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Book Review: Jesus Goes to the Movies

I love movies. The first time I saw Star Wars…an epic memory. I watched so many movies as a teen, especially with my older sister. And some we would watch over and over again! My two sisters and I still often talk to each other in movie quotes, with my parents listening in bewilderment.

Going to the movies is something I love to do with students as well and I regularly use movies (a term that’s not without controversy by the way—more about this later) in my talks. But movies and Christians, that’s not always a happy combination. These are just a few reasons why I was happy to see a youth pastor write a sold book on movies: Jesus Goes to the Movies.

jesus goes to the moviesIn the first few chapters, author and youth pastor Joel Mayward teaches us to do exegesis on movies, in a similar way as we do with the Bible. It helps us to discern what a ‘good movie’ could look like—which is much more than just liking the story, or the action, or the special effects. I especially appreciated the chapter on worldview, in which he shows how movies communicate a specific worldview and how to recognize it.

Even when we love movies and take students to see them, it’s tough to engage in a more meaningful conversation afterwards than ‘Did you like it? Yeah, it was fine/great/okay’. This book not merely helps us take those conversations to a much deeper level, but also offers a framework to teach to students when they watch movies.

The second part of the book is a ‘movie guide’ for youth ministry, where he offers short descriptions of 50 movies, complete with discussion questions. Even the simple question ‘Where is God/Jesus in this movie’ could start a wonderful conversation!

There’s also bad news however. After reading Jesus Goes to the Movies, you’ll never watch The Princess Bride with the same, loving naiveté you did before. The book pretty much ruined that one for me—though spot on! read the book to find out what’s wrong with this beloved classic…

Sounds like a great book, right? It is. And you can order it now with a 10% discount by using this link and the code YLA. Simple as that!

p.s. Yes, that’s an affiliate link, which means I get a little something too when you buy the book. No harm done, right? Also: I was given this book for free in order for an honest review. If I hadn’t liked the book, I would have said so. Just so we’re clear 🙂
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