Movies are a powerful media. Christians have used them to communicate our message with mixed results over the years. Poor production quality, amateurish acting, and one-dimensional storytelling have often undermined these efforts. But, thankfully, that has been changing with recent productions.
A new movie, The Blind, has recently been released to a limited engagement in public theaters. Even though it is a quality production, it seems unlikely it will attract large enough audiences to assure it remains in theaters very long. But, having seen the movie, it strikes me as a tool that churches and other ministries can use over the next few years to reach men with the gospel.
The Blind tells the story of Phil Robertson, the founder of Duck Commander and patriarch on the reality show, Duck Dynasty. True confession, I do not think I have ever seen a full episode of Duck Dynasty – but the cultural permeation of that show for about a decade meant almost everyone knew something about the Robertson family. Their Christian faith, homespun authenticity, and political incorrectness endeared them to many people. Now they are sharing Phil Robertson’s backstory – a gripping tale of self-destruction and gospel-redemption.
The movie tells a real story – without trying to soften Robertson’s behavior or preserve his image. Perhaps it seemed so real to me because it was the story of my upbringing – three children, a long-suffering mother, an irresponsible alcoholic father – only in my case, minus the gospel-ending and the multi-million dollar duck dynasty! Robertson was a violent drunkard who abused himself and his family. His sister and a pastor cared for him, shared the gospel with him, and were instrumental in his conversion. The movie does a good job communicating the devastation of Robertson’s choices – personally and to his family over about a decade. It also does a good job showing how he received the gospel and turned his life around. The ending – featuring Phil Robertson personally summarizing the gospel is pure Duck Dynasty gold!
Creative ways to use this movie – particularly with men’s outreach programs – must be discovered and used. For example, one strategy could be inviting men to a meal and movie – perhaps with outdoor themed door prizes. Based on how the movie ends, inviting men to follow Jesus – following Robertson’s example – will be a natural and appropriate response. The movie can also be used at men’s retreats, conferences, and other gatherings. Women and children can also draw hope from the story – particularly those who are struggling with a husband/father who is behaving in destructive ways and needs the gospel.
The Blind is a positive step in the right direction for Christian movies. More than that, it’s an encouraging example of the transformative power of the gospel.
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