It seems that Ameri-Christianity always needs something to poopoo on. Right now it’s Phillip Pullman’s book and the soon-to-be-released movie by New Line Cinema (who also brought us the excellent Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Nativity Story).
Just in the last 10 years we’ve seen Southern Baptists boycott Disney. Others have remonstrated against Ellen the “Degenerate.” Whether it’s Harry Potter, Howard Stern or the Clintons, it just seems like Ameri-Christians are much better wagging their fingers than they are about wagging their tails.
There’s so much to enjoy and appreciate and exalt about life itself. Why do our tribes of Christians seem so intent on only identifying what makes them uncomfortable and challenges their closely-held beliefs?
Sure, there are things in life that are wrong and many times, evil. However, when all our culture hears from us are “that’s bad,” then they turn a deaf ear to our bleating and can’t hear us the very few times that we almost whisper, “that’s good.”
In relation to Pullman’s series, there’s an excellent review available over at Christianity Today’s movie section. (Thanks, David, for the link!) It is the most well-balanced and fair review I’ve seen yet and more closely resembles my own attitude to it all. Yes, I’ll be reading Pullman’s stuff to decide for myself. In particular, there’s a great quote that I think is worth chewing on. In response to the question, “Do Pullman’s stories pose a threat to children?” the reviewer responds:
Yes, if … And that is a very big “if.”
Pullman’s trilogy poses a threat if our children read these books without any discussion about the claims made by the characters in the story, or without any parental guidance. The stories pose a threat if their parents and teachers are not reading the books too, and participating in the experience, talking about what the storyteller is doing.
They also could pose a threat if parents forbid these stories in such a way that the child becomes fascinated by the forbidden book. In elementary school, I discovered that adults had crossed out certain words from storybooks like Huckleberry Finn. This became the most interesting aspect of the book for me: I held the pages up to the light, fascinated by what had been crossed out. If we make these books seem more powerful and dangerous than they are, and outlaw them, we have just thrown fuel on the fires of curiosity. Better to teach our kids discernment, so that if they do read the books, they can see Pullman’s deception for themselves. (And this raises the question: How many adults are discerning enough to read these books “with eyes to see”?)
It’s just my opinion, and I haven’t read the books or seen the movie… yet, but I would urge believers in Christ to not get their undies in a wad over this movie or book series. God is perfectly capable of defending Himself against the attacks of an author or movie, don’t you think?
Yes, let’s practice discernment, but let’s also practice generosity of spirit and kindness. How may a person like Pullman (and his fans and others) be reached with the love of Christ if all we’re spewing is attack?
In addition, doesn’t the negativity actually promote and encourage folks to see it? You know the old trick… if someone tells you not to think about a white elephant… you will. In another excellent opinion piece, Kim over at Faith and Theology concludes, “And the ultimate irony: there is nothing like a good boycott to market a product. Popcorn, anyone?”