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Rightly Discerning?

Receiving B&C every two months is like receiving a box of gourmet chocolates. While sampling the dainties in the Jan./Feb. issue I came across Roy Anker's review of the film Devil's Advocate, which went down like a tasty morsel. As I digested it, though, I wondered if someone might have accidentally dropped some bits of hazelnut shell into the truffle mold.

Let me explain. As reviews go, it was well done. It included everything I would expect in a movie review—basic plot, character sketches, plausibility judgments, and so on. I came away with a pretty good idea of what Devil's Advocate is about and whether it's worth seeing. Here's the sticky part: As a Christian man (in the gender-specific sense), there is no way I can view a movie that I know contains graphic sex and violence. Now, of course this is an indictment of my own weakness and not of the review. But I suspect there may be other men in the same situation. The questions raised here are huge; as we participate in the surrounding culture (and, hopefully, as Christians, reflect Christ to it), are there some aspects that are too tainted for us to experience? Just how do we go about being in the world and not of it?

Of course, it's grossly unfair to expect this to be answered in a movie review (which, I repeat, was well written); but I posit that everything done from a Christian world-view must carry at least some sense of the New Testament paradigm of this world as a battleground for the souls of men. If the paradigm is correct, and there really are ideas and experiences that can harm us, can we recommend to each other books, movies, and so on that may be spiritually toxic?

Roy Anker's "Preacher Man" [March/ April], a review of Robert Duvall's The Apostle, left us wondering why Books and Culture fell into the trap of praising a movie that left us feeling as if we had watched a Christian version of Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Anker claims Duvall wanted to portray a Pentecostal preacher ...

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