Last week, I wrote about one of my favorite books, Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire (www.reflectiveliving.com). A few years ago, I interviewed Ken at a CBA trade show about his latest book. I had never met him before and I confess that I may have gushed a little. I did manage to stop just short of saying, “I’m your biggest fan!” Although he was a little taken aback by my enthusiasm, he responded with grace, and we went on to have a wonderful conversation.
In several of his books including Windows of the Soul, Divine Embrace, and Reflections on the Movies, Ken has written about movies and their ability to touch us. Here’s a portion of our interview.
LeAnne: Why are movies such a powerful medium?
Ken: A lot of people have been alienated by the church and for good reasons sometimes—alienated by legalism, hypocrisy, arrogance, lack of compassion. They think, if this is the best Christianity has to offer, I’m not sure it’s the best place to be.
Movies tell stories you can’t tell in church, particularly if they don’t have a happy ending: the pain of abuse, abandonment, divorce, and what that looks like. If you tell the story and are honest, people distance themselves from you. Movies are where those stories can be told with honesty and vulnerability.
Movies are an unapologetically emotional medium [when] many churches are more cerebral. They focus mainly on the sermon. There’s a pastor who is not sharing about his life, who is more doctrinally oriented. People long to have their hearts touched. Most people criticize the pastor because he doesn’t speak to them where they live.
Movies go beyond the surface. They take us places we would never go and let us see what that life is like. Movies help us understand that place or that person more. Hopefully they illicit greater compassion in us.
LeAnne: Which movies have broadened your understanding and compassion?
Ken: Sometimes it’s entire movies, sometimes it’s a character, or a scene, or even a line of dialogue.
In some movies, we see examples of Jesus incarnate. We see something of Him, just as we see in real people, like Mother Teresa. In Fried Green Tomatoes, we see something of Jesus in the way Idgy Threadgood treats Smokey Lonesome, the homeless person at the Whistle Stop Café. She puts her arm around him. She does what Jesus would do.
We see Jesus in Braveheart’s William Wallace, both in his death and the reason why he dies--for the freedom of His people. We see something of what he went through as a reflection of what Christ went through on the cross.
I think the Jesus within us responds to the reflection of Jesus in movies. We think, I want to be like that or fight like that or sacrifice like that.
I'll be featuring more from my interview with Ken Gire soon.