Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Introducing: my journey east...

"in order of appearance:
Caleb Meeks
Patrick Covert
Shepherd Ahlers

December 22-Jan 8 2009

I have always admired people who choose to be missionaries. I have often wondered if it is something I could have chosen for myself. I want to have that mentality of self sacrifice and the freedom that comes from serving God with my life. Since realizing my calling in media and coming to City on a Hill Productions I have seen the need for a counter-cultural view on the power and purpose of media, within the church and otherwise.

The average person consumes media on an almost constant basis, and without building a case for missions using that language I think very few people will realize it's importance or existence. The youth in our generation, like myself, spend their time surrounded by music, movies, television, and online media for an average of 6.5 hours a day. If they are going to hear the cry for them to take action it must come in the language they are most attuned to. Most young people want to feel like they are a part of something, they want to make a difference with their lives, they want to stop world hunger, or end unjust war... but few ever move from wanting to do something, to actually getting their hands dirty in real change. The purpose of this journey to Nepal and the focus of me and Caleb and Patrick will be always to speak to that young person, and give them more than a cause, but a calling.

Why did we choose nepal? There is a huge need in that country for relief, and hope. This is what Christ called us to do, is to be his hands and feet, and to comfort the hurting, and to take care of widows and orphans, and to set the captive free from the chains that bind their souls. There is incredible poverty and despair in Nepal.

Approximately 40% of Nepalese live below the poverty line of $12 per person/per month. Discrimination on the grounds of caste is officially illegal in Nepal but is in fact widespread, especially in rural areas. Members of the lowest caste (dalits, or untouchable) are the most disadvantaged group. Most people in the dalit caste work as wage labourers for higher-caste farmers.

We will be creating awareness of poverty, and suffering, but in the metanarrative we will be bringing out the calling of God in each one of us, to be Christ to the world, especially young people. That is our hope for this project, and for our own lives.
We are there during the coldest time of the year, and we are going to be facing a lot of cultural challenges as well. None of us will be effective communicators to the Nepalese people on our own, and so we are doing our best to crash course ourselves in Nepali culture and phrases. The other part of the trip may include india, another unique culture, so we will have our hands full with preparing for this journey.
We will be online throughout our journey, so you should be able to follow our trip through daily blog posts through our soon to be announced site... 

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fireproofing the box office

The elements were there: Kirk Cameron Christian superstar ala Left Behind, a $500K budget, a soundtrack made of cheesy christian radio singles. I was ready to be treated to tired church platitudes and sermons preached by characters with heavy southern accents that almost sounded faked...

And somehow a film with all those elements I described beat out Brad Pit in the box office for the #4 spot, having opened on less than 1000 screens, and being marketed almost purely by grassroots means. It has caused a firestorm in Hollywood, and for good reason!

This movie wasn't just a success in the box office, it was a win in the heart of the story it tried to tell. I walked away, not thinking about the hit and miss supporting cast, or how bad the soundtrack was, or the obvious low budget camera work. I didn't care, because somehow the purity of the story got deep inside me. Someone said the movie made them want to be a better person, and that is how I felt.
It relied on too much "christianeze" for most outsiders, but for the Christ follower, and especially the person struggling with their marriage, this will be time well spent. For me, the most exciting thing is the way this movie will pave the way for more and better independent films, and change the way faith based films are marketed. To that I would give 5 stars.

I could write a review of the movie itself, and point out it's strengths and weaknesses, but someone else took the time to write an excellent review that I almost completely agree with, on both it's praise and criticism, both of which I believe are necessary for art to improve.
Patrol Magazine: 'Fireproof'

Also of note is the discussion surrounding this movie. It has captured the attention of Hollywood in a big way.