry.

Jesus: The Christ Film Web Pages

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