Christian Movie Night
(Christian Film Night)
Also: A Brief History of Religious/Christian Movies & Documentaries ______________________________________________
In 1999, Monk Preston & Monk Linda founded the very first 100% born-again Christian Monastic Order, the The Prayer Foundation ™ Knights of Prayer ™ Monastic Order. It would be the first of an entire new movement.
Another New Movement in Christianity?
Also in 1999, Monk Preston & Monk Linda began having a weekly "Christian Movie Night" (or if you prefer, "Christian Film Night") as a regular part of the ministry in The Prayer Foundation ™ monastery. Visiting Christian ministries and individuals could be invited over to participate. Having been in existence now for nearly a decade, it has proved to be such a blessing to all who have participated in it, that it is their (and our) hope that it will also spread as a new and continuing practice and movement among all Christians throughout the world.
Have Your Own "Christian Movie Night!"
You can have a weekly Christian Movie night as a family, a small group, or in your Church. Many of the classic religious films of the 1950's (see below) can be taped or "Tivo'd" off of your television, are probably also available from your local movie rental outlet, and may be available to own for a few dollars at a local discount store. Many of the films produced by Christians can occasionally be found in the same way on Christian television.
If you have a small group you can begin collecting the ones that are not shown. With a group even as small as four persons, each individual would only have to purchase one film per month. Or with a Church group, a Christian Film Library could gradually be built up.
At some time in the future, we expect that there will be a Christian television channel (probably several) that will have all of the Christian and religious films "on demand", so you won't have to buy them at all, but just "rent" them from your service as needed.
Legal Information/Requirements for Churches Showing Christian Films:
The law requires permission from the Copyright holder (usually the Movie Producers) for any use other than home use. There is an organization that will allow you to purchase a blanket permission for a majority of films (not all---each producer must be checked against a list). The organization is called: Church Video Licensing International.
A Brief History of Religious/Christian Movies & Documentaries
The 1950's: Great Classic Religious Films
At first the idea was to obtain copies of the old religious movies of the 1950's: great classic films like The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, and King of Kings. They figured that there must be about twenty or so of such movies that had been made back in that era. Following so many great religious movies, there was a "famine" in the theatres of such films for about the next forty years (an entire generation!). The few "religious" films produced in the following decades to be shown in theatres ranged from "liberal and full of error" to outright blasphemous.
The 1960's & 70's: Mostly Blasphemous "Religious" Films
There was "Jesus Christ Superstar", which contained over 300 Biblical errors, including portraying Christ as "just a man"; and "Godspell", in which Jesus was portrayed as a clown (literally: in full clown make-up with a big round red nose). "The Last Temptation of Christ" was so disgusting that even most non-Christians were repelled and stayed away in droves.
The Exception: Brother Sun, Sister Moon
One exceptional bright spot in this era was Franco Zefirelli's film on the early life of St. Francis, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon". In fact, it is our favorite Christian Movie of all time. Although Zefirelli had earlier enjoyed enormous success with his "Romeo & Juliet", "Brother Sun Sister Moon" presented Christ in a favorable light, and not in the "mocking of religious faith" attitude popular in that era. Perhaps the greatest film ever made, it was released in the wrong time period. It did not do well at the box office.
The 1970's & 80's: "Mini-Series" & "Made for TV"
Some great religious films were still being produced but only for television. These were "Mini-Series" and "made for television". They were few and far between, but generally well done and generally faithful to the Bible. In their favor they also had "big-name" stars like Anthony Hopkins, Richard Harris, and Ben Kingsley. Examples are Zefirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, A.D., Peter & Paul, and TNT's: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and others of their Bible Series. We began collecting these, too.
Discovering A Wealth of Christian Movies Actually Made by Christians
At this point we discovered that there were hundreds of fine Christian Films out there (Movies, and even more Documentaries). At the time, most Christians did not even know that they existed. Most were "too Christian" to be played on the almost exclusively liberal secular television of the time. Many did not have quite the technical production qualities (or the funding) of Hollywood and Television, but they were actually made by Christians, and were much more spiritual, accurate and Biblical than the Hollywood variety, and included subjects that Hollywood and Television would never dare touch (like biographies of certain great Christians: John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Hudson Taylor). We collected these, too, playing one a week for years at our Christian Movie Night.
The Passion of the Christ
With the enormous financial success of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" we are now again (after a 40 year wait!) in an era where Christian/Bible-related Movies are being made for theatres. Some are good and some are bad (liberal directors with "absolutely no clue" still want to make oodles of money, too). On this website we will continue to ignore the bad (like:"The Da Vinci Code") and continue bring you our Movie Reviews of the good (like: Luther; and The Chronicles of Narnia). ____________________________________________________________
Copyright © 2007 S.G.P. All rights reserved.
Comment by one of our monks to show how much things have changed over the years:
"I attended a born-again Christian Denominational Bible College in the early 1970's. It was an excellent school, by the way.
The school required me to sign a paper to the effect that I would not attend any "movies" (in theatres) while I was a student at the school.
At the same time, the school showed, not Christian, but secular "Films" weekly on campus for the students' recreation. For example, Elvis Presley Films.
"Films" were considered to be all right to watch, but "Movies" were not allowed.
I pointed out that the "Films" they were showing had been shown in the Theatres as forbidden "Movies" only a few years before.
(Note: It also was considered all right to watch "Films" on television that had again been shown in theatres as "Movies" only a few years before).
I was told that television edited out any "bad parts", and also, this way, "Hollywood didn't get the money".
Back at my home church I asked an older person why it was okay to watch "Movies" as long as you called them "Films" and didn't go to see them in a Theatre.
I was told that it was because Theatres "were associated with smoking and drinking".
I pointed out that Theatres (at least at that time, in the 1970's) didn't permit any smoking or drinking in them.
The answer I received was, well, they had done so back in the 1920's and before, when the Theatres were still presenting Stage Plays and Vaudeville (before the Theatres had even begun to show "Movies").
I do not know if this mindset and practice still continues anywhere, or not.
I will go on record that, although I strictly followed the rules, I consider the entire rationale to be just as silly now as I considered it to be back then." ____________