Oscar’s Favorite Movies & God’s Favorite Songs

2 Notions:

1. Preaching should not steer around culture. Because culture is the lens through which we experience truth—including God’s Word—preaching should steer into our common experience.

2. Art can be a hot line between the human spirit and the Holy Spirit because we are made in the image of our Creator God. How did Saint Paul relate his unknown God to the learned Athenians, with well-known poetry! (Acts 17:27-28).

If these notions ring true, then nationwide art celebrations offer a synergistic opportunity for reaching into people’s souls. The Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, do not aim at biblical truth in choosing winners. The Oscars do, however, affirm movies that deal with issues on people’s hearts and minds. The Oscars do present us with stories that affirm the Bible, or contrast with biblical principles.

At Holy Cross we will juxtapose the lectionary’s weekly Psalm with an Oscar winner or nominee throughout March.

Learning from:

    The King’s Speech & Psalm 2, March 6
    Best picture, director, actor, original screenplay
    The Social Network & Psalm 32, March 13
    Best adapted screenplay, original music, film editing
    The Kids Are All Right or The Book of Eli & Psalm 121, March 20
    Nominated for Best picture and three more awards
    The Fighter & Psalm 95, March 27
    Best actor & actress in supporting roles

How do you help people approach God’s Word with fresh eyes?
I’m not stuck on these movies. Any suggestions for improvement?

For Lent, we’re linking masterpiece paintings with Scripture. See A Masterpiece Journey to Easter.


About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Bible, communication, culture, worship and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Oscar’s Favorite Movies & God’s Favorite Songs

  1. Susan S. says:

    I appreciate your statement: “Because culture is the lens through which we experience truth—including God’s Word—preaching should steer into our common experience.”

    Jesus spoke in words that related to his listeners’ every day life. He described the sharing of His truth with parables that directly related to what the listeners’ personal and group experiences were at that time.

    This is one reason I was attracted to the ELCA form of Lutheranism: It is acceptable to change certain parables and passages to strike the same chord in current culture(s). Most people do not have a depth of history that allows them to understand the historical context of statements in the bible.

    • Ben Unseth says:

      I agree that context would have made some points simple and transparent to Jesus’ audience even though we might not capture such things today. I look forward to hearing more of what you mean by “change certain parables and passages.” I love to improve explanation of God’s Word. I wouldn’t want to monkey around with its content.

      • Susan Sumner says:

        Pastor Unseth,

        I am referring to the rewording of certain biblical phrasing, attempting to employ the exact same meaning, but with the use of contemporary wording. We are not using the King James version of the bible in our readings. The ELCA church appeared to me to be one first bodies that encouraged changes of word use in order to give us a clearer understanding of the original statements in the context of those Jesus spoke with.

  2. Pingback: A Masterpiece Journey to Easter | Ben Unseth's Red-Letter Ideas

  3. Ben Unseth says:

    God’s Word in language we can understand is an amazing gift! I was blessed to grow up under a pastor (my dad) who had left the KJV behind for a translation in more understandable English. I flinch when I hear KJV terms that now mean something different from what they did 400 years ago.

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