Now the Weinstein Company is developing a faith-based filmmaking line.

Since the Contemporary Christian Music has done so much to sidetrack Christian musicians so their music doesn’t accidentally end up in arenas where the world might hear it… why not create Contemporary Christian Cinema? That way, faith-related films can play to those who already agree with their messages, and to those who don’t want to bother with the challenges of mainstream movies. Meanwhile, mainstream audiences can put even more distance between themselves and films that openly wrestle with issues of faith. They’ll spot the “faith” label, feel a shiver run down their spine, and move on to something else.

Walls and boundaries. That’s what we want. Neat and easy labels and categories. All the better for judging other people, for staying where we are, for complimenting ourselves on our choices.

No matter what the industry does to try and fence in me and my Christian faith, it won’t work. I won’t preoccupy myself with “Christian moviemaking” any more than I’ll spend time shopping for “Christian groceries.” I’ll keep exploring questions in the open sea of artmaking, fully convinced that God is revealing himself in the art of all kinds of people. After all, they’re all made in his image, and they’re all using his materials, so how can they possibly hope to stifle the truth? I’ll keep finding God as he peers out through the beauty and the truth that resonate in the works of even the most defiantly irreligious.

If I see a “faith” label on a film, it’ll automatically make me suspicious that the work is preachy and mediocre. And more than likely it’s obvious enough and simplistic enough to qualify as entertainment for a six-year-old. If I sound a little too judgmental here, well, what do you expect when decades of preachy, mediocre, connect-the-dots “Christian art” have shaped my opinions?

My advice to Christians who make movies? Make them complex enough, powerful enough, beautiful enough, and subtle enough that they can never be dismissed as movies for that “faith-based” audience and ignored by people who want something challenging.

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