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Rethinking the Movie Night

Movie nights are times to shut down. Off with work talk. Off with stress. On relaxation. On mindless joy. And who doesn't need that sometimes? I do!


But I can't help think that we're having movie nights more often then we realize. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, Americans watch around three hours (I rounded it up) of TV a day. That's almost a movie night...every night!

And what if I told you that movies are Trojan Horses? They draw you in with suspense, intrigue, delight...and don't demand you to exert mental or physical energy. Unlike books, they don't require active engagement, but are fine with the passive kind. Perfect for when you're exhausted from a day of thinking and feeling and...moving.

And what if I told you that this is the perfect setting for the Trojan Horse? Remember the myth...when did the elite Greek soldiers exit the Wooden Horse? Was it while the Trojans were dancing and singing about the great gift they now had to offer to the goddess Athena which would help them defeat the Greeks and finish this war?


It was late at night. When the Trojans had turned off their minds and bodies and had gone to sleep.

Yep. That's when the warriors slipped out, opened the gates of Troy, ushered in the Greek army, destroyed the city, ended the war. Gulp.

Movies are Trojan Horses, because every movie carries a perspective on the world. The best storytellers subtly embed their worldviews within their movies. And when we've let the Horse inside the gates of our hearts and minds and determined only to dance and sing with amusement, that's when the film's perspective slips in and does its work.

But wait, not all movies carry dangerous perspectives. You're absolutely right. But I'll counter, how many people at how many movie and TV binge sessions actually care to check? Because, certainly, not all movies carry subtle poison in their Trojan bellies, but many, many do.

And this was the idea behind why Stage & Story had our first movie night in our mountain home last Friday.


Instead of ushering these Horses into our gates (passively), let's march outside the gates and engage them (actively). We're already consuming Trojan Horses at an alarming rate, so why not pick one night around the fire?

Instead of watching the Horse in a corner on your tablet, let's gather an army of Christians to watch and discuss it together.

Instead of simply sharing how the movie made us feel, why we liked it and why we didn't, let's have a guide -- a series of steps and questions -- to help us watch the movie with a Christian imagination. We'll ask questions like such...

"How does the filmmaker and film engage with the biblical worldview?"

Or perhaps, "What does this film reveal about fallen human nature?"

And so that's what we did. We had about 13 people in our home and we had smores and a fire and fellowship. But we also watched Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and then over a period of around four hours, we talked about it...from a Christian perspective. It's an understatement to say I found it enriching, life-giving, joyful. From the general reactions and anonymous surveys, I think others did too.

But I have one final question.

The question is not, should we have another movie night? We will. Nor is the question, could I make our next movie night better? I can. Or, will I buy such large marshmallows, the size of a small planet? Probably not.

The only question I have is: WILL YOU JOIN US NEXT TIME? For our joy and God's glory.

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