Sunday, May 15, 2011
At the Movies with Students Part 3
This is the third and final post on helping students think through movies, music and television. Messages from culture and media are more prominent today than ever before. Rarely do students unplug.
The word "amuse" is French and stems from the word "muse" which means "ponder" or "thought". The "a" negates thinking. So the word amuse basically means to be without thought or to simply put your brain in nuetral. We don't want students to simply be amused when they engage media. Our hope is they keep their thinking engaged as they interact with movies, television and music.
To help them better engage media there are seven questions we hope they will consider and utilize as they spend time watching or listening.
Here are the first 4...
1. Did I enjoy it. Why or Why not?
2. Does it teach anything about morality?
3. How does it portray authority?
4. Does it communicate anything about God?
You can check out the full posts at...
At the Movies with Students Part 1
At the Movies with Students Part 2
Now the final 3...
What is the "big point" in the movie, song or show?
Granted, not all media has a point but many times there is a theme, thought or philosophy that is highlighted. The other night I went to see "Thor". Not the greatest movie in the world, but I would say the strongest theme in the movie was that humility and teachability results in strength and wisdom. That's kind of a cool lesson to observe when perhaps going to watch what seems to be a thoughtless movie. Movies like "Crash", "No Strings Attached" and "The Kings Speech" all have strong central messages. It's fun and important to ask students, "what's that song actually about?" Same thing with movies and television. Most of the time they're not thinking about that because they've turned their brains off. We need to help them ask the right questions.
Can you find the "fingerprints of God"?
Most media is not directly about God but there are many examples that have echoes of his heart and plan. Again, "Thor". There are all kinds of references to sacrificial death and resurrection. Also, the strong theme of reconciliation with a father has God's fingerprints all over it.
The movie "127 Hours" is about a man who has an accident and has to take drastic measures to save his own life, but it's also about a person's independence and his admittance of his need for others. God made us communal and that truth comes out strong. I could go on but you get the drift. We need to help students sharpen their eyes and help them see that even people who don't now Jesus are made in the image of God and create media that reflects the deep longing of their heart which also often reflects the hand of God.
The final question,
What difference might this make in my life and the life of others?
Whether we like it or not, music, movies and television shape the lives of teens. Not every movie I've seen has impacted me, but many have. Some media opens the door for students to speak to other students about difficult issues. It's great when a show or song comes along that opens the door for conversation and reflection.
So there you have it. Some pretty simple questions to help them engage and avoid the temptation to simply be "amused". What are some questions I'm missing? If you serve students how do you help them fully engage and think through culture?