Books on film and faith

Through A Screen Darkly: Looking Closer at Beauty, Truth and Evil in the Movies

Jeffrey Overstreet

For years many evangelical Christians have written about movies primarily as weapons in a culture war.

Thank God for Jeffrey Overstreet, who writes about film as an art form. Through a Screen Darkly is beautifully written, and Overstreet’s love of film shines through on every page.

My “Theology and Popular Culture” students love this book, which stimulates deep discussions and about film and faith.

I also highly recommended this book to youth workers struggling to articulate a consistent theology of pop culture.

Steve Rabey
Adjunct faculty, Fuller Theological Seminary
Editor, YouthWorker Journal

Jeffrey’s travelogue of “dangerous moviegoing,” is a memoir, a guide to the some of the best movies you’ve never seen, a resource for moviegoing discussion groups, and an archive of amusing anecdotes drawn from his many interviews with filmmakers, movie stars, and cantankerous cinephiles.

Other helpful books written about the intersection between faith and film
  • Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus For an Emerging Discipline – Robert Johnston (Ed)

The connection between theology and film is a hot topic in the academy and the church. But research and writing on methodology and hermeneutics is lacking. This comprehensive collection identifies the overlooked or undervalued areas in the current discussions of film and theology. Including contributions from the leaders in the field, Reframing Theology and Film helps deepen the conversation while bringing it to a new level of prominence. Professors and students of theology and film, libraries, pastors, and film buffs will benefit from this much-needed resource.Amazon.com description.

  • Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue – Robert Johnston

This book should be required reading for any Christian who is perplexed about, disgusted with, threatened by, or worried over the entertainment monster which is Hollywood.

Books on the relationship between film and culture do not come any better than Robert Johnston’s Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue.

  • A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture – Craig Detweiler and Barry Taylor

If you want to become an engaged agent of the Gospel this is the book for you. The best book written on the subject of finding divine fingerprints in pop culture. It examines advertising, the cult of celebrity, music, movies, television, fashion, sports and art. This book is used as a primer for most courses taught on the engagement of culture.

  • Visual Faith: Art, Theology and worship in dialogue – William A. Dyrness

A deeper look at the discourse between art and culture and art and the church. This is a book for Christian artists and worship leaders that helps make sense of the changes in the way we worship and how in a visual age the face of worship is changing.

  • Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture – William D. Romanowski

Great text for helping to evaluate popular culture from a Christian perspective.

  • Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus For an Emerging Discipline – Robert Johnston (Ed)

The connection between theology and film is a hot topic in the academy and the church. But research and writing on methodology and hermeneutics is lacking. This comprehensive collection identifies the overlooked or undervalued areas in the current discussions of film and theology. Including contributions from the leaders in the field, Reframing Theology and Film helps deepen the conversation while bringing it to a new level of prominence. Professors and students of theology and film, libraries, pastors, and film buffs will benefit from this much-needed resource.Amazon.com description

  • A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture – Craig Detweiler and Barry Taylor

If you want to become an engaged agent of the Gospel this is the book for you. The best book written on the subject of finding divine fingerprints in pop culture. It examines advertising, the cult of celebrity, music, movies, television, fashion, sports and art. This book is used as a primer for most courses taught on the engagement of culture.

  • Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith – Catherine Barsotti and Robert Johnston

An enthusiastic guide for the individual movie lover or small group, this resource contains studies and Biblical reflections on 33 films from Tender Mercies to X-Men.

  • Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes through the Lens of Contemporary Film – Robert Johnston

A wise old adage of faith states, “Read the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other.” The slogan is an invitation to notice the complex engagement of faith and culture. This book takes up the interface of faith and culture with specifity and immediacy.

  • Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment – Brian Godawa

There is a mental and spiritual discipline required for watching movies. This book helps enter a dialogue with Hollywood – one that keeps us aware of culture and awake to our faith.

  • Film as Religion: Myths, Morals and Rituals – John Lyden

This book argues that films are performing a religious function in our culture. Different from some other books on the subject it argues that films can be understood as representing a “religious” worldview in their own right. Lyden emphasises how film functions for its audience—the beliefs and values it conveys, and its ritual power to provide emotional catharsis.

  • How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films – Gareth Higgins

Is there more to going to movies than just mindless entertainment? This is a guidebook for looking at films and finding spiritual truths.

  • God In Hollywood: 7 Signs of the New Generation – Jurgen Matthesius

Matthesius, one of Australia’s leading youth communicators argues the need to take the Gospel to a new generation via todays parable – films.

 

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