It is interesting sometimes how some things come together. After reading The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing, I learned about Kickstarter. Soon after, I joined the campaign to save Blue Like Jazz – The Movie. Kickstarter was the enabler of the successful campaign.
I was reviewing several new campaigns in Kickstarter and came across the movie, Beware of Christians. I was intrigued by the concept and became a backer.
If you have read some of my posts, you know that I believe faith can, and should, have a strong influence in one’s life, and this is even more crucial in young adult lives. I also believe the practice of faith needs to be real, open, practical, and effective.
So, here we are. I was excited when Michael Allen, Co-Producer of Beware of Christians, agreed to participate in an interview. I hope you enjoy it. I also hope you get excited about what they are doing and back the Kickstarter campaign to help bring the movie to young adults across the country.
Q: How did the idea for the Beware of Christians movie come about, and why Europe for the location?
Michael: We felt strongly that we needed to make a film that addresses the differences between Jesus’ actual teachings and the typical “Christian” lifestyle in our culture. We, being from very “Christian” families/neighborhoods/country, noticed that so many things that we’ve been taught, or at least are normal to us, are actually contrary to Biblical teachings.
Our goal was two-fold:
First, we wanted to speak to the growing group of people who call themselves Christian that water down the gospel to make it more appealing or “relative”. The message to this group is that Christianity is not cool, pretty, or easy. It is actually quite weird, ugly, and difficult, but it’s worth it when the goal is eternal.
Secondly, we wanted the ultra-religious sect of American Christianity to hear the gospel that relies on God’s grace and our depravity rather than extreme discipline or specific religious practices.
We wanted to travel because we wanted to remove ourselves from our usual comforts, distractions, and habits that keep us stagnant in our faith. Europe made the most sense to us because the great train system there would allow us to experience and discuss many different cultures on a small budget in a short time period. We feel the travel aspect is very important to the film’s story. That is, without the traveling, it’s just four guys sitting around talking. No one wants to watch that. Instead, it’s a journey that has humor, conflict, and character development that takes place between a point A and point B. We think that’s a story people will want to watch.
Q: In your description of the movie, you mention it will be a great teaching tool for young adults and college students. How so?
Michael: A good portion of the film’s content is very straight-forward Biblical teaching. We specifically outline scripture and talk about how it has (and/or should) influence our lives. There’s a lot Bible teaching resources that do these things, but our film has elements that we’ve never seen in any other teaching resource.
As I said in the previous question, our movie is a good story. This means that the audience will be focused on the characters, jokes, and conflicts rather than any spiritual wisdom that comes out of it all. But, what the audience leaves with is usually the spiritual ideas and wisdom more than the actual story. Also, we feel our characters in the story are very relatable to young people. Our age, language, and transparency on camera, we feel, makes kids more likely to actually understand what we’re talking about. Lastly, our desire to stay humble throughout the discussions in the film makes it easy for anyone to talk about and discuss the topics further. We’re basically saying, “You don’t have to agree with us, but these topics are worth talking about.”
Q: The title of the movie seems to indicate a realness or practicality to Christianity which is being missed today with young adults (or, maybe everyone). Is that part of the message?
Michael: Definitely. The title is meant to be sort of tongue-in-cheek humor/irony, like we’re poking fun at ourselves. More seriously, the idea is that Christians always seem to fear, and run away from, everything we consider “bad” (i.e. drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, etc.), but we fail to ever point the finger back at ourselves and realize we’re the ones who are sinful and fail to submit to God’s will. If we’re willing to see ourselves as the villains, it leaves room for Jesus to be the hero.
Q: What one thing do you want a young adult to walk away with from watching the Beware of Christians movie?
Michael: Following Jesus is all or nothing. Holding parts of your life back from God is foolish and really the same as denying him altogether.
Q: Are you encouraged about the state of Christianity among our youth today?
Michael: We’re not experts on the “state of Christianity among our youth.” We definitely know a lot of young people that are living radical lives for God, loving, serving, and preaching the gospel, instead of dying to selfishness, greed, and security. This definitely encourages us.
Please join the Kickstarter campaign to enable Beware of Christians to be viewed by as many youth as possible. This is a worthy mission which will enable great conversations.
Pull the string of wonder, and you will be amazed by what happens next.
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Beware of Christians: An Interview & Campaign