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Christians Don’t Support Christian Movies

Over the years I have rolled my eyes time and time again at Christian cinema. I paid attention to the obvious budget constraints that tainted the overall quality of the final product and made my critiques, taking in the popular belief that Christian movies are LAME. They are usually characterized as “B” movies and are characterized as having lame story lines, bad acting and lacking overall in the other qualities that mainstream movies possess. They became and still are somewhat of a laughing stock amongst pop culture, and myself and many other believers have mocked and scoffed at these movies. Hardly any of them made it to the big screen and usually you would see them at your local Blockbuster for rent; at that time.

Since then, more Christian movies began to make it to the big screen and this select few had more money to back them. Obviously, “The Passion of the Christ” is the biggest Christian movie of all time in terms of the money it made and the media attention it received around the world. A few other notable movies have also hit the big screen since then and some even managed to grab one of the top spots during their first weeks of release.  Unfortunately, these movies have been few and far between. You can count of the number of them on one hand. However, Christian movies as a whole still don’t do well in the box office and typically go straight to DVD. They are usually found in Christian bookstores and make little profit, if any.

So what is the issue? Well, a friend and co-host of mine for an Internet radio show we do had an experience that answers this question no holds barred. He is the youth and young adult pastor at his church, and not too long ago, he tried to take his group to see the movie “Grace Unplugged.” The movie had been released just a week prior but when they got to the theatre, they were shocked to see that the movie had already been pulled due to lack of sales. Obviously for them to pull a movie after one week means that it did HORRENDOUSLY. He spoke with the manager of the theatre and the man told him the ugly, unadulterated truth: Christians don’t support Christian movies. From what my friend said, he wasn’t even sure if this man was a believer in Jesus Christ. So for this statement to possibly come from the outside is really, really sad… My co-host told this story during one of our radio broadcasts.

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On this same broadcast, we were interviewing a lady who operates a local inspirational magazine. This issue of Christian movies came up, and I was once again being critical and cynical of them during the show. However, this lady said something so simple, yet so true. She stated that Christians need to support these movies, especially the ones that make it to the big screen. If these movies can generate the money that these film companies need, Christian movies can begin to improve due to more money and resources. Doesn’t that make sense? After all, the most important factor in these movies is the MESSAGE, is it not? The execution may not be totally on par, but can we seek the message and choose ministry over mindless entertainment? If the body of Christ would choose to support more Christian movies instead of flocking to see everything else that the world sees, it would cause Hollywood to take notice. In other words, it sounds like we need to sacrifice in the area of entertainment so that there are better options available to us to enjoy wholesome, godly movies. God can use any medium to draw people into the Kingdom through His spirit. Just imagine for a second if Christian movie makers had more capital and also allowed God to strengthen their creativity. The result could be MAGNIFICENT! Imagine the ministry that could go forth in movie theatres across this nation! The possibilities would be endless if the body would commit to supporting these movies and died to more worldly entertainment! Anything is possible!

So recently, when I saw the trailer for “I’m in Love with a Church Girl,” I shook my head and rolled my eyes. (Yeah I know… sigh) It looked boring and predictable, and I was agitated at what I considered to be a lack of originality and creativity. However, this movie may be good and I will support it as soon as it hits Redbox and DVD. I’ve somewhat been a part of the problem and not the solution, so the buck stops here with me. We have to start somewhere. If we want things to change, we have to make our voices heard and that is through our support. We must also take personal inventory of the types of movies that we allow to flood our eye gates and ear gates. As disciples of Jesus Christ, there are obviously certain types of movies that we shouldn’t be watching, but the fruit speaks for itself. The fact is that too many self-professing Christians who will pass up Christian movies to be entertained by the world system. In fact, I believe that entertainment is an excellent tool of distraction that the enemy likes to use to keep the people of God focused on the things of this world instead of Him. If we are not careful, our beliefs and values can be tainted by television and the movies that we watch. The enemy’s tactics are often subtle, and this is a perfect example. Too much entertainment is one of the reasons why Christianity in this country is so weak and watered down that it’s not even funny. Let’s stop giving Babylon our money and start INVESTING in Kingdom movies. Yes, it is an investment that could pay the dividends of more quality, ministry-drenched, creative Christian movies in the future.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2014

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Spirituality

 

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The Kingdom of God is NOT a Reality Show

As I have stated in past blog posts, Christianity in this country has fallen into the grip and influence of Hollywood. We live in an age of celebrity preachers and very large churches that look and operate more like corporations than the temples where people are taught the unadulterated Word of God. The church at large no longer seems to be a place where people are delivered and set free from strongholds and bondages. It has become more like a place where people can come and be entertained with great music and charismatic sermons that are not designed to convict people of their sin. Not to mention, the word REPENT no longer appears to be a part of the church vernacular. People flock to churches because of the status of a preacher, especially if he is on TV or hobnobs with celebrities and professional athletes. And don’t let him be handsome or have an excessive amount of charisma.

So now it’s almost like the church has become no different from an exclusive social club where people are clamoring for attention and status. Yes, the church as I knew growing up no longer exists. Most of the churches that exist in this country are not changing the communities around them. Actually, it appears to be vice versa. For example, I get angry when I think about how most churches (especially black churches) lack ministries that cater to sexual abuse and brokenness. It makes me mad that I live in the metropolitan city that has the highest occurrence of sex trafficking, yet there are hundreds, even thousands of churches all over the place! What exactly are they doing?! It also pains me to see so few churches who are actively involved in rectifying this issue, as well as many others. Granted, I know that I might sound presumptuous, but I believe the fruit speaks for itself. I believe the community and surrounding areas would be a very different if the church was truly operating the way God intended. Now I do want to emphasize that I am talking about the American church collectively because I know that there are still true places of worship that are led by leaders who sincerely shepherd the flock that has been entrusted to them.

So why am I mentioning this? Well, after watching the first episode of “Preachers of L.A.,” I can fully understand why the American church has become an entity to be mocked and even hated. This new reality show profiles pastors who oversee fairly large congregations and who live lives full of luxury. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that a church leader shouldn’t be financially prosperous, but why do their riches have to be paraded before the entire world? Shouldn’t there be some modesty and humility on their part, considering that they are the ones who are setting the example? I’m sure that just about all of us have the heard the scripture that says we can’t serve God and mammon, but these pastors are trying to and it surely is not working. Aren’t these leaders supposedly trying to model their character after the One who never owned a mansion or had money? As a matter of fact, the Word explicitly states that church leaders cannot be greedy for money. (See Titus 1:7, I Timonthy 3:3 and 3:8) I can only wonder what people across the nation were thinking when they saw the mansions, luxury cars, expensive suits and Rolex watches that these “men of God” sported. I wonder how many people in their congregations are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, and the number of the families in their churches that are headed by single mothers wouldn’t surprise me either. From what I can see, this show only gave unbelievers more ammunition to justify the reasons why they don’t believe in God or attend church. I bet you that the salaries these preachers are being paid from the show blinded them to the fact that “reality television” is always edited for the purpose of obtaining higher ratings. Did they not consider that their arguments and disagreements would always be highlighted because of people’s addiction to drama? The exchange between some of them towards the end of the episode was no different than what one would see on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and all the other ridiculous reality shows that pollute the channels on television. Oh and did I tell you that five out of the six preachers are Black American? Yeah, you already know the deal… Stereotypes, stereotypes and more stereotypes… Did they not consider that their homes and luxuries would be on display just like on that show “MTV Cribs” or any other shows that feature lifestyles of the rich and famous? Seeing Bishop Clarence McClendon’s mansion was the perfect proof that this show is exalting these pastors; not the Heavenly Father. Did it ever cross their minds that people would get the wrong idea about Christianity and the church? The last time I checked, Jesus Christ did not die so that we could become celebrities or be rich. He died so that we may have the chance to be in eternity with Him.

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Now I do want to point out that I could respect the fact that one of the preachers goes back to his old neighborhood to win souls into the Kingdom. I respect the fact that he puts himself in harm’s way to minister to gang bangers. However, when he was able to get them to a gospel concert, something really disappointing and telling happened. This preacher summoned the men who were in gangs up to the stage during the altar call in order to lead them in a prayer for their salvation. Meanwhile, Deitrick Haddon (Award winning Gospel singer and one of the preachers) tapped him on the shoulder and told him he only had five minutes for the altar call. So in other words, his concert was more important than the eternal fate of these men’s souls. He needed to be on stage and the fact that these men were confessing Jesus Christ as their lord and savior was an inconvenience to him. But hey, this is what the church at large has been reduced to… People aren’t rejoicing and shouting over souls being saved. They’re getting hyped over the belief that their present sinful conditions are covered by grace and that they don’t have to change. They’re shouting over the fantasy that some extravagant, grandeur blessing is going to fall out of the sky because of the fact that they are manipulated into giving all their money to the church.

So for those who are defending this show, I challenge you to really do some soul searching and ask God if this show is truly honoring Him. If you believe so, then why is all the attention on the preachers and their personal lives? Why is the focus on their drama, their issues, their arguments, their families, etc..? Where is the focus on ministry??? Why is so much attention paid to their material possessions? Come on folks, it is time to put away the foolishness and get real! It is time for the REMNANT to rise up and spark a revival in this nation! It is time to distinguish the wheat from the tare. It is time to expose the spirit of Hollywood that has infiltrated the church. It is time to pray! Oh and no, I will not be patronizing this show, flooding my eye gates and ear gates with only a form of godliness. I need the real deal. The times are to crucial for me to risk being DECEIVED.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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Christian Hollywood

When I think about the story about who Satan was when he was Lucifer, so many things concerning the entertainment industry, especially the music, make perfect sense. According to Isaiah 14, he was the music minister in the heavens and was the most beautiful out of all of the angels. As we know he got full of himself and believed that he should be equal to the almighty God. He worshipped the gift (music and beauty) instead of the giver and believed that he owned those gifts. His position and level of gifting made him lofty in his own eyes. So when God decided to create mankind, He decreed that the angels would have to bow before man and serve them. Well, this was way too humbling of an act for Lucifer. Of course, we all know there was a war in the heavens and he was thrown out along with one third of the angels. (See Revelation 12:7-10 and Ezekiel 28:12-18) Now he roams the earth and rules principalities, along with his demonic forces. In the demonic realm, he runs the entertainment industry which has proven to be one of the greatest weapons of all time in terms of creating mass deception and distractions from establishing the Kingdom of God in the earth.

There are many directions I could go with this but I want to explore how the spirit of Hollywood has now infiltrated the church at large in this country. Hollywood represents narcissism of the worst kind. It has its own standard of beauty and is all about keeping the average person in awe like a deer in headlights. Hollywood is all about glitz, glam and celebrating people who have some sort of ideal characteristic that pop culture and society cherishes and idolizes. No other country on this planet has nearly as many celebrities as this country. We have become OBSESSED with being celebrated. So it only takes one song, one script, one brand, or one fad for individuals to reach the masses and achieve fame. In this country, almost anybody at any given moment can become a “star” someway, somehow. The arts in this country are HIGHLY celebrated and no other country has an entertainment industry like here. Unfortunately, this mindset has poisoned and perverted the worship arts arena in the body of Christ.

In the Kingdom of God, the arts are used for the same purpose as any other mantel or mountain: To reconcile the lost back to the Father. It is supposed to be the opposite of Hollywood. The purpose is not to entertain but to convict, edify, rebuke, encourage and HEAL the body, but most of all, exalt the name of Jesus and the Heavenly Father. Hollywood is the world system which is a fallen entity and it represents the culture of Satan. What is the culture of Satan? Greed, materialism, commercialism, competition, idolatry, sexuality (outside the covenant of marriage), etc. Sadly, there is now a “Christian Hollywood” that is proving itself to have little to no difference from the world system. Let me give you an example.

A great deal of the Christian music industry operates just like the secular industry. From several sources, I have heard time and time again that the Christian industry is just as cut-throat with business dealings as the secular, if not worse in some cases. More and more music is “industry” but not “Kingdom.” This music has no power to change hearts and minds and is birthed out of head knowledge instead of the wind of the Holy Spirit. I’m not referring to music that has beats or that is unconventional. I’m talking about music that is more focused on “cultural appeal” and that ministers to emotions but not the spirit. Why do so many Gospel songs talk about drama and “having to go through something?” Haven’t we progressed in our walks more than that at this stage of the game? The Word says that we are to go from glory to glory. This music was birthed with the same worldly mindset of coming up with “the next hottest thing.” The focus is on what sound is going to sell. Not on what sound is going to minister. What’s really sad is there is now a show that mimics American Idol and pits individuals who all represent Christ against each other competing for a record deal. Even worse, the judges are major gospel music artists who act like prima donnas and put contestants to shame when they don’t “make the grade.” Where is the Kingdom in this?! They are acting just like the world instead of being set apart. A mentor friend of mine always asks the question, “Would God compete with himself?” I can only imagine how many people who really do have the gift of song got turned away after auditioning and became seriously discouraged. I pray for those who may have shut down because they didn’t fit the “Christian Hollywood” standard. Can’t we see that this is all a ploy of the enemy to keep singers/songwriters/musicians from using their gifts for pure ministry? Shows like this one will only spark jealousy and discord amongst the artisans. The spirit of Hollywood has entered this arena and caused many to chase after it instead of the Kingdom. We now even have a major gospel duo that has their own reality show on TV, and it has NOTHING to do with ministry and advancing the Kingdom. What is the real purpose of being showcased before millions? I think we know the real answer. This is just like Lucifer who wanted to be worshipped instead of worshipping and obeying the One who created him.

I think about the various Christian movies that have come out in recent years. While I acknowledge that movies such as “The Passion of Christ” and “Courageous,” as well as a few others have made a major impact within the body of Christ, there are also several Christian movies that follow the same patterns of Hollywood. It seems like movies that have a true Kingdom message only come out about once every 2-3 years. This should not be! Unfortunately, there are many others that have watered down, cliché messages that only cause people on the outside to mock and scoff. Many of these movies simply showcase popular actors and music artists. The end product is a movie that doesn’t move someone (at least not me) to take action in their own lives. These movies just entertain and often appeal to specific cultures while giving people a false sense of security about their own sinful situations. In my opinion, these movies also have yet to find the perfect medium in terms of depicting real life issues versus light and fluffy depictions due to the fear of “glorifying sin.” Personally, I’m waiting for Christian movies that will begin HONESTLY addressing issues that are often the “elephant in the room.” You know, issues like sexual brokenness, racism, generational curses, leaders dealing with hidden sins, etc. Yes, the real stuff that will CHALLENGE us as believers. But of course, Hollywood’s fear of being too “preachy” or endorsing absolute truths has stained even the Christian movie industry.

So what do we see with the worship arts on a local level? We see individuals desperate to “make it big” in whichever form of worship arts they operate. Nowadays it seems to be a rarity to find worship leaders who aren’t looking for a record deal. Scribes would rather sell books and make the New York Times Best Sellers List than cherishing the obedience to write the pure words of Yah. People are passionate about their crafts more than the establishment of the Kingdom. This is the pride of life. They would rather book engagements and not serve in any real capacity. Lucifer rejected being a servant to God and many people reject using their gifts to serve Him alone and want to be made an idol before men. Why? Because the possibilities in this country are endless. Hollywood is glitz and glam while being a servant (disciple of Christ) is dying to self and esteeming others. Right now, there appears to be a lot of artists, but not many true ministers. A lot of charisma and talent but no ANOINTING. Too many people are being led astray by celebrity leaders in the body of Christ who preach false doctrines. Too much ambition is giving off a foul aroma from the pulpit and there is too much elevation of flesh instead of spirit. Remember, ambition was the very thing that got Lucifer thrown out of heaven.

Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that God lifts up certain people but for His purpose only. However, the artisans that obtain a level of fame or notoriety should be set apart and not acting like celebrities in Hollywood. They should still be HUMBLE. There are in fact people who are supposed to be wealthy but it is only because He can entrust riches to them to build and advance His Kingdom. Not their kingdom. I admit that the spirit of Hollywood is something I have to battle because of my desire to operate vocationally in my craft. It is very hard for me to not admire artists, authors, musicians, professional athletes and the like. That’s why I am so thankful to be a part of Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International. The teaching of this ministry has kept me grounded and helped me to see the heart of the Father regarding the worship arts. I am waiting for my heart to fully believe that only that which I do for Christ will last. Everything else will burn up in the end. Christian Hollywood has brought nothing but entertainment, competition, comparison and compromise to the body of Christ. These are all altars of the demonic realm that Voices of Christ seeks to tear down. All of us in the body of Christ play a part in this and have to make a choice. We are either going to worship God or Baal. The following scripture comes to mind: Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)

The good news is that God is in the act of replacing those ministries that allowed the spirit of Hollywood to pervert them. God is cleaning house. He is blowing the trumpet. I pray that He will send weeping prophets to the Christian entertainment industry to restore order just like He did when He sent Nathan to King David. Eventually, I believe the world will witness PURE MINISTRY like they never had before. These future artisans will know who they are and won’t need to win an Oscar, Grammy, Dove or Stellar award to be affirmed. God will use them to break off the spirit of Hollywood from the area of the worship arts.

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
9 Comments

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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