“Easy A” and the failure of evangelism
Just finished watching “Easy A.” If you haven’t seen it, let me just say that it is a pretty good flick, a throwback to the 80s teenage movies of my youth (and even references them in a fairly witty way). It is worth watching, even though it is somewhat suggestive at time and it earns its PG-13 rating on language alone.
But the witty dialog and absolutely charming lead actress are not why you should see this movie. You should see it for the portrayal of Christians. Most movies portray Christians as either dim witted or hate filled and judgmental. This movie manages to do both. The blatant stereotyping of the Christian characters in this movie would be reasons for boycotts if they were so obvious about any other group in America these days. But you don’t need to see this movie so that you can be indignant about how they portray Christians. You need to see this movie so that your eyes can be opened to how our message is being received.
Evangelism in this country is failing. Movies with Christians that are so blatantly different from the average Christian on the street can only work if no one actually knows an average Christian. It is easy to talk about how Hollywood is attacking Christian values, but that is putting the blame on a bunch of people who don’t know better. As Christians we should know better. We should know the joy and the power that comes from following God and as such we should be telling everyone we meet about it.
But apparently we aren’t. Apparently we are missing the mark when it comes to actually reaching out with the love of Christ.
What breaks my heart about a movie like “Easy A” is that no one who wrote the movie, no one who worked on the movie, no one who screened the movie ever brought up the need to have at least some positive Christian influence in the film. No one assumed that such a thing was even possible. When the lead character goes looking for religion (and someone to explain the Bible to her) she finds a priest who isn’t in his confessional booth and the father of her Christian tormentor (who was also wearing a collar; I honestly would like the stereotype of all ministers wear collars to go away too, but that is down on the list below all Christians are judgmental and close-minded).
Why couldn’t she have found someone who at least wasn’t a total jerk? It could be because the makers of the movie have an ax to grind against Christians. It could also be that they have had very little positive experience with Christians. That is a failure of evangelism, not of the filmmaker.
I honestly don’t have a good answer on how to fix this. Maybe some of us who live in the Bible belt need to get up and move to places where there aren’t Churches on every corner and actually start loving people the way that Jesus did. Maybe if people saw more Christians without picket signs actually treating them like the creation of God that they are then things would be different.