I said down with my wife last night and watched “Footloose”. I had never seen the first one and only vaguely remember having to sing the theme song in choir at school. Admittedly I went in with a bit of a predigest towards it. I don’t like dancing, though I don’t know why, and I don’t like musicals (which this technically isn’t but I would place it in the same category).
However, I did like watching the movie simply based on the perception of the church/pastor portrayed in the movie. The pastors name is Rev. Moore (no relation) and he is your classic over protective parent. He makes rules for his daughter that are both smothering and reactionary based upon situations outside of his control. He goes a step further by, with the town council, making rules for all minors within the small town. In short, he is portrayed as a idiot.
Whats interesting about the movie is that there is a heavy focus on church/state relations but it portrays the church as a rule making institution. Don’t drink beer, don’t dance, don’t party, etc. In the movie the main point of the church and the Christians within the town are to forcefully make moral and ethical decisions for the town. On top of that those that do go to church don’t even understand the gospel and simply regurgitate boxed answers given by their preacher.
I didn’t expect great theology from the movie, but the portrait of small town churches should be looked at closely. These ideas weren’t just made up. They were viewed, put into writing for a portrayal of what was seen and then distributed as a side story to a movie about freedom of speech and action. I’m not blaming the movie for bad theology. I blame the church.
There is this idea that the church is backward and small town. That even the people in it can’t defend, let alone understand what their pastor is saying. On top of that the pastor only preaches a moral gospel of do-good-ism (just made that word up) which leaves everyone feeling good. Its a joke, but an apparently one that the church is ok with.
I love films. The story, character development, plot, camera angels and the acting. Its amazing to see a movie where all of that comes together in such a way that it tells an amazing story in a truthful manner. Truth speaks volumes and can be recognized a mile away. The disappointing part to me is that I doubt anyone watched the movie and said, “That pastor isn’t preaching the Gospel”, “The depiction of the church isn’t right.” or “Those verses are out of context”.
The church in general is so desensitized to whats happening that when we see portrayals of it in T.V. or film we are ok with it. We see nothing wrong with it. The question is do we have a Footloose Theology? A theology where a sermon on do-good-ism is ok. Or a Biblical Theology? Where sin is sin an the Gospel is preached.
Our lives, churches and cities will be the judge of that. We can say one thing but what happens will be what really tells. I pray that our hearts are convicted. That we see our sin and turn to Jesus. That we give up our submission to rules that work temporarily but don’t fix the real problem.
Turn to Jesus not rules.