Be Still, my Beating Inbox…

mypicture-300x225I received an encouraging word from new friend Michael, who sent me a link on The Daddening of Video Games, but he also made me introspective. I work on Cinemagogue primarily as worship, which I define loosely as “to discover and declare the glory of God”. Still, seeing fruit in people’s lives from the endeavor gives me additional joy, and I felt led to share some fruit bites courtesy of my email inbox:

(Cinemagogue) “…really convicted me in both the movie and gaming arena to analyze what I am watching/playing and why. I had almost zero discernment before stumbling onto your series…”

Knowing that self-proclaimed movie geeks are blessed is always heartwarming… but then I hear about the NEXT generation:

H0920thAnniversaryOptimusPrime“Your perspective on Transformers has really blessed our family. My sons (age 7 and 10) are eager fans of the series. (Your teachings) have continued to help them see beyond the surface and to find Jesus in the midst of what seems like simple entertainment.”

It’s spine-tingling to think that my work impacts children and contributes… parenting resources? Wow. Movie geeks, parents, and kids; but before I can say “who’s next?” the emails from church leaders drop in:

“I’m a worship pastor in Atlanta, and I love the Film and Theology thing that you guys do. You actually look at the film aspects and see how the artist’s worldview really comes through. We want our people to understand that a real relationship with Jesus will integrate all areas of their lives…”

Then, as if to remind me that these “interwebs” aren’t bound to my little continent:

“I  feel inspired to run something similar at my own church. I live and work in the distant suburbs of London, England…”

Big_Ben“I’m a youth pastor from Northern Ireland… and I was contemplating starting a new venture, similar to what you are doing… being a novice in this ministry, I have some questions…”

One of the most humbling emails has been from someone closer to home, yet far away:

“I grew up in Longview Washington and am currently in Afghanistan with the US Air Force. I recently stumbled across your film and theology online… Thoughtful, blessed, right on target.”

Being a voice of inspiration and comfort to a man serving far from home almost brings tears… and although this last one doesn’t trump it emotionally, it does offer an equally-sobering sense of responsibility.

“I am a christian student filmmaker and i love your reviews. It’s some of the best preaching I get because I can relate to it so well due to the movie/narrative aspect.”

ClapboardThe fact that this faith-based form of engaging media might permeate the next generation of media-makers is powerful to me. I know this post could seem self-indulgent (and maybe it is – just a little) but I want everyone to see the heart behind why I intend to keep this going, and encourage readers to be MORE than mere consumers of it, but users of it and replicators of it. To know that moviegoers, children, church leaders, a global audience, servicemen… AND aspiring artists might all benefit is staggering to me, FAR beyond my original vision. Try thinking about the site as your resource:

  1. Forward links to those who might profit personally from it.
  2. Use it with those who differ from you to create dialogue.
  3. Leverage insights you want for home movie events and your OWN conversations.

Thank you SO much for all the encouragement and evidences of God’s grace that make this a venture well worth continuing… until the credits roll on my life here under the sun.

  1. Mom

    I just finished reading all the feedback you have on your articles, Son. I couldn’t see how studying film with theology could really help in this work. I have to now rethink that, because I see what an impact the film and theology is having on people from all over the world! I’m proud of you, Son, my Son!!
    Love and hugs from your ever-loving Mom!

  2. Tim Clark

    Pastor James, I have wanted to tell you for a long time that your film and theology podcasts are some of my favorite things to listen to. They have encouraged me in numerous ways. Most of all, I love your understanding of all of us being made in the image of God and how you look for what we have in common with others as image bearers rather than bashing on all the differences. My view of art and culture has been hugely shaped by you and Pastor Mark. Awesome stuff.

  3. solomani

    My only complaint is that is isn’t a weekly podcast 🙂

  4. Dave Roper

    Keep on keeping-on, James. As Bruce McGill said to Dr Sam Beckett in the Quantum Leap finale, “the people you’ve affected have gone on to affect the lives of others. You’ve done a lot of good”.
    Oh, and please upload the Groundhog Day talk to MH F&T. Gagging to hear it. Much love.

  5. admin

    weekly podcast… hMMMMmmm…

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