Let’s say that my parents, my siblings, and I are at an event where I am to be the speaker for the evening. After being introduced, I ascend to the podium and say, “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my family for being here.” Unless I’m speaking at an event for families, this probably isn’t necessary, but it would be a kind gesture, wouldn’t it?
But let’s say I don’t do that. Instead, I walk up to the podium and say, “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my siblings for being here,” or “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my father and my sister Laura for being here,” without mentioning either my mother or other siblings. This would probably no longer be regarded as a kind gesture, at least not by those who know I have two parents and three siblings in the audience. Now the statement seems cruel, designed to hurt the family members left out. It would be better for me not to say anything at all about my family, or to generally thank them without naming them all, than it would be to name two and not the others.
This was my contention with the movie Wildflower, a low-budget Christian film about a girl struggling with mental illness who witnesses a crime. The movie was good in so many ways– good use of motif and imagery, good cast, great perspective on mental illness, good plot– nevertheless, the film failed in one respect. It was distinctly “Christian” and never mentioned the person or work of Jesus Christ.
There were two church event scenes in Wildflower, four overtly religious conversations, and one prayer. And Jesus was not mentioned in any of them, overtly or covertly. God was mentioned a lot. So were concepts like hope and faith. But not Jesus.
I’m not saying that Jesus has to be mentioned in order for a film to be Christian. I’m not saying that God has to be mentioned for a film to be Christian. But to quote Scripture, mention God, and show snippets of one sermon, one Bible study, one prayer, and a few “Christian” conversations without Christ? It seems that this is either a deliberate oversight on the part of the production team in an attempt to be more relatable to the non-Christian world or evidence that the writers and producers of the film themselves don’t know that Jesus is the very soul and center of our faith. In either case, this film showcases Christianity without Christ, a Christianity of which I want no part.
I’m not saying the movie was wholly bad. It challenged me on several levels. I recommend that you watch it. Watch it, and pray that God will raise up producers who are not ashamed of the explicit message of the cross.