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Film & Theology

  • Course Description

    This course will challenge us to think about how we process all that we see on the big screen. Cinema is a window into different experiences and God has something to say to us in all of this. Come and explore how we respond to what we see in Films and how it affects how we engage with different worldviews and experiences.

  • Lecturer

    Chris Lyttle

    Chris Lyttle saw The Karate Kid as a child, and this kickstarted a life-long love of film. Since he became a follower of Jesus at age 16, he has been on a journey towards using film to help people to better understand the Gospel, and Christians to better understand culture. Chris is married to Gayle, and they attend Cavanaleck Presbyterian Church in Fivemiletown where Chris is involved in youth ministry.

  • Full Course Description

    Week 1
    So... Why?: The task of Film and Theology. An examination of how 'nothing is neutral', entertainment is more accessible than ever before, and how our response to this can shape, or be shaped by what we think about God.
    Silver Screen Saviours: The Age of Heroes.  What do superheroes on our screen tell us about what the world's real problems are and the kind of saviour we really need?
    Week 2
    Silent Scream: How our reactions to film and the reactions of others can expose truths about our theological outlook and tell us things about ourselves.

    Some day my Prince Will Come: Looking at unrealistic life expectations picked up from Walt Disney and his spiritual successors.
    Week 3
    The Stories we tell ourselves: A Masterclass in Worldview. Looking at how the stories people tell themselves in film to motivate their actions, are identical in function (if different in form) to the stories that people all over the world tell themselves everyday.
    Faithful God?: Noah/Exodus/Ten Commandments. Depictions of Bible Stories and church in cinema and how these can prepare us for the presuppositions of people about God and Church
    Week 4
    Second chances: Les Miserables and Grace vs. Justice.  Using this film as a jumping off point for a discussion on the relationship between grace, mercy, forgiveness, charity, legalism and penance.
    Life Imitating Art: The Breakfast Club Looking at attempts to realistically depict 'contemporary' culture as a lens to view a disconnect between church and culture.
    Week 5
    Imagination: Middle Earth, Narnia and beyond Looking at how a little imagination can help us start deep and meaningful conversations on just about any aspect of human existence. 
    Influence: Back to the Future (or 'Dear Lord, make me like Marty McFly') Looking at how characters on screen can be changers of culture, and how that can affect our approach to our own day-to-day decisions.
    Week 6
    Star Wars: Space to think. How do the events in a galaxy far, far away challenge our own sensibilities about evil empires and rebellions going on closer to home?
    Sequels: Where to Next? - A chance to wrap everything up, ask questions, share what we've learned and what we'll do with it for God's Kingdom.

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