Item description for Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith by Catherine M. Barsotti & Robert K. Johnston...
Overview Recognizing that Christians go to the movies, the authors present a unique resource to help believers engage and enjoy films of faith. Includes information for understanding and discerning the Christian message relevant to 33 recent movies now available in video or DVD formats.
Publishers Description You love movies. Who Doesn't? In Finding God in the Movies Catherine Barsotti and Robert Johnston show you how to combine your love of movies with your desire for God. Introducing thirty-three films of faith--ranging from Tender Mercies to X-Men--the authors identify and explore key biblical themes like forgiveness, faith, and repentance. An enthusiastic guide for the individual movie lover or small group, this resource contains production notes and film synopses, relevant Scripture texts, theological reflection, recommended video clips, discussion questions, and more. It will deepen your fervor for film and for God.
From Publishers Weekly Inviting Christians to "have a conversation with a movie's story, not an
inquisition," Barsotti and Johnston add to the growing number of film study
guides on the market for pastors, youth leaders and religious educators. By
even mentioning an inquisition, Barsotti, a film reviewer for The Covenant
Companion magazine, and her husband Johnston, a professor of theology and
culture at Fuller Seminary, make it clear that their primary audience is
evangelical Christians who see film as a guilty pleasure. For the guilt-free,
some parts of the book will feel like unnecessary apologetics, and the
language sometimes lapses into evangelical jargon. The heart of the book is
its evocative, open-ended questions for each film-a study in how to approach
visual texts in a postmodern world. Instead of telling readers what they
should think of the popular films, the authors simply share their delight in
each film, and then invite us to enter the stories with new eyes. Each film
gets a synopsis and theological reflection, a few "dialogue texts" from
scripture, discussion questions and suggested clips for viewing and analyzing.
Anyone wanting to discuss Christian theology or spirituality found in film
will enjoy exploring these 33 well-tested movies and will appreciate the
well-articulated model for engaging spiritually with popular culture found in
this study guide. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith by Catherine M. Barsotti & Robert K. Johnston has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 06/28/2004 page 46
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.99 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2004
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801064813 ISBN13 9780801064814
Availability 0 units.
More About Catherine M. Barsotti & Robert K. Johnston
Robert K. Johnston is a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church and formerly served as dean of North Park Theological Seminary. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Reel Spirituality. Catherine M. Barsotti teaches courses at Centro Hispano de Estudios Teologicos in the areas of theology, ethics, and spirituality (in Spanish). She also does consulting to Christian non-profit organizations in the area of strategic planning and board development. Together with Rob, she has been writing movie reviews for the last eight years for the Covenant Companion and Faith@Work.
Reviews - What do customers think about Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith?
A book for finding God's grace in the secular world Nov 2, 2004
Catherine Barsotti and Robert Johnston --- husband and wife --- give thoughtful Christians a book full of tools to help them view select movies (33 in all; the oldest released in 1982) through a theological or philosophical lens.
FINDING GOD IN THE MOVIES starts with an informative introduction that discusses the film genre and theological approaches to film. What makes a good film? "Head, gut, and heart. The best movies will engage the whole person." How does a viewer find God in the movies? "Unpack the story.... What is more primary in the way the story is shaped? (1) Is it the plot...? (2) Is it the characters...? (3) Is it the point of view, where a story is given value by the perspective of the narrator(s)...? Or (4) is it the atmosphere...?...Concentrate your critical attention on where the filmmakers have centered their attention. By doing this, you will prove a more receptive viewer of the story and perhaps the Story."
Each of the 33 movie-chapters starts with a two- or three-page "synopsis and theological reflection" --- a review. This is followed by "dialogue texts" (relevant biblical passages), "discussion questions," "clip conversations" (more discussion questions but about specific scenes), and several pages of "bonus material," which includes interesting behind-the-scenes information about the making and makers of the film. Movies also are clearly linked to two helpful appendices: one listing (Genesis to Revelation) relevant biblical references; one listing (A to Z) topics covered in or themes of the movies (for example, Abuse; Affirming the Human Spirit; Anger; Arguing with God; Balance in Life).
The movie-chapters are presented in 13 categories, the more blatantly religious ("Living Our Faith"; "Images of the Savior"; "Renewing the Church") placed toward the end of the book. You might want to start your exploration in these later categories or simply bounce around. The second of the 13 categories, "Beauty, Imagination, and Creativity," discusses two Pacific Rim movies, Spirited Away and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that celebrate imagination and creativity but may be hard for the neophyte to discuss theologically.
This is a book for Christians who have an understanding of common grace, "the wider work of God's Spirit throughout and within all creatures and creation," and for those who are open to dialogue with the secular world. What are some of the films discussed? Life Is Beautiful. Ulee's Gold. The Hurricane. Simon Birch. Chocolat. We Were Soldiers.
By using this guide you might get the hang of facilitating a movie-discussion group and then move on to films you wish the authors had included. We'd all have our own list. Mine? The Trip to Bountiful. Cinema Paradiso. Babette's Feast. The Quarrel. Smoke. Maybe I should check out Johnston's earlier book REEL SPIRITUALITY: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Baker, 2000).
--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Help me open my eyes wide! Jul 23, 2004
Can we find God in the movies? Yes! In this outstanding cultural book, Johnston leads us to find God in the popculture. He mentions the movie as a story teller in which people communicate their values and worldviews. He, also, teaches us what the christian movies are and how christians can watch the films; the christian movies are what deal with the real human stories and what show the reality afresh. And, when we watch the movies, we, as chrsitians, have to see the christian values such as humanity, friendship, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc. In addition to these strengths, the most wonderful character of this book is the excellent complete film study guide. I enthusiastically recommend this book for all people who are interested in popculture and its application to their real lives.