Monday, September 8, 2014

Intro: Whatever Is... (A Quasi Blogathon)

Most of you who know me know that connecting my faith with my art is very, very important to me. In my 2012 blog post Why I Watch What I Watch (As a Christian), I talked about how I believe Philippians 4:8 is frequently misused by Christians and then that misinterpretation is used as the measuring stick for all works of art.

The verse:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
And what I've said about it before:
When I go to watch something, my main question is, "Is there good in this?" while most Christians I talk to about consuming media ask, "Is there bad in this?" . . . Interestingly enough, this same verse is often used to justify the opposite worldview. It frequently gets turned around to be entirely negative. Instead of, "Whatever is true, think about such things," it turns into, "Whatever is not true, do not think about such things." It's a subtle difference, but a very important one. The emphasis is on things to avoid, rather than things to embrace.
For awhile now, I've been thinking that I wanted to do a blog series where I would focus on each one of these Philippians 4 attributes, figure out what it could mean, and suggest a couple movies that I feel exemplify that attribute. This could easily apply to music, TV, books, plays, and other art forms as well, but I wanted to keep a bit of a tighter focus on it.

I would also really really love contributions from my readers for this series, to get a wider variety of taste and interpretation of what this means.

With every post I'll tell you what the upcoming Philippians attribute is, give you a few ideas of where you could go with this as an idea starter -- you can come back with your own interpretation and that's fine -- and let you pull something together. You can either write an entire blog of your own and I'll quote and link to it, or just message me a couple sentences on Facebook or via email, and I'll include it at the end of my own post (though if you do the latter, stick to just one movie so my blog doesn't end up being a thousand pages long).

Also note that even with this series being based on a Bible verses, I'm not limiting participation to my Christian readers. I believe that these attributes are worth seeking out for anyone, and if any of my non-Christian readers want to offer their thoughts, I'd be fascinated to hear their takes on what this might mean to them.

The first blog will focus on: Whatever is true.

I looked up some info on what this word meant in the original Greek, and found these thoughts:
An adjective, derived from A "not" and lantháno, "unnoticed, concealed"
True, as it accords with fact (reality), i.e. attested because tested – literally, "what can't be hidden." 
Stresses undeniable reality when something is fully tested, i.e. it will ultimately be shown to be fact (authentic).
My first thought was that I would choose something that I thought said something true about life, but I'm also fascinated by the idea of "unconcealing" something -- it makes me think, for example, of important documentaries that brought to light things people had tried to keep hidden, or movies that provide more accurate (if unpleasant or unromantic) historical accounts.

I like its link to authenticity, so I'll also be on the lookout for movies that I believe are authentic, though I may have to think a bit more about what exactly that means in this context. There are also plenty of movies that simply convey the message that truth/authenticity/bringing things to light is a positive thing, and I'm sure I'll focus on a couple of those as well.

So if you read this and think, "Oh! I know a movie that's a good example of that!", jot down a few thoughts and email me, or message me on my blog's Facebook page, or get in touch with me any other way you can.

I think I'm going to aim for having one of these done once a month, to give people a chance to write something up (and to give me a chance to maybe rewatch some of the ones I want to include). So the deadline for the next one is Monday, October 6, by 12:30 EST, which is when my blog will post. That's also the day before my birthday, so... there's that important fact.

I look forward to hearing from you guys and putting this series together with you!

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