Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Christian vs. Christ-follower: the movie

All this year, I am preaching on what it means to really follow Christ, rather than merely being religious. Someone has posted a series of videos on youtube which explore the differences in a rather humorous parodying the "Mac vs. PC" commercials. Here are a few for you to watch (By the way, if you've never been to, I need to make this disclaimer: Youtube is not a Christian site. Some videos on the site are very much not "family friendly." These "Christian vs. Christ-follower" videos are produced by a Christian organization, but users can type comments below each video, and some of the comments can tend to be vulgar. So use this with discretion.):

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

There are others, but you get the point. I have to say, the videos are very well-made, and actually quite funny. They make some good points about our religiosity. On the other hand, they have a smart-alecky tone that would likely appeal to people who already think the way they do, but turn off more traditional Christians.

Here is a link to a pretty good online discussion of this video series. Below are a pair of comments, one pro, one con, that I think make good arguments for and against this approach:

Rick D:
I guess I ought to like the videos, I love clever parodies, but they feel a little smarmy and self righteous. “We’re the real Christ followers, you’re not”
I like clever parodies but here’s the problem. The guy in the suit is my Dad. He loves the Lord with all his heart but was brought up in a generation that dressed up to go to church. He only listens to Hymns or classical music. He sent my younger brother to Christian School. He always carries the Bible, he loves it. He reads a lot of Christian books. I suppose I am a little bit like the other guy…I listen to Jazz, rock, blues, roots, folk and Christian music and I wear jeans to church. But I love my Dad and we sit in the same pew every Sunday and worship together.
I can understand mocking pharisees, but I really want to make sure they are the bad kind. The kind that are “white-washed tombs filled with dead-mens bones”, who withold money from poor parents, who are “son of hell” as he calls them in Matt 23, not just culturally stunted. Does anyone doubt that underneath the guy in the suit loves the Lord? Paul and Nicodemus were pharisees too.


Two thoughts:
First, the quality of the videos is really great. The actors get the comic timing down perfectly.
Secondly, in response to some of the comments above—you guys make some good points, but I think you might be taking the videos a bit too seriously. When I watched the videos I saw Christians poking fun at some of their own foibles and making some clever points in the process—I didn’t sense any mean-spirited mockery of other Christians. Heaven knows I’ve exactly fit, at times in my life, some of the stereotypes they’re teasing; but it’s fun to have a laugh at our own expense sometimes.

So I'm interested to read what you all think of these. We don't have video in our worship center, so I'm not going to be showing them on Sunday morning or anything. I'd just like to read your comments about this whole approach.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,

I think my imagination was lots funnier. I imagined Jesus with a blackberry, or was that blueberry.

I needed no doze for the clips.

Jeff Berger said...

Well, that's one very definite "two thumbs down" from our online critics. Anyone else want to post a review?