For someone who enjoys watching movies, it’s interesting to see all the different jobs involved in creating one. So, like many of you, I watched the 2019 Academy Awards this week. Awards were given not only to actors and directors but to cinematographers, production designers, animators, costume designers, makeup artists, film editors, music composers, sound editors, visual effects artists, sound mixers, and script writers. That’s a lot of people working together to create an experience that will carry an audience away to another world.
Each member of the team creating a movie has a part in deciding what goes in—the clothes the actors wear, the set or scenery around them, what we hear, and what we see when the movie is complete. If they do their jobs well, we will hardly notice the clothes and makeup, the set pieces, or the background noise. If they mess up, that’s all we’re likely to remember about the film.
The biggest mess-ups are the ones that keep a story from being believable. Credibility is key to good story telling. That doesn’t mean that everything we see in a movie has to be something that could happen in real life. But everything in the movie has to be something that could happen in the world of that story.
I think one of the main reasons people are losing interest in Christianity is because the Christian story we’ve been taught can lack credibility. We look at what we’ve been told about God and Jesus, then we look at the real world around us, and it can be hard to keep believing that the Christian story is true. If God created a good world, why is there so much wrong with it? If God loves us, why doesn’t he fix our problems? If Christians are supposed to act like Jesus, why are so many of them judgmental and hateful?
If we just look at the surface, we can decide that the story doesn’t make sense. But we shouldn’t stop at the surface. We need to dig deeper to really understand the Christian story before we dismiss it. We need to ask questions and look for answers. If there is some part of the story that causes us to doubt, we should talk about it with other Christians. And we should be open to other Christians expressing their doubts, rather than expecting them to simply believe.
A recent headline in Christianity Today declared, “The Biggest Hindrance to Your Kids’ Faith Isn’t Doubt. It’s Silence.” It turns out that young Christians who express doubts and ask questions about their faith are less likely to walk away from their faith than those who don’t. If they speak up and look for answers, they are likely to find them.
Consider Job who questioned God’s justice. God himself showed up to remind Job of His power and sovereignty. Consider Thomas who doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus himself showed up and showed Thomas the holes in his hands and side. And I can’t count the number of times the Holy Spirit has showed up to remind me of his presence when I’ve prayed for answers to life’s big questions.
So don’t silence the doubters. Listen to them. Be challenged by them. Challenge them to go deeper into God’s story than they’ve ever gone before.
In a rarely-quoted verse, Jude tells his fellow Christians, “Be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 1:22). Help them see the whole story. It really is the only believable choice.
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Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!