Entries in DVD (34)
It’s always refreshing to see a film that’s thin on dialogue, but dense with meaning. Polycarp took home the top prizes at the recent Christian Worldview Film Festival, which is no surprise given its frank treatment of first century persecution. A creeping concern among Christians today, persecution of the church in America is a fast-growing fear and slow-but-steady threat. So how can we find hope?
Polycarp is based on the life of an early church father who studied under the apostle John. A missionary turned scribe in his old age, Polycarp was the anchor of the Christian community in Smyrna. As persecution from Rome encroached on their freedoms, Polycarp and other Christians in Smyrna had to decide whether they would pursue their work in the safety of another town or stand and fight in their local community. Polycarp’s story is viewed through the eyes of a slave girl who immediately receives her freedom after being purchased.
Three things stood out to me about this film. First, I was intrigued by the dialogue of the Polycarp character. More often than not, he quoted Bible passages as though they were ordinary speech. He didn’t use a preachy, heavy handed, “Jesus said…” style, but simply spoke sacred words in the most natural contexts. This idea wasn’t too far-fetched since his sole occupation was copying the words of the apostles, ie. what would become the New Testament. These God-breathed ideas and phrases would have made their home in his subconscious after numerous transcripts, and he could have spoken them as naturally as you or I would talk about the weather. It intrigued me how Scripture gets into the soul today, even though our culture is now so far removed from “oral tradition.” Like Polycarp, those who memorize scripture often find the Holy Spirit opening doors of conversation with others, and sacred words come naturally in the right context.
Second, the film challenges us to be brave and true. After watching the movie, my daughter asked me a pointed question: “Would you deny God in order to keep our family safe?” What a loaded question!! Prior to watching this film, I might have said yes. I’ll be honest. When I’ve imagined a world of religious persecution (like what would I have done if I was a Jew in World War II), it always seemed more reasonable to lie to corrupt authorities in order to continue the work of Christ underground. It seemed to me that surviving to preach another day made more sense than needless martyrdom. But this film made me think much harder about that scenario. It raised questions about the internal and external ramifications of denying God, even falsely denying him. I began to consider the bigger picture of “life,” which brings me to the third point…
Polycarp reminds us that as Christians, we are part of something much larger than this temporal life. While most Christian movies today focus on the life we live right now, surviving the challenges and pitfalls of a frustrating existence on Earth, Polycarp reaches beyond the immediate. For one, it shows us that we are part of a much larger, historical story, one that reaches throughout the centuries. Many came before us and fought for the Gospel, and we too will play out our roles in the grand scale of God’s story with humanity. Second (and this is where my answer to the kids came in), our “lives” extend far beyond our time on this planet. We can’t make decisions based on the immediate ramifications of our choices. We have to look into the far, far future. What do our enemies threaten us with, death? Death is to be immediately in the presence of God. Torture? Even those who are being persecuted across the world today endure suffering with a supernatural kind of peace. The apostles of the Bible faced it with joy, singing, and even witnessing. If I am to be honest, I have only ever heard that God gives his people uncanny courage and peace when persecution comes. So, when the power-driven Quadratus fumes his greatest boast, “I wield the power of the gods in this place!” his greatest weakness is exposed. He does not understand God’s protection, provision, end-game or even the nature of the universe. And Quadratus’ threats weigh false on an eternal scale.
Perhaps that’s the vehicle of hope in this film. With today’s increasing religious restriction and a spreading dread of persecution, Polycarp argues the opposite of weakness and fear. It raises up pillars of Biblical truth instead. Quoting from the Bible, Polycarp describes how he deals with his own fear, “Perfect love casts out fear.” When he looks honestly at the God who loved and saved him in his sinful state, the God who walks with him every moment, and the God who will be waiting for him even if he should die, fear is an empty lie. Somehow we emerge from the film with a greater trust in God as our sovereign, protector, and trustworthy advocate. We emerge with gratitude for what Christ did for us, and a sense of belonging in God’s eternal story. We emerge with the courage to resist our own weakness and expose fear for the lie that it is.
Awakened the documentary is now available for order and will ship within two days of your purchase. We are so grateful the Lord helped us finish and the copies are ready to send out!
“You will keep him perfect peace
whose mind is steadfast on You,
because he trusts in You.”
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape,
that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
I had the opportunity to see this documentary at the Christian Worldview Film Festival. This is a powerful film, about the work being done to help abused women in India. I highly recommend this film...but not for the whole family.
You can read the Dove review here.
"Veil of Tears" is a documentary film that tells the untold story of millions of women in India who are culturally persecuted for no other reason than the fact that they are women. However, despite the centuries of oppression, there are those who are reaching out and trying to change the culture towards women, from the inside out. Filmed across of the stunning nation of India, in some of the most remote tribal villages in the world today, this is a journey where few outsiders have gone before.
More info and DVD is available here.
Movie Website: VeilOfTearsMovie.com
Henry Myers (Drew Waters from Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, The Hit List, Cowgirls ’n Angels) lives a hard life, getting by on the frontier however he can… even if it means robbing a bank. After his latest heist goes wrong and his outlaw friends betray him and leave him for dead, Henry is surprised to find extraordinary kindness from a widow named Marilyn (Erin Bethea from Fireproof, Facing The Giants, Letters To God) and her children.
With the influence of this family, Henry begins to question the choices he’s made. Just when things begin to make sense again, it’s all ripped away from him when his old gang shows up. Will he seek the revenge he desires or finally find his redemption?
UNSTOPPABLE is Kirk's personal and inspiring visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raiser in faith: Why? Kirk goes back to the beginning—literally—as he investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities. Reminding us that there is great hope, UNSTOPPABLE creatively tackles the age-old question: Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?
This film tackles a difficult and oft asked question, "How can a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?" While I applaud Kirk for making the film, and while I agree with the messages and conclusions he presents, the trip to get there isn't really my style. Fast-paced edgy editing...moments of loud, thumping raucous music...slow pacing to the story and messages, all combine to hinder the film from being enjoyable...at least for me. Also, the scenes in the "garden of Eden" (briefly depicted in the trailer) are often long and slightly awkward at moments.
Hated and betrayed by his brothers, Brady Gray is forced off of the family ranch and must start a new life in Dallas. With a good job and a promising romance, better days seem to lie ahead until Brady is framed for a crime he didn't commit.
DVD available in stores January 28, 2014
PRE-ORDER avialable here!