As a lover of books and stories I believe that we engage with stories emotionally and spiritually in a way that is different from how we receive factual information. We can know something, but a story makes that information personal. I think that’s why Jesus told stories, parables, to help his listeners identify with what he was teaching them. Movies are the way we tell our stories in the 21st century. Most stories, not just those we call dramas, but funny ones and even scary ones offer us glimpses into human need and human motivations and attitudes. I suspect that conflicts, yearnings, burning questions, and life experiences are pretty universal.

The  word “sin” made me uncomfortable. It brings up images of angry, red-faced preachers with slicked back hair and smug “church ladies” passing judgment. I don’t think “sin management” is the most constructive way to focus our time and attention as believers in Christ’s redemptive work but I do think that the traits the early church fathers identified as “sin”: pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust are traits that motivate human beings to hurt one another and themselves. The early church fathers identified as virtues: humility, kindness, patience, passion, generosity, purpose, and purity. We tend to see these as positive traits that have a positive spiritual and relational impact.  

I think the audience identifies with characters and situations in stories because we see ourselves. Without negative traits conflict would not exist, and without conflict we wouldn’t have stories, at least we wouldn’t have very interesting stories. Perhaps that is why the antagonists are often the memorable characters. By sitting in a theater and seeing how those attitudes play out in a story we often understand more about our own situations and attitudes. In a few hours we get to see characters in conflict experience resolution and see characters experience redemptive arcs that inspire hope for change in our own lives. 

A few years ago I wrote a book called Sinema7 about how movies address the seven deadly sins and their opposing virtues. I decided to keep writing about film so I started this blog. I called it Sinema7 because of the book but this blog is about movies and TV I watch and what I think about those shows. It’s not so much about sin or virtue as about the human condition and the lens of faith through which I process entertainment.It is my hope that the ideas expressed on this blog provide a springboard for culturally relevant conversations. Ultimately Christ is the agent of change and he uses all sorts of delivery methods, including movies, to help us see Him and to discover our identity in Him.