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Book Summary

The church’s public discussion of the Arts often involves the desire to shut down artistic voices. A censoring impulse is not a characteristic of true faith but a side effect of artistic ignorance. In You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian LensGood News Film Reviews film critic Scott Nehring looks to pull the cultural blinders off Christians’ eyes and show them the Arts are not only good for the culture but for humanity at large. Involved audience members improve understanding and provide open, less conflict-based dialogue between non-Christians and Christians.

Section 1 claims “movies matter and … impact our lives,” even if we have never watched one. Film entertains and enthralls, it also instructs. Film is a mode of communication; it is critical we pay attention to what’s said.

In mid-section  he unravels a variety of ways film can be used to modify our thinking. From product placement to political and social agendas, there is more on screen than flashing lights.

In order to understand film, an audience must first understand Story. In Section 2, introduction is given to narrative structures and mythological archetypes developed by the likes of Joseph Campbell, Lord Raglan, and Alan Dundes.

Following the explanation of act structure, heroic character traits, and a variety of archetypal characters, we explore how these relate directly back to the Bible and offer evidences for the identity of our ultimate hero, Jesus Christ.

In Section 3, The Right Way to Sit There and Do Something, readers are asked to question how they watch movies. Are they too restrictive? Gluttonous?

Then we delve into how film structure can be used to discern a film’s meaning and value by consideration of Purpose (Why was it made?), Content (What’s in it?), and Truth (Does it explain the world truthfully?).

We close with suggestions on how average audience members can impact the art of film and with the caution that life is short and we should only accept Art made to touch our souls.

Buy your copy of You Are What You See: Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens today and begin changing your world.