cinema | cin-e-ma
1. a movie theatre, a building in which films are shown
2. film, motion pictures or movies
3. cinematography: the art of recording visual images
synagogue | syn-a-gogue
1. a house of assembly
2. a place of worship
3. a Jewish congregation
cinemagogue | cin-e-ma-gogue
an exploration of how our culture lives, eats, breathes, consumes and effectively worships popular forms of narrative entertainment and media.
the recognition that the creative impulse for storytelling and cinematic expression is a reflection of our Creator’s passion, as well as a progressive wrestling with life’s ultimate meta-narrative.
what Homer Simpson might call a place of worship (see: “saxa-ma-phone“)
Movie theaters are modern day pulpits: people flock to their local multiplexes, group together, and share a worldview revealed in story form, allowing themselves to be emotionally led by directors and screenwriters who influence how we feel, think, even act.
Whether a film moves us to tears, chills us to the bone or makes us laugh infectiously, you can notice its influence in repeated phrases, shared platitudes, and lives reflecting the characters that resonate with us, inspire us or repel us.
As cinematic storytelling transcends the multiplex with television, home theater systems, mail order media, and films online, the engagement of this medium has inundated every corner of our lives, from public gatherings to our living room to our office computer. Literature and comic books become film, movies become immersive, online multiplayer worlds, which in turn generate comics and books until we are surrounded by shared stories.
Cinemagogue holds unswervingly to the notion that we are image-bearers of our Creator, a master storyteller whose narrative spans all of creation, a meganarrative in which we all play a part. Made in the image of our Creator, we have a yearning to both create, and be entertained, by narrative. People immerse themselves in story much like Christians treasure the story of Jesus. It is our hope that people would enjoy and engage cinema and storytelling mediums not just as “diversion” but with discernment, engaging the culture around us and reflecting on how it distorts and reflects the larger narrative of our lives.
At Cinemagogue, we explore the various literary and philosophical facets drawn on as new stories are told, common themes and historical roots. Ultimately, we place all stories against the controversial storytelling of Jesus Christ, who claimed not only to be truth incarnate, but the master storyteller who spoke the universe into existence, the central figure, the ultimate protagonist and hero in our shared narrative that is life.
Cinema, meet truth.
For an overview of why we do what we do at Cinemagogue…
Conference Talk: 21st Century Storytelling (talk begins at 2:57)
- Film & Theology 101: God as Storyteller
- Film & Theology 102: Redeeming Entertainment
- Film & theology 103: Engaging Narrative
- Film & theology 104: A Tale of Two Stories