Every once in a while I will be posting a piece like this where I discuss a novel, a biography, or a life story that I feel would make a superb faith-based movie. Usually, I will post it because I feel the story would be a perfect blend of spreading the message of the Gospel while at the same time not preaching. Keep in mind, I feel people use the term “preachy” too often. For example, if someone has a life changing moment at a Billy Graham crusade and the message that was given was so impactful it changed the trajectory of their life. To include a portion of this message is not preachy, it is part of the story.
This post won’t deal much with this dilemma though, it does include the life of a preacher. I was reading a denomination magazine yesterday and stumbled on a brief paragraph that discussed a preacher by the name of Adam Crooks. Immediately my imagination said “This needs to be a movie!”
Why do we as Christians spend $16 million dollars on a fictional movie that only appeals to a segment of Christianity that subscribe to a very specific eschatology when we could chose a hero like Adam Crooks who can begin unifying conversations within the church and appealing discussions about our faith outside the church. It seems a better strategy to me then making a movie on a subject that sparks more than lively debate within the church and focuses on fewer in a society that views the church as a group that thrives on fear mongering.
What would it have been like if instead of $16 Million on left behind, that same money was spent on an Adam Crook movie? In 1840 a group of Christians in North Carolina requested that the Wesleyan-Methodist Church send a minister to them. The Wesleyan-Methodist church was one of the first denominations to make it a point of their church to be a church that stood against slavery. By requesting a minister from this denomination was to ask for an abolitionist minister to enter the south years before our nation’s Civil War. Church leaders were reluctant to send any of their ministers into, what they rightfully saw as a hostile environment. Adam Crooks heard of the request and responded to his denomination by saying “Sustained by your prayers, and in the name of my Savior, I will go.” Adam Crook went and founded Freedom’s Hill, the first Wesleyan-Methodist church in the slaveholding south. Upon arrival he faced ridicule, persecution, assassination attempts and he was dragged from his pulpit on a Sunday morning and thrown in jail for anti-slavery activism.
Even though this story is about a particular denomination, the messages of freedom and of acting out your faith in the face of adversity are messages that can begin unifying conversations within the church and would celebrate victories that the church has had historically instead of focusing on the times in history where the church was lead astray by various leaders with their own agenda. We hear so much about the churches missteps that many feel that those missteps have outweighed their good but that is simply untrue. We need to remind the world that the church is and has been a force for tremendous good in this world and is capable of that today! A movie that takes this strategy can do so much more good for the kingdom then a movie focusing on people who get left behind.