The Golden Compass as discipleship

Yes, that’s what I said. Not only is there nothing for Christians to be afraid of in The Golden Compass, the first movie based on Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, but there is a tremendous opportunity for Christ-followers to use something the avowed Athiest author intends for evil to sharpen their understanding of their beliefs as well as their ability to articulate them in words to which non-Christians can relate.

20071206_compass.jpgMy son and I went and saw the movie on opening night; we arrived only a few moments before the previews and had no trouble getting mid-level, center seats without climbing over anyone. The movie’s graphic renderings of scenery, fantasy machines and animals is breathtaking. The acting is good, especially for the child actors, but not likely to win awards for any of the adults. The screenplay gutted the book’s plot of much of the anti-religious content, leaving largely fight scenes and adventure transitions with little character development.

Though much of the plot to which there may have been legitimate objection (to the point of caution, not boycott) was removed, there remained a considerable number of references to Christian doctrinal and scriptural teachings regarding truth, the soul, authority (and it’s use), science as oppositional to faith, and discontent with institutional religion, among other themes. Believers watching this film will have difficulty missing these references, and they form a wonderful basis for spiritual conversation.

The Golden Compass isn’t a movie for everyone, that’s for certain. It can be, however, a place where culture and God intersect in a way that Christ-followers can take an opportunity to talk about their beliefs via the questions the film (and it’s surrounding publicity) raise.

Tim and I had the opportunity to collaborate on a set of discussion questions based on The Golden Compass, and they are YMX’s free resource download this week. Click here to download this resource.

3 Responses to “The Golden Compass as discipleship”

  1. Jason
    December 28, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    It’s always comforting to find other Christians with this perspective on controversial issues. I haven’t seen the movie yet, firstly because I haven’t had time, secondly because I am conflicted as to whether to financially support the views with my ticket.

    I don’t think it is necessary for us to avoid the content as Christians, but it is important that we, as parents, be familiar with the conversations that our children are likely to be exposed to, and the movies that they watch, so that we can prepare them.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Patti Gibbons
    December 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm #

    I completely agree about parental responsibility, Jason, and my own teenage children would love to tell how strict I have been about movies, books, tv and music in their childhood. I stand by the result, though, because they’ve learned to be critical thinkers and make insightful observations about life and faith.

    I appreciate your taking time to read and comment.


  1. Links: December 13, 2007 « Youth Hacks - December 13, 2007

    […] The Golden Compass as discipleship – I really like this idea.  I think the church would do much better to see the Golden Compass (and works like it) as opportunities to learn rather than opportunities to yell. […]

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