Archives For Theatrical Theology

My wife and I rented a movie that was surprisingly good.  Like most women she wanted to rent a “chic-flic” so I agreed and I looked and it said The Bounty Hunter.  I thought to myself, “Isn’t that a show on A & E?”  Heather thought she made a mistake but we decided to watch it anyways and I was glad we did.  The plot is about a bounty hunter (played by Gerard Butler, star of 300) named Milo Boyd who is recently divorced from his wife (played by Jennifer Aniston) named Nicole Hurley who is in trouble for not appearing at a court date.  Milo is given the task of chasing down his ex-wife to bring her back for bail and arraignment.  The movie is filled with twists and turns as Hurley is working on a case for her story in the newspaper and has stumbled across a lead on a possible murder case.

While running and spending time with each other Milo and Nicole fall in love with each other all over again while confronting painful realities of their separation.  Themes from Scripture are abundant:

  • Good versus evil
  • Right versus wrong
  • Justice
  • Persistence
  • Marriage Covenant

This is a good movie for couples to watch to strengthen their commitment to each other and to witness the powerful intoxication love offers.

Disclaimer:  In each movie there are things I cannot endorse like language, alcohol use, etc.  Please use a discerning heart when watching this movie.


In the movie City Slickers a group of New Yorkers go out west for an adventure to celebrate Mitch Robbin’s (Billy Crystal) 40th birthday.  Their guide is a guy by the name of Curly (Jack Palance) who is a rugged cowboy short of words but full of wisdom.  Mitch is struggling with purpose in his life and seems to be more on a quest of life-meaning than a relaxing vacation.  In a conversation between Curly and Mitch, Curly seems agitated about Mitch’s life struggle so he turns over to Mitch on horseback this exchange is shared:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean ________(explicative).
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out…

I wonder what the “one thing” of Youth Ministry is.  In my library I probably have 20-30 books about youth ministry.  Some I have read thoroughly and others I have only thumbed through.  Some speak to a family-based youth ministry while others advocate more of a relational/missional youth ministry.  So who is right?

If we could boil youth ministry down to “one thing” what would that one thing be?

Maybe Curly was right…maybe YOU have to figure this out yourself.  What do you think?

Tangled Theology

December 14, 2010 — 2 Comments

Any movie I watch I try to find redemptive qualities that allow me to tell a story using the movie as a framework for that story.  The movie Tangled was, in my opinion, one of the better animated movies of the year.  The graphics are above par but what captivated me was the story that involved the typical plots of a medieval style love story.  You have your “damsel-in-distress” with Rapunzel and the rescuer who both are searching for the true story (they call it a dream) that is hidden deep within their core.  Call it fate or providence but they meet each other in the exact moment of need and the rest of the movie is devoted to finding Rapunzel’s true story as it was hidden from her since birth.  I do not want to ruin the movie so I will simply offer a few themes I thought were worthy of note that Christians might appreciate in the movie.

  • Quest for truth. The main characters are all on a quest of truth with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider searching for meaning and Mother Gothel trying to subvert that meaning.
  • Evil forces hinder our quest. Mother Gothel could be seen as a quasi-evil figure who uses Rapunzel’s powers for herself yet is the obstacle Rapunzel must go through to seek what is rightfully hers.  Christians, does this sound familiar?  We cannot avoid evil but must combat evil one-on-one to gain the prize.
  • Parenting 101. Mother Gothel, sadly, is an example of how some real-life parents live vicariously through their children and often use them for their own purposes.  Every time Rapunzel tried to leave Gothel would guilt her into staying by letting Rapunzel know how much that hurts Gothel to want to leave.  On the opposite side, Rapunzel’s real parents never give up in the search for their daughter even when each year it becomes harder and harder.
  • A beautiful princess changes everything. Guys pay attention to this one.  Flynn’s quest of selfishness is quickly subverted when he meets the women of his dreams.  Regardless of your gender when that special someone comes into your life everything narcissistic soon becomes vain and mundane…or at least it should.  There is a reason why Hollywood can sell a handsome man rescuing a damsel-in-distress…it’s every guy’s dream.
  • The purpose of our life takes time to figure out but when it comes it comes quickly. Not sure how to explain this other than you have to experience it to appreciate it.
  • We are all tangled somehow. The hair is the center piece of the entire movie.  It gives power (Samson-like?), it gives meaning, it is Rapunzel’s identity but it also holds Rapunzel back.  The movie ends with a unique twist but suffice it to say that what tangles her life and was her identity also helped her form something new and create a new identity.  We are tangled though in a web of confusion and false stories.  We hold on to thinks that make us feel comfortable and (we think) shapes our identity but paradoxically it is those things that also keep us from discovering what our TRUE identity really is.

I could go on but what other themes of Christianity did you see in the movie?