True Power

True Power

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Last Exorcism

Well I admit each Halloween I brave the movie theater to see a scary movie. See, I'm a big chicken and cover my eyes as soon as the spine tingling music begins signaling someone is going to get it. Last Halloween I saw Paranormal Activity and almost smothered myself with my sweater from covering my eyes (and nose) with it when the scary music began.

Leaving the movie theater last year, I declared I would never put myself through that again.

Many movie critics say people watch scary movies because they can be frightened in a safe enviroment knowing nothing will happen to them. It is a simple way to brave your fear of the unknown knowing no matter what happens, you will escape unharmed. My husband hates scary movies. Out of my three daughters; two will watch a scary movie - not the slasher ones - but the ones where the director truly has a surprising storyline that cannot be predicted. Those are the ones I will man up to see too. Back to the movie.

So I decided that The Last Exorcism could be a viable movie for me to see. Its potential to scare me too much seemed a minimal risk. Exorcism is something the Christian church has dealt with and the Catholic faith still may perform. I had an interest to see how the Christian faith would be portrayed in the movie.

The theater was empty and dark. There were only two bodies in there; my daughter and I.

The movie began with a second generation minister in his late to early thirties talking to a camera crew documenting an exorcism. He recounted how and why he had become a minister following in his fathers footsteps. To say the least, he was mocking religion as a job for anyone with some charisma to take advantage of a group of followers blindly following anyone professing to have a direct hook up with God. He actually told the camera crew he could get his witless group of religious zombies to Amen and shout hallelujah to a food recipe thrown right in the middle of some Bible buzz words. Guess what? They Amened and praised God at a food recipe.

My daughter and I sat with our mouths opened in pure astonishment. We did not know exactly what was the most shocking: that someone would actually put that on film, or that it was true, or that it was funny and we were ashamed we wanted to laugh.

Anyway, the preacher agreed to perform an "exorcism" based on the premise with the right buzz words and enough of calling on the Lord people would believe anything in religion. This is when things began to get scary. And yes, I almost smothered myself again and left the theater promising not to put myself through so much horror again.

Many Christians say that religion is under attack and the secular community (Hollywood) has no problem mocking God. After seeing this movie I have reinforced my belief that it is not God who is being mocked or religion that has lost credibility. It is the followers of God that have made a farce out of themselves. There are many ministers who prey on vulnerable people for finacial gain, power or for ego trips. There are members of church who believe they are serving God by how loud and often they say Amen or do a holy dance. For this group of people this is enough for them to be called a Christian. And it so happens that they are the most vocal and demonstrative of Christianity making sure to be seen by many.

I thought about this post and said who am I to point, judge, and blame. My representation of God, I am sure, is not spotless. But I do think about what it is I am doing as a representative of God and I have had to stop doing things that I would have really enjoyed doing. I know what you are thinking. A Christian at an "R" rated movie and a movie that supports Halloween can't be a good representation of Christianity. But, I thought about that too. The value of staying relevent to the people I minister to, does not allow for me to live in a sanitized bubble. I could not have these thoughts, meditations, or points of view if I did not venture into the arena from time to time of those I want to reach.

So I just exited the theater thoroughly scared as the movie intended. I got my money's worth. I left the theater not upset with Hollywood for mocking Christians but more determined then ever to encourage others in their Christian walk to be more responsible with the light they are presenting to the world. I exited the movie knowing we are a flawed people and that will always remain. I know I must guard my heart and not be too judgemental of others in and outside of the faith. And I learned that it is okay to laugh. The movie actually captured that group of people that are misleading others and following blindly. If the movie was never made it would not erase the fact that such things exist within the Christian community.

I learned from my scary October movie 2010 that I am responsible for my Christian walk and I hope I will never be an inspiration for a movie that does not reflect well on me or my faith.

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