2. Bad movies can have a good influence.
I think that sometimes our horror at just how bad some Christian movies are—and I’m absolutely a part of this—doesn’t just stem from our desire to hear and have great stories: It stems from a deep insecurity we have about who we are. Many of us slip into a middle-school frame of mind regarding our faith: We feel different because of it. Sometimes, we feel that people laugh at us because of it. We want to fit in. Be a cool kid, even if we’re well past puberty. Bad Christian movies aren’t just embarrassing movies. The fact that they exist, we feel, somehow diminishes our faith and, by extension, us.
I think we can be a little like King David’s wife, Michal, when David was dancing naked in the streets: “How the king of Israel honored himself today,” she says sarcastically. She was embarrassed by his actions. And frankly, if someone I was pretty close to started dancing naked in the streets, I’d be pretty embarrassed, too.
But the Bible takes David’s side. David’s enthusiastic dancing in honor of the Lord was understandable, maybe even praiseworthy. And it’s interesting that the Bible never tells us whether David was a particularly good dancer.
I don’t think it says anywhere in the Bible that we should only do stuff that we know we can be successful at. In fact, it seems like a lot of it suggests we spend way too much time thinking about outward achievement than the things that God cares about: “For the Lord sees not as man sees,” we read in 1 Samuel 16:7. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use God’s gifts to the very best of our ability. Nor does it exhort us Christian movie consumers to forgive the aesthetic sins of a given Christian movie. Calling a bad movie good doesn’t benefit anyone, least of all the filmmaker.
But I think we also should be mindful that God can use anything—even a bad movie—to His benefit. Even as I was rolling my eyes through Slamma Jamma, I heard someone sniffling in the theater during the movie’s sad parts. The movie moved someone, I’m sure of it. It fed something inside her soul, just as Silence fed something in mine.