Christian Review of Les Miserables

Christian Review of Les Miserables

OK. So you may not like musicals. I can understand that. I’ve seen some doozies in my time.

That may be why you haven’t seen Les Miserables. At least that’s what I have heard from some of my friends.

So let me try to convince you that you need to give it a chance.

Don’t know anything about the plot behind Les Miserables? I’ll be honest, I lived 40 years of my life without reading the book or seeing the play/movies. I went in to the theater with a completely open mind and unformed opinion. Now that I have seen the movie, I’m working my way through the book and hope to have it completed by the end of the summer in my spare time. My fourteen year old has gotten farther than I have in the book. She loved this movie, too. I’d say it would make a much better “mandatory reading” item than a lot of the garbage they feed our public school high-schoolers these days. But then, with a Christian reference and moral thread, I can see why our schools have abandoned it for more “agenda-pushing” literature.

Even the Catholic Church at one time banned Les Miserables. As late as 2006, it was listed as being not suitable for children and even teenagers. I’d definitely advise you to read/watch it before your kids do, to determine whether you feel they are able to handle the material.

Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Christian Review of Les Miserables

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) – a man sent to suffer in prison for decades in 19th century France because he stole a loaf of bread to prevent his sister’s child from starvation – is given parole. As he is mistreated and finds suffering in the free world, he seeks refuge during winter at a church, where he decides to steal their precious metal tools and objects. Upon getting caught by lawmakers, he is pardoned by the priest – who then gives him these items as a means to fund a new life, dedicated to the Lord. Jean turns to God and becomes a changed man, breaking his parole to live under a new name as a factory owner and mayor in another district of France. His parole officer – the police man Javert (Russel Crowe), a legalist who had been mistreated and raised by criminals and was a strict and harsh overseer during Valjean’s prison term, searches relentlessly for Jean Valjean – making it his mission to recapture him and see that “justice” is served.

Christian Review of Les Miserables

When one of his factory workers, a poor woman named Fantine (Anne Hathaway) working to send money to her child, is fired and falls in to sordid society in search of financial stability, Jean tries to save her – believing it is his personal duty as a moral man. When Fantine dies, leaving her orphan child, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) in the hands of corrupt, heathen brothel owners (Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter), Jean Valjean finds her, pays them a reward to give custody of her to him, and disappears to raise her as his own child.

As Cosette becomes a woman, she is found by a revolutionary (Eddie Redmayne) and falls instantly in love with him. Her true love’s secret admirer (Samantha Barks) not only helps him discover Cosette’s whereabouts, but she takes a bullet to prevent him from being shot. Cosette’s father, upon find out that his daughter is in love, puts his own life and secret identity in jeopardy to spare her beloved from harm and preserve their future. Javert sneaks in to the revolutionary blockade as a spy and is found out by the resistance. Valjean spares his life, extending forgiveness to him – even though it was sure to cost him his freedom and the truth about his past life will become clear to Cosette, possibly ruining the relationship he treasures most.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment describes the story as “Victor Hugo’s tale of broken dreams, passion, sacrifice and redemption,” and say it “surprises with an undeniable Christian message”. It won three Academy Awards. The cinematography was beautifully done.

I urge you to watch the trailer and see this movie for yourself. I forced my husband to sit through it – and although he cringed through the first half of the movie because of the singing – he admitted that the story was beautiful and deep… and worth telling. He told me he would have much rather seen it as a regular film and not a musical, but I was so used to the singing by the middle of the movie that it was hardly noticeable due to the depth of the story. There were moments where the singing was amazing – especially the parts where the characters were all singing a different part of the same song – at the same time – telling their individual feelings and stories.

My teenage son, who I forced to watch this on DVD recently and is never emotional about movies – CRIED at the end. He then THANKED me for making him watch it, saying “it was life-changing”.

It certainly put object-lesson teeth on the messages of Christianity and how they would apply to REAL PEOPLE in real life situations. It showed the depth of despair and the gift of hope and redemption. It showed the triumph of the human spirit and the strength of friendship. It showed the beauty of forgiveness and the power of a life changed by an encounter with God.

Yes there are dark and inappropriate moments in this movie, but the story is certainly worth sharing with your older children who are mature enough. Parental discretion is advised. The scenes I am referring to are during Fontine’s brief role in the beginning of the film, and the scenes involving the brothel owners. There is also violence such as the gunshot deaths of revolutionaries and the suicide by the parole officer (he jumps to his death from a bridge). Even with these scenes, the movie’s depth and the contrast between evil and good are vivid and easy to distinguish. The Christian message shines through on a dark set… just as it does in a dark world. Hope, regardless of how bleak your circumstance is!

At the end of the movie, one of my favorite lines is “To love another person is to see the face of God.” There’s a sermon or two just waiting inside that little phrase… Here’s where my heart went when I heard that line:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:33-36

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
1 John 4:19-21

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
1 Peter 2:11-13

Check out the trailer here for yourself. I was thrilled to review this movie because I knew after seeing it at the theater I was going to purchase it when it came out at the store. So now that it is on Blu-ray and DVD – you can get a copy, too!

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from the book (p. 560) : “Many great deeds are performed in the small struggles of life.” So true! The little things and moments are often the most important. You never know how you might change someone else’s life with your kindness.

In Him,

Heather

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this Blu-Ray/DVD to present my honest opinion of the movie (which I had already seen and loved). I was not compensated for this post. The small movie cover photo is an Amazon link… just to tell them I sent you! If you purchase it through my link, I will get a few pennies eventually towards free books for my homeschoolers.

Comments

  1. says

    I actually read Les Mis the first time as a public high schooler, believe it or not. My English teacher adored it and so we all did too. I’ve not seen the movie yet–we didn’t get out when it was in theaters with the little ones around. I’m looking forward to getting it some time though!

  2. says

    Les Miserables is a great movie. I didn’t know anything about it either but I’m glad I went to see it. Planning on getting the DVD some day.

  3. Cathy says

    Definitely agree with you! The message of redemption shines very clearly in this story! (And, after seeing the movie, my 17-year-old daughter is reading the book. She loves it!)

    I am very glad to see the film get such wide acclaim. I was worried that, with such an obvious Christian message, it would get short shrift and nothing but snarky comments. :o).

  4. says

    There is a movie Les Miserables sans musical – with Liam Neeson and I think Uma Thurman. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it.

    Thanks for the review, I hadn’t heard a lot about this one, but I thought I heard there was a questionable scene.

  5. says

    Leaving this comment here so I could share my answer to it (from a teenage facebook friend):

    Hey Heather! I am glad y’all saw this movie! It was my favorite last year. I enjoyed most of your review and as a movie lover also wanted to make some comments and share mine. Here is my response to your review: First off, I don’t know why everyone is so hesitant to see it because of the fact that it is a musical. Musicals are great! There are plenty of fantastic ones (Singin In the Rain, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera). Just because it is a different art form than other movies does not mean it is bad, it is just a different form of storytelling. Also I have to throw this out there, public school pushes a lot of trash to a lot of teenagers, but one place I think it excels in is the English program (especially advance classes) in my time I read fantastic books like Lord of the Flies, The Hobbit, Frankenstein, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet and many more, most of which reflect extremely strong christian values. I think Les Miserables is not on the list because it is a 1400 page beast and not written in the place most English classes focus on (England and American literature). I did love all the things you said about it having great christian values, it does and I LOVE that movie like this and Life of Pi, with undeniable christian values are becoming largely popular and accepted by everyone in society (it is a great platform for me to enter the industry on! ). There is one point I do disagree on (with nothing but professional respect). While I agree that the “good” in the movie is very clear, the “bad” is a bit muddled. Javert, I believe, was nothing more than a broken man who built up such a strong faith (in God) that focused on fairness. There are so many people who miss the message of Gods mercy, but that does not make them evil, they are broken and misinformed and deserve every bit of love that “good” people do. Plus he was doing his duty to an uncompromising degree that is unheard of and admirable. I really loved his character actually. A quick sidebar about the content. I completely understand not wanting kids younger than say, 12 to see this movie, it does have some heavy subject matters. But it deals with prostitution in a non explicit way that still brings tears to my eyes and breaks my heart. Especially when you realize that Fantine is one woman who was pushed into out of love for her daughter, then you see all the other prostitutes and wonder what their story is. These things happen everyday in almost every country and I think not informing youth about it in healthy ways is irresponsible. Because there are a lot of broken people in the world, no one chooses to be a prostitute. But they find themselves desperate or kidnapped and ignoring them is not kidding anyone. The violence is done similarly. You really feel the impact of it without being exposed to anything explicit. That being said I am no parent, just an honest opinion. I like to be real and not kid myself. Actually I think this extends to most honest movies. Obviously you don’t want your young kids to watch Goodwill Hunting but I think it is a great movie and it tells the story of a broken Boston kid coming to terms with his problems and getting help, and in an enjoyable way. I don’t think it is fair to classify movies as “okay for Christians” or “Secular and bad.” Great stories offer insight to all humanity and can usually be related and brought back to God. Because all good morals in humanity come from God, and most serious movies are either showing good morals, or exposing bad (which is also important). Looking at whether or not a movie has nudity to qualify it as a “christian movie” is (in my opinion) irrelevant. Looking at the message it has and the information it is trying to get across is the bigger point. I may get stoned for saying this but Pulp Fiction is a movie about redemption and about a man finding God (DON’T LET KIDS WATCH IT THOUGH!). The Shawshank redemption is about hope and grace and I would show any teenager that movie (not without parent permission. I am responsible! ). Life has heavy material in it. Much more so than it has “christian” material in it. But finding where God is and what he is doing in all the “scum” is what it is all about. And I am one of few who apply that to stories as well. There is my two cents. Anyway sorry to write a novel in a Facebook comment, but as you can see I am passionate about movies (especially this one) and love to tell people about them. This stuff gets me fired up (in a good way). Actually I am convicted when I don’t share. Especially concerning the subject of God in movies. He is everywhere in them!

  6. says

    And here is my reply…

    Hi there! Thanks for commenting with such passion!

    Kevin says that musicals are man-kryptonite. Some guys think that chick-flicks, musicals and quiche are emasculating. ;)

    As for public school literature, I’m not sure I’d classify Lord of the Flies in the best reading material that is out there. LOL It’s great that your teacher is choosing good books, but not all teachers do. I don’t feel that a majority of teenagers are mature enough to handle many of the books that are chosen by public schools objectively. The fact is that books change hearts and minds; some for the better, some for the worse.

    I have read a lot of books while homeschooling that I wish the school system would add to their lists. I agree that many stories/movies have elements in them that are great parallels or contrasts to Biblical truth and most good movies can be springboards towards deep discussions about meaty topics for Christian growth. Even “bad” movies can be “good” examples, sometimes… but there is a level of maturity and faith required before a child can understand and make distinctions properly. This is the main reason for a “Christian” review of any media – so that a parent (who has limited time on their hands) can see what someone of like mind and faith believes about the content of said media.

    About Javert (the police officer in Les Miserables) – I totally agree that he was a great character. Broken and abused himself, he turned to God to seek the righteous path, but he missed the relationship and mercy that flows from forgiveness. It is almost like he missed the gospel entirely. You can’t see God without loving your brother and showing him kindness… which was the central point of the movie (“To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God”). I think Javert was a great example of a Christian who is stuck in legalism. Javert is a stellar example of a man who is still trying to check off a to-do list to get in to heaven… to follow the law to the letter, yet one that obviously would never satisfied because he is stuck in an endless loop of trying too hard (and trying to inflict this legalism on others – like the religious leaders in Jesus’ times which he chastised). Javert was not a bad man, no – but Jesus would disagree. All of us are bad (besides Him). I was grieved when Javert jumped to his death because he couldn’t accept the forgiveness of a man he believed to be nothing but a criminal. The character of Javert added a richness to the story – I loved him, too. I wished that the ending could have been different for him. Sadly, there are many today who are Christians like Javert: Christians in action and deed, but deep down, unable to extend mercy or forgiveness to others – and unable to see that their legalism and disdain of others is actually pushing people away from Christ, instead of drawing people to Him. We need more Christians like the priest in Les Miserables: people who, like Christ, see the possibilities in a person as a child of God, rather than just see the sinner (and assume they are forever lost). Assuming someone is beyond hope is in its own way a failure to believe in the power of God. It is the sin of unbelief.

    I totally agree that the dark spots in the movie (like the prostitution and brothel) are entirely necessary to the story. I’m not sure you read my review entirely, because that was one of my points – that while the movie was not suitable for immature viewers and parental guidance was suggested, I believed those parts were a dark piece of velvet on which the diamonds of God’s truth could shine. I have a friend who has told me that Les Mis was one of the reasons she became a Christian. She watched it as an atheist and it opened her eyes to the power of forgiveness and the message of Christianity. I think this movie is a great story, and has undeniable Christian overtones, even though the material is “adult” in nature.

    You stated: “I don’t think it is fair to classify movies as “okay for Christians” or “Secular and bad.” Great stories offer insight to all humanity and can usually be related and brought back to God. Because all good morals in humanity come from God, and most serious movies are either showing good morals, or exposing bad (which is also important).”

    I can agree that you can find an element of truth in most movies, regardless of the story or content. However, there are plenty of movies that are a waste of time (especially for a Christian). George Macaulay Trevelyan once said that “Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” The fact remains that some books just aren’t as worthy as others (the same with film/video).
    And I love this quote: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” –Henry David Thoreau
    So true.

    There’s a jar of life in which we are trying to fit all our rocks in to – the big rocks are the most important. If we fill our jar with all the “mind candy” or “twaddle” that fills the book (and movie) store, then we aren’t really being good stewards of our time. This is one reason we homeschool – so we can choose what materials shape the minds of our children (not that we are sheltering them from ALL “secular” influence – but we are picking and choosing the influences and then discussing them under the lens of Christianity).

    You mentioned Pulp Fiction had a “redemption story”. I feel that the movie itself has so many irreverent and graphically violent scenes, that it negated any sort of message I would ever want my kids to get from it. There are plenty of other “finding God” and “redemption” stories out there to render Pulp Fiction unnecessary (and a bad choice for a Christian). You can tell a story and leave certain graphic elements to the imagination of the viewer or reader, while still remaining true to the historical account (assuming the story is non-fiction). The best movies and books let your imagination intertwine with the story.

    In a post-school-shooting and high-teen-pregnancy America, the film and video game industries should be held to a higher standard regarding sexuality and violence. This is especially the case when so many parents are not accountable when it comes to spending the time necessary to filter what their kids are exposed to. With our country’s recent push towards gun control, it would be negligent to blame the tools and not the people using them.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics states (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/5/1222.full.pdf):

    “The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games, as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.”

    Early and repeated exposure to violence desensitizes kids towards it, so a parent should take that in to consideration as well as the spiritual overtones of the material.

    I totally agree that life is full of heavy material and the church needs to be able to answer those heavy questions. That’s the reason God said we need to be ready in season and out to answer for the hope that we have and give our testimony for the glory of God. Sharing my view – as a Christian – of everything (including my opinion of books and movies) – as a blogger/writer/artist – is one way that I try and give reason for my hope in Him. My worldview is built on the relevance and purpose given to me by Christ, and my charge is to honor Him with my thoughts, actions, and words.

    I like to see you being passionate about the film industry (more Christians should be, instead of shying away from it as a lost cause). I wish you the best of success in helping to shine His light in the darkness – wherever God leads you in life!

    Love in Him, Heather

    • says

      Thanks for putting so much thought into your response! It is refreshing to have such in depth dialogue about movies from this perspective. Possibly to your disappointment I have another response. :)

      Let me start by saying, as a man and without shame, that I love musicals, romance films, and if they are done well, chick flicks.

      Now, of course there are books missing from the public school system, I do not believe any reading list is definitive. My only point was that it is not as irrelevant as many people think. And I was exposed to many excellent writers who I would otherwise never had heard of. For example, James Salter and William Faulkner. Though as you mentioned I was blessed with a great English teacher. Though many of the books I read is a blanket criteria for the state of Texas. I love the idea of making your own reading list for school. But I also love being introduced to new literature. I think this is where good culture exposing mentors become important. I also believe that teenagers are absolutely mature enough to read the books handed to them. But they are handed mature content at the same time as they are being treated like small children. Eventually most buy into that lie and start acting the role.

      You mentioned that kids should not see violent movies or movies with sex in it because, “there is a level of maturity and faith required before a child can understand and make distinctions properly.” I couldn’t agree more. Children are so precious and should not be exposed to violent content before they reach a state of understanding of it. But I would argue that many children reach that level of maturity long before people realize. There is a separation of story and reality that most kids understand. I also think that as a child it is much better to have things shown to you and explained by your parents instead of going in unprepared at a friends house or on TV. My dad showed me “The Lord of the Rings” when I was seven. He explained the different themes of good and evil and how sometimes the smallest person can overcome evil with more ease than a powerful person. I was never scared when I watched it with him. And I did the same with Angelina and “Star Wars.” Both of those series have a considerable amount of violence, but Angelina and I have enjoyed them and learned from them from a very young age.

      I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about Javert. However the evil of unbelief is not as clear to someone unfamiliar with the concept as it is to Christians from particular denominations. As you said there are many people and churches that live like Javert, and to them his character might be very much justified.

      I assure you I read your review very carefully. :) My comment about the darkness of the movie was more to express that exact point in my own words, and also to apply the idea that children mature faster than people realize, and can understand those types of evil situations if it is explained out of love and from a person of security in their lives. Also that is so incredible that your friend turned to God because of the movie. It really reinforces my belief in the power movies can have.

      Now, I think this next point is the biggest in what I am saying, and the biggest point of disagreement. I love both quotes you gave. It is true that there are an enormous amount of movies as well as books that are “a waste of time.” I do not think every movie is good to see. But I think that they are just as much a waste of time for non Christians as they are for Christians. I don’t believe that there is a move which is okay for a non christian to watch, but not okay for a christian to watch. And I think that a lot of Christians discard more than worthy movies for the wrong reason. In fact, this can be applied to almost every art form. I know many people who refuse to watch or allow their mature children to watch any R-rated movies at all because they are christian. This can actually do more harm than good to the mind of a kid. But I will elaborate on that point later. Most movies that are a waste of time are so because they do not tell the truth, or the truth that they tell is irrelevant. Only a worthy movie tells a relevant truth honestly. The thing about film is that its audience is so varied. What is life changing for one person may be inane to another. This is one reason I maintain that a worthy movie is potentially worthy to anyone, regardless of whether or not they are christian. Being christian does not make a person part of a cult where everyone is the same and follows the same agenda. Something meaningless to me may mean the world to you, and vise verse. This also extends to parents and their children. A parent may think something irrelevant that could be life changing to their kid. And again, we are talking about mature enough kids to handle mature material.

      “Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” That is absolutely right. Education has produced. Not necessarily the American public school education system, but education. Overly sheltered children, public school kids with too much freedom, they both fall under it. The thing that is happening I think is that kids are treated as young children way past due, in both scenarios. Overly sheltered children is self explanatory. They are not exposed to any mature content and have no room to grow. I touched on public school kids earlier. They are often treated like children by their teachers while being thrown content at their maturity level. This causes a lot of confusion.

      If we are going to fill our jar with worthy rocks, and help those younger than us to do so, I think it is important to recognize the possibility that something not important to you might be vital to someone else. For example, I see a necessity for movies to maintain a certain entertainment value. If every movie were a serious drama with a clear message of good and evil I would get so bored of movies! For this reason I think that “Pulp Fiction” is an amazing film that has a very big place in my movie jar. An honest movie of someone as low as a hit man finding God? Awesome! But you clearly did not feel that it was important. And you are completely justified in that. A movie doesn’t exist that everyone who sees it will love. And because of this variation all worthy movies are potential “big rocks” to everyone. And to clarify, I do not consider movies such as, “The Hangover,” “Freddy Vs. Jason,” “Paranormal Activity,” “Leap Year,” or “The A-Team” to be worthy movies. They are very cheap entertainment with little truth or relevance.

      Now about imagination and content. I agree that the ability to fuel your imagination is amazing. There are so many fantastic movies that are fantastic because they leave so much to your imagination. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at his. But I also think there is a place for showing things as they are and not holding back. Mainly when a movie deals with themes that people previously would shy away from to hide guilt. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Django Unchained” are excellent examples of this. Abuse of women and American slavery are two topics that people shy away from because they don’t want to admit that it happens. These two movies shy away from nothing and make people face the problem. But there is another category which can be a bigger challenge and takes a little more guts. That is the type of movie that tricks your imagination. In this one your mind does not feel like it is working. You swear you saw someone get shot in a movie, you know you did. Everyone else saw it too. But when you watch it over again and very closely you realize you didn’t see anything. The filmmaker induced all the emotions associated with seeing a person get shot, but you never see anyone get shot. An excellent example of this is the movie “Se7en”. A chilling story about two cops chasing a serial killer. It is considered one of the darkest and most violent movies of its time. But there is exactly one act of violence shown on screen. I think “Pulp Fiction” falls under both the second and third category. All three categories are vital! The first is often used to get messages across to a younger audience. Alfred Hitchcock had a television program with episodes of mystery and crime targeted toward kids. At the end of each episode he would explain to the kids why someone might do bad things and reminds them the theme of the story and to mind the rules set for them. The second is often used in expose movies. Screaming out for people to see what is happening, and in historical films. “Schindler’s List,” and “Shooting Dogs” are prime examples. And the third is used often when the topic is too graphic to justify showing anyone, but it is something that needs to be told. Now to prefer one of these over another is fine. Everyone has a right to their opinion. But to say that one is more important than another, takes more skill or makes a better movie is false.

      Regarding kids being affected by the violence they watch I have some opinions as well. When a person reaches a certain age they become responsible for their own actions. Before this age their parents are usually held responsible fore their actions. I do not think an artist, putting out art that he/she believes in and has worked hard on, can be held responsible for who their work is shown to. I believe parents with should be more aware of what their kids are seeing, and also exposing them to certain things from a safe and loving place. Stretching their maturity a little at a time. This is where the American rating system comes into play. I will give an example then ask a question. In a PG-13 movie a filmmaker is allowed to show an unlimited amount of bullets being fired as long as they do not show the consequences of those bullets. As soon as they start showing realistic consequences it gets an R rating. In the mind of a young man, lets say 10-13 to put a number on it, is it more harmful to see big men as heroes shooting an uncountable number of bullets into the air and toward bad guys, then be praised for it, or is it more harmful for them to see a movie where one person gets shot out of anger and it affects the lives of everyone around him for the worst. Which one is a more realistic situation that will teach them more about the severity of weapons? I could be talking about any two movies, I am talking about “Red Dawn” Vs. “Brick.” I think movies very much have an effect on the minds of children. But I think most people are looking at the wrong movies to blame. Cutting kids off completely from R rated movies, as I mentioned earlier, will likely push them to do it elsewhere. And the movies they watch will probably far worse than what they originally intended.

      Now as a final note, I think there may have been some confusion of what types of films I think kids should watch. I AM NOT suggesting you let your kids watch “Pulp Fiction.” When I talk about movies of that maturity level I am talking more about the way most Christians view movies. Everyone is different. I believe that parents should be proactive with their kid’s story intake. Exposing them to more real themes at a healthy pace for their child. I believe that kids mature much faster than adults think, and should be treated with more respect than they generally are. And I believe that at a certain age kids can take the reigns of responsibility of what they watch, usually about 15. And even after this point the kids will value their parents or mentors opinion if they are involved as I previously described. Isabella pretty much has the ability to chose what she watches, but she is constantly asking m if a movie is too intense for her. She trusts my opinion because of the time I invested in teaching her about movies and boundaries with them. That is my opinion on kids and movies. Christians and movies is another matter. When we are talking about adult Christians I believe that people should recognize the importance of movies with mature content and themes. Not only are many of them extremely enjoyable, but many of them are an important part of our culture. And I believe God calls us to be form the culture in our society. How can that happen if we are coming from a position of judgment toward the culture in our society?

      I know not all of this are direct responses to things said. And I do not think that you were opposing all of these ideas, you may even agree with some of them. But I took a lot of the ideas behind my responses and expanded on them so you can understand a bit where I am coming from.

      Nothing but respect and love,
      -Oliver

      • says

        P.S.
        I just re-read my comment and would like to apologize for its many grammatical errors. I had to write it in a hurry between work duties and did not have time to proof read it.
        -Oliver :)

      • says

        Sorry, but we’ve had quite the busy week + ER trips and deadlines… and I have 2 with fevers right now. Just wanted you to know I got this. That’s great that you love musicals. I do, too. Well, depending on the musical.

        I certainly don’t want to argue about the public school system’s good and bad points. Especially with someone who feels they have benefited from a good experience. Nor do I wish to argue teen maturity level – especially since that varies far more than public school experiences.

        Totally agreed that learning about things from mom and dad helps to prepare kids for life much better than them hearing it from the world first. That’s why my kids had “the talk” at the tender ages of 6 and 8. We read books that were on their maturity level about the subject and it naturally grew as a topic from exposure to National Geographic and other normal conversations. That’s what my oldest gets for asking about why male cats get “fixed”. ;)

        I’m pretty sure those ages are about when my kids watched Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, too. Lots of good discussions.

        I don’t believe that there is a move which is okay for a non christian to watch, but not okay for a christian to watch, either. I think that if a movie isn’t fit for a Christian, it isn’t worth watching at all. I’m not for censorship or anything, but having a good Christian review saves a parent a lot of viewing time. I know that many Christians prevent their kids from seeing things based on different factors, and all those factors are different, depending on the level of maturity of the Christian’s faith and their own personality and experiences… but who is to say that God hasn’t led each of them in their own way to the exact decision He wanted for them or their child? I don’t presume to judge or know His purposes for other people’s kids. I can only know what my own convictions are and pray to God that I do the right thing each day for my children. It’s a touch and go process and changes over time the longer you parent, the more you grow, etc.

        As for the meaningless to one person and important to another, that’s true – and part of life in every media and aspect. That’s why God gave us each our unique talents and desires. I believe He’s in control of all of those things and I’m a firm believer in Acts 17 – that He picked our times and places just as he put us all together in our mother’s wombs. He wastes nothing – not even on the cellular level. He is the master creator and planner. I don’t believe in accidents.

        It doesn’t matter if a child is sheltered or not, or how they are educated… we are all fallen beings and none of us are perfect… only Christ. All of us fail and need a savior. I don’t feel that anyone should use their educational status or parenting status as a means to judge or compare to other Christians. Nor do I feel that we should judge each other based upon our movie or book choices — and yet I do feel that if anyone feels convicted or called by the Lord to make a certain choice regarding a book or movie and they fail to do that, they are sinning. And it matters not what any other person, Christian or not, thinks about it.

        Historical films are my favorites. Many are too much for the younger set, yet I like to see history done justice. Example: William Wallace was tortured and yet there were critics who felt the movie cleaned up his execution and downplayed it. I felt it was done in good taste considering the graphic nature of what would have been showed if they hadn’t. The great thing about history flicks is that they inspire me to read the real account after I see them. There’s always an artistic way to bring the viewer through a scenario without having to cross explicit or graphic lines – and the best movies do this while still conveying the entire message and emotion of the event.

        Whether or not a child eventually sees an R movie, whether at home or on their own after they leave home, or even at a friends house while they are living at home, is not really the point. The point is whether a parent feels called to show a movie to their child or not, and whether the child respects the parent’s decision to abstain or not. This goes with all parenting. Either the parent allows something or not. Either the child obeys or not. I agree that some forms of parenting are less abrasive and some children have more bendable wills, yet the issue always comes down to love and obedience… respect and discipleship. Again, a touch and go thing that changes over time, builds upon itself, and is as unique as the galaxies in outer space. Another reason I’m a staunch parental rights activist – as the government has no place in the family or upbringing of children.

        I never would have dreamed that you wanted me to let the kids watch Pulp Fiction. Even if you did, that wouldn’t make me think less of you. ;) We would just have to agree to disagree… which is something everyone could use more lessons on doing with tact in this day and age.

        You said, “I believe God calls us to be form the culture in our society. How can that happen if we are coming from a position of judgment toward the culture in our society?” We are called to make wise judgements and to use our judgement based on God’s laws – to test everything against His perfect Word & will. We can’t expect non-Christians to understand or behave as we do, or to understand why we do what we do or behave the way we do. However, while God calls us to be in the world and not of it, He also calls us to make proper judgements about what we allow to influence us. I can think of a multitude of scriptures on this topic… “it is shameful even to mention what the wicked do in secret”, “i will put no vile thing before mine eyes”, “bad company corrupts good morals”, “blessed is he who does not walk with the wicked or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the company of mockers, but who’s delight is in the law of the Lord”, “to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”… etc. I do believe as Paul did, we need to be “all things to all men” seeking to save them and be a light to them… but I also believe God places you where you are knowing who will be in your path and neglecting your family (the children you have that were entrusted to you to raise up for the Lord) to do some other “good work” is burying your talents and not expecting the master to be angry. It is not prioritizing and being a poor steward. So yes, I do believe there is a time for opening yourself to ideas from the culture and assessing them with the hopes of using them to parallel God’s truth… but there is also a time for focusing on the Word of God and growing in it with limits to how much twaddle and mind candy you allow in the mix. To grow a plant you must first baby it, nourish it, protect it from the elements, and then when the time is right, you take down your stakes and protective covers and allow the sun and heaven to do their magic. ;)

        I’m sure we have more in common than we don’t. ;) So glad to see you all grown up and in the Son. ;)

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