At The Movies

I love movies.  I wish movie theaters sold monthly passes, so you could just go see anything that’s out for a flat fee.  And maybe a popcorn plan too. 😉  Sure, most movies are kind of lame, but they’re generally more fun on the big screen.  Like a baseball game, it’s better at the stadium.

In Austin, Texas they have a chain of theaters called Alamo Drafthouses.  They’re  a bit edgy, Texas style, but also quite a fun movie going experience.  They offer tiered seating with a counter/table in front of each row and walkways between the rows.  They have menus and sell food, like pizza and sandwiches, and drinks.  The help staff take your orders and deliver them to you.  They can move about without disturbing others due to the tiers.  It’s great.

A lot of good times and great discussions with my kids have come from trips to the theater.  We anticipate the next Pixar film with glee.  And to the chagrin of some Christians, we’ve eagerly attended every Harry Potter film.   We just saw Tangled from Disney and had a great time.  Lots of fun.

For a time in my younger years I attended a church in a denomination that forbids its members to go to movies.  At some point in their past someone decided that movies were all so evil they had to ban them entirely.  I’m sure their Amish neighbors said, “Amen, Brothers! But you don’t go far enough!”  You can be sure prohibition doesn’t work.  People just end up doing it in secret.  In fact, I knew a pastor working for that denomination who disagreed with the rule.  He and his wife didn’t go to see movies in town, to avoid offending the congregation, but on any given weekend, they’d be out of town catching “Aliens” or a Steve Martin flick.

The banning of fun is a long-standing religious tradition.  There are some who are plain old carrot up the wazoo legalists (the world will always have extremists), but most have no intent on legalism. They just fall hard on protectionism.  The line here is: Because some fail, all must keep at a distance.  Overkill ensues.  Because some people can’t handle alcohol, no one should have alcohol.  Because the messages in movies, or books, or music lead some astray, no one should watch, listen, read… etcetera.

I’ve seen bumper stickers asserting, “Question Authority?”  It’s a message to the religious for sure.  People have to think for themselves or becomes slaves to ritualistic thinking.  That’s easier for some, who secretly would rather not think for themselves.  It’s easier to fill out a checklist of Do’s and Don’ts in order to feel good than to leave behind the walker and live by the Spirit.  There is a greater gift to be had in doing that though.

The Apostle Paul talked about the freedom of the Spirit:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

He’s talking about freedom from from the chains of the rules and regulations of the Old Testament Law and from slavery to the fear of spiritual death because of sin, both conquered by Christ.  But that’s not all.  Jesus begets a new freedom that goes way beyond that.  In Christ, we gain the freedom and power to engage God directly through his Spirit.  No one could do that before.  They could reach for it, but they couldn’t touch it.  God was around them but not in them.  Now the veil is removed.  According to scripture, Christ is the groom and we are the bride.  That’s intimate.

A bride should have fun with her husband.  It’s possible to do that, even in an ugly world, without dishonoring God.  The Spirit guides and shows the way.  Wisdom is still necessary for survival, but we’re not kids now.  With enough maturity, who knows, he might even let us drive the Vette. 😉

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