Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scary Movie Churches in October

A couple of Halloweens ago, when I was working in youth ministry at a church, I organized a zombie night. Everyone dressed like the walking dead, and we played games with that theme. It all led up to a lesson from Ephesians 2 -- we were dead in our sins but now are alive in Christ. It was a fun night, and some kids posted pictures on FaceBook.

A very well intentioned (I'm sure) woman sent an email to the church warning us of the dangerous supernatural evil we were exposing the kids to by dealing with dark forces and evil concepts. I sent her a message that we were indeed looking at evil things: sin, wrath, and the cravings of the flesh that Scripture warns us about. Zombies just provided an apt illustration of those concepts. I didn't hear from her again.

Historically, there are three topics in films that have engendered outrage from the church and religious groups: sexuality, blasphemy, and horror. The funny thing about the third topic is that horror films often have something closer to a Christian world view than much of Hollywood's other fantasies.

In horror films, evil is real. The supernatural is real. The devil might be real, and if the devil is real, one expects to find that God is real. If there are demons, there are angels; and if evil, then good. In many of Hollywood's comedies, dramas, and even science fiction, God is irrelevant. In many horror films, God is the only hope. The only thing between our hero and a vampire might well be the Cross. In real life, the Cross is the only thing between me and evil as well.

So October is about horror films. Some have monsters of a supernatural variety, some have monsters of the human variety. All of the films, of course, have churches. And they all are, in the words of Count Floyd, "scary stuff, kids." Because "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."*
-- Dean

*Psalm 111:10a NIV

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