How did you pick the movies you used in Sinema7?

Mostly I picked movies I like or characters that made an impression. I also used movies that I tend to quote or hear quoted. There are some movies and characters that lots of people I know associate with certain ideas, like Wall Street and greed. At the risk of being obvious I figured if the connection was already there it would be a good idea to use it.

Why would someone who doesn’t really believe in “sin” read this book?

I think sin encompasses all the ways people hurt themselves and one another. Even people who consider themselves “morally neutral” or think calling something a sin is “judgmental” get hurt and have regrets. People who would never label an action “sin” would identify characters like Hannibal Lecter or Cruella de Vil as villains and be able to explain why they’re bad guys and not good guys. If we see someone screaming in a fit of rage we all recognize that they are angry and that their anger is destructive. Evidently people can recognize sin because it’s part of our human condition. Some people might be more comfortable using words like “ethics” instead of sin.

You talk about R-rated movies. I thought this was a Christian book?

Sin is not G-rated or “family friendly.” Movies that offer a culturally relevant context from which we can discuss sin are going to reflect honest pictures of what sin looks like and likely will earn an R rating. I think movies give us some common ground so we aren’t into one of those “us Christians,” “them heathen” sorts of conversations. A good story is going to challenge us, stretch us, and intrigue us, not just entertain us and affirm what we already think.

So is the Church today really willing to learn from Hollywood?

Can we learn? Yes! I think we are attracted to stories because God is a storyteller. Instead of just putting Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Bible, we also have Judges and Kings because God’s ideas and truth play out in the lives of real people. A move like Blood Diamond gives us faces and names and emotions to put with the facts we read about oppression in African nations. As we learn to become discerning movie watchers we get better at finding relevant “takeaways.”

To your question of “is the Church willing?” I certainly hope so; movies are the parables of the 21st century.

What are the seven deadly sins and the corresponding virtues?

Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Anger, and Pride are the sins. The traditional opposing virtues are chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility but in my book I call them: purity, discipline, generosity, passion, patience, kindness, and humility. I took some liberties because I wanted 21st century readers to be able to relate better to the words I use.

Where are the seven deadly sins in the Bible?

The seven deadly sins are never found together in the Bible as a list. But they all show up in various lists of sins that are in the Bible.

So what’s the history behind the the Seven Deadly Sins?

In the fourth century a theologian named Evagrius put the first deadly sins list together. Pope Gregory the Great tweaked it and Thomas Aquinas put the seven in their present form in the 13th century, and included them in his Summa Theologica. I actually included a section in the back of the book outlining the history because I found it really fascinating.

What’s your toughest sin?

Probably sloth. I’m not that lazy but I have avoidance issues.

Top 5 favorite movies?

Tough question. Blazing Saddles, Lord of the Rings, Fargo, Toy Story, The Ref.

What kind of music do you like?

I like almost everything. Right now I’m listening to Band of Horses and Dustin Kensrue a lot. Songs by Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead are “most listened to” on my iPhone.

What motivated you to become a writer?

I’ve always been a writer; I’ve just never published a book before. I write because it helps me make sense of what I’m thinking and feeling. I like stringing words together the way some people like running or playing music or cooking. Writing makes me feel more like myself.

Are you working on another book?

I’m working on a study guide for Sinema7 that can be used with small groups.