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God’s Not Dead: Thoughts on Christianity and Romance

15 Apr

The other day, my Bible study group and I went to see God’s Not Dead.

I enjoyed that the movie was one that made me think. If I have to sit and stare at a screen for longer than 5 minutes, it has to keep my mind engaged. This movie did that, and I enjoyed it.

I’d have to watch the movie a few more times in order to be able to comment on the arguments for and against the existence of God. I might need to take notes or something — which is hard to do in a theater, so we won’t get into those arguments.

There is another interesting elements of the movie that I’d like to comment on — you know, the softer, less logical, more emotional part. Those things are (sometimes) easier to understand….

Aside from the main theme of the movie (God’s not dead), the other blaring theme is that of relationships.

Here is a brief synopsis of the relationships in this film:

Reverend Dave and Reverend Jude: According to this movie, if you’re a white, single male pastor, it’s appropriate for you to be close friends, go on vacation and do ministry with a single black male missionary. This relationship was intact at the end of the movie.

Ayisha and her father: Ayisha’s father is a strict Muslim, who puts Ayisha on the streets when he discovers that she has a relationship with Jesus. This is a tragic cultural and spiritual issue, but I’m not sure why it’s part of the plot. It has nothing to do with the main premise of the movie (God’s not dead), and the only thing it proves is that if your family is Muslim and you are a Christian, you will lose everything if they find out.

Willie and Korie Robertson: There isn’t really anything interesting to say about this. This is the only romantic relationship that is intact at the end of the movie.

Josh and Kara: They’ve been together for 6 years, but as soon as Josh does something that Kara doesn’t agree with, she dumps him. How is it possible that they lasted 6 years without having any disagreements? This doesn’t make any sense to me because as one gets older, he/she (should) be growing in maturity, not the other way around. Kara makes a hasty exit about 1/3 of the way through the movie. Josh is left to fight his battles alone. This is (unfortunately) realistic, but very dissatisfying. Josh finds inspiration in his relationship with Reverend Dave and this relationship is intact at the end of the movie.

Amy and the Jerk: They are a non-spiritual, career-oritented couple. And as soon as he finds out that she has cancer, he dumps her. Amy’s cancer diagnosis and new single status lead her to realize (when questioned by the dcTalk dude who is now a Newsboys dude) that she has no hope.

Professor Radisson and Mina: As soon as Mina starts to stand up for herself (and her faith), the relationship implodes. Mina seeks comfort from Reverend Dave.

If you think about this movie from a relational standpoint, you will find that romantic relationships are incompatible with belief in God, unless you are a Robertson, in which case, your redneck awesomeness trumps your belief in God (at least in the romance department) and your marriage is impenetrable. Oh, if we could all be part of the Robertson clan….

As far as platonic relationships go, apparently only single white pastors get to have them. They get to (attempt to) go on vacation with their buddies. They text it up with young male college students. They counsel beautiful (but broken) women. They get to do relationship with all kinds of different people, and in the end, they pray with dying ex-athiest professors and they live happily ever after, knowing they’ve made a difference. But…. they are still (sadly) romantically unattached.

(On another note, Josh develops a friendship at the very end of the movie with the Chinese student from his class. So perhaps they are saying the only appropriate relationships between men are either with clergy or with someone from another culture?)

At any rate, the way relationships are portrayed in this movie is disturbing to me because I’ve noticed a strange trend in most of the Christian circles I’ve been part of, where romance just doesn’t happen. Let me describe briefly what I’ve noticed:

I went to a church for a while where there weren’t very many single men, but the few single men who were there made it clear that they were not “available.” I’m not sure what the reasons for this were — they were so “unavailable” that they wouldn’t even talk to me. And it wasn’t for lack of trying on my part.

I had a situation in this particular church where someone saw me speaking with a single young man twice after church. She asked a mutual male friend to tell this young man to stop talking to me because I “wasn’t ready for a relationship.”

I went to a church where the pastor made it his business who my friends were. His rule was that people who were involved in ministry (me) weren’t allowed to have friends of the opposite gender, unless all parties were involved in ministry, and then it was only appropriate if one or both of the people were married. Two single people were not allowed to spend time together unless it was chaperoned. There were specific rules stating that people involved in ministry were not allowed to date each other, but they also weren’t allowed to talk to anyone who wasn’t involved in ministry, except for very short, very generic conversations. So basically, there was no interaction between single people. Consequently, there were no sweet little romances going on at that church.

I had a group of friends who decided that I was “boy crazy” (and this was a problem) because I spoke with a male friend from church on the phone twice and mentioned it to them once. Shortly after talking with these friends, the male friend in question took me to Perkins to tell me that he wasn’t interested in me. Um? Ok? Did I say I thought you were? Can’t we be friends? I like having friends…. No? Well, this is awkward….

On a happier note, I got a free meal out of the deal. And I haven’t had a conversation with the person in question since.

His loss.

I had a male friend during that time that I only got to see or talk to when I was around the girls who accused me of being “boy crazy.” He told me I was hot once. And my entire life imploded. Literally. The girls in question just couldn’t handle it. Including myself. It was a lose-lose situation for me. If I had responded to it, I would have lost my entire life outside of him. I knew that, so I chose to not respond to it. It turned out that I lost it all anyway, because my “friends” couldn’t deal with the idea that my friend found me attractive.

My experience has been that in Christian circles, relationships between single men and single women are not encouraged because it could lead to romance and romance is not compatible with Christian belief.

I’d like to point out that God invented romance, and He said (back in the book of Genesis) that everything He invented is good. When did this change? And how? And why? And how do we get back to the idea that it is good?

Because….. I want to love God. But I want to love a husband and children and friends (of both genders) too. And I think that is the way God wants it to be.

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6 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Current Events

 

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6 responses to “God’s Not Dead: Thoughts on Christianity and Romance

  1. sherbears

    April 15, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I had forgotten about your blog! I have so many thoughts to share about what you said (but I skipped the movie, so maybe I should wait to say them until after I have seen the movie.)

     
    • marismuses

      April 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Sherry! Sounds like Sunday didn’t go as planned for lots of people! I want to hear your thoughts. Tonight. 5:30. Carcar’s house. We can talk about it over Passover, right after we finish the Haggadah. So excited I can hardly stand it. ❤

       
  2. culinaryperusings

    April 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    who says the pastor was single? Maybe the church secretary was his wife. I thought he was somebody’s dad. Also, what I got out of it in regards to the message about relationships was that you need to be with someone who will value you like Jesus does.
    About the gf/bf that broke up who were together for 6 years.- they had been together since 7 grade and knowing what I know of that time period in my life there probably wasn’t anything to test the relationship. She probably wasn’t sold out for Christ and didn’t grow in her relationship with God, whereas the boy did, and that is what brought about the conflict and breakup.

     
    • marismuses

      April 15, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      But… if she was so willing to dump him at the drop of a hat like she did, it makes sense that if they disagreed on something like where to go for dinner she should have dumped him then too. The relationship — if it’s anything like a real life relationship, would have been very up-and-down and honestly. Would Josh have put up with that? If he was that kind of person (which we don’t know), then that puts him in the Mina category, where he is finally learning to stick up for himself and guess what…. he gets dumped for it.

      Aw, Reverend Dave…. I doubt he was romantically attached because he was going on Vacay with a man and no discussion of a family that may need him while he is gone.

      I don’t think the film makers really intended for there to be a message about relationships. I think their message is that loving Jesus isn’t all peaches and cream. Unfortunately for single Christian young people, the part of life they chose to put on the altar was relationships. It’s kind of sad because we don’t need that kind of negativity when it comes to relationships. Relationships are hard enough without people (accidentally) making it look like it’s bad.

       
  3. Nancy Smith

    April 19, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    I agree that none of those churches or “Christian” environments really are Christian. Sorry to be judgmental but even more sorry that their beliefs about romance and eventually sex are so shame-based. I have to speak — even if judgmentally — about beliefs this strong that lead people so far astray. I only yesterday learned about quiverfull and Doug Phillips and Vision Forum Ministries. I don’t know your story — this is the only post I’ve read — so if I’m being out of place here, forgive me.

     
    • marismuses

      April 19, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for reading! You can check out my story by looking at the earliest posts on my blog — the ones beginning around August of 2012. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come again soon!

       

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