Reel Dialogue is a creative dialogue between the church and entertainment culture (film and TV), with Christians discovering how common theological ground can be forged with story tellers, image shapers, and culture makers.
In essence, Reel Dialogue facilitates engagement with films without disengaging your faith — discussion, engagement and interaction with one another help to bridge the gap between faith and culture.
TV and films are very powerful ways to tell a story and reflect cultural values, ethics and morals.
Reel Dialogue facilitates engagement with films without disengaging your faith…
As Christians, we are a part of the broad cultural phenomenon known as “pop culture”, engagement with which is more important than ever. But how do we take our Christian worldview to the movies with us, to help us critically engage and negotiate popular culture’s messages and themes?
Aside from the simple pleasure of spending time together and discussing films, there are teachable moments in Hollywood’s modern parables and character studies. Crafted properly, movies can lift the spirit, tap into eternal truth and convey moral messages that challenge us to live out what we’ve experienced. And some that don’t do all of those things can still be effectively used to reinforce and confirm why we don’t believe things should be a certain way. Conversation is the key to broadening our Christian worldview and understanding culture. Plus it’s just fun to discuss a film after viewing it, particularly if it’s a great film!
Reel Dialogue can help groups understand, discern and decode films in a faith-based context. Reel Dialogue group resources have been sourced or written to help people approach film through the filter of the gospel, to build groups that can engage with entertainment in a way that will invigorate their faith and witness.
We are saturated with visual images and messages and it is really important to have the tools to talk about these messages as they relate to us as Christians, rather than passively consume other people’s worldviews.
On this site there are downloadable discussion guides and links that have all the tools groups need to reflect on, discuss and discover what spiritual truth often resides in popular films.
There are also many other resources and links to sites that will help churches with the legalities of using clips in worship services, mounting a local church film festival or starting your own film-based small group at your church as a way of reaching into your community.
This website aims to equip ministry agents and inspire creative dialogue between church and culture.
The hope is you’ll enter the cinema with a newly-developed filter to approach the world of entertainment.
Reel Dialogue — Engaging with films without disengaging your faith.
Aside from the studies and guides for discussion, what sorts of questions should we be asking about all movies?
• What would you say is the main point of this movie? Do you agree or disagree with it?
• Which character did you admire most? Why?
• Do the themes in this movie reflect reality? Do they reflect truth?
• How do the morals onscreen compare with the values you’ve been taught at home, in school or in church?
• Do you think movies like this have any effect on how close you feel to your family, friends or God? Explain.
• How might you imagine God reacting to this movie? Why? Would you feel comfortable if Jesus sat watching it with you? (See Matthew 28:20)
• Does the movie have an opinion of God or even a Christian worldview? What is it?
• What would happen if you imitated the lifestyles or choices of the characters?
About Russell Matthews
Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 12 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine, Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He liaises with film distributors, markets and moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.
About Adrian Drayton
Adrian Drayton is the Director of Reel Dialogue and works as the Managing Editor of Insights Magazine and Communications and Marketing Manager for the Synod of NSW/ACT of The Uniting Church in Australia. A film critic and commentator on culture for 20 years, he believes in the power of cinema and the power of God to start conversations about faith and culture. He is also a massive Star Wars nerd.