Friday, August 3, 2012

Making Secular Movies Holy

I'm giving a presentation tomorrow on using technology in religious education classrooms.  One thing that I wanted to emphasize is using secular media, but making it holy.  For example, here is some info from a handout on using secular movies:
There are lots of great Christian movies out there, but we all know that they are just a small fraction of the movies available on the market.  Instead of ignoring secular cinema contributions, think about finding ways to creatively use those movies in your classroom.  You might find a great movie with an underlying Biblical theme, or one that demonstrates the opposite of a virtue you are trying to teach.  Use a whole movie with thorough discussion, or watch a carefully chosen scene just to illustrate a specific point.  When using a scene, possibilities are endless, giving you the option to even show movies you would not normally use with your particular audience.  Below is a quick list of a few secular movie ideas with topics/themes that they could illustrate.  Keep in mind that these movies are not appropriate for all ages, and the movies as a whole might not exemplify Catholic values.  Be creative in finding ways to incorporate media into your lessons, helping kids to open their eyes to finding God in everything around them.

I like to do things like this, especially with my youth group.  Let's be honest- there just aren't enough good Christian movies out there.  Plus, kids are not watching just Christian movies, so let's teach them to find Christ (or un-Christ-like examples) in the media around them.

The latest example I used with kids was August Rush.  

Christ is "nowhere" to be found in this movie, but it is full of virtue and teachable moments.  After watching the whole movie, discussions could be had on choosing life, adoption, family, making decisions, God having a plan, and good things coming from bad.  Or, a scene or two could be used to illustrate one of those points.

Here is a sheet with a few examples to get you thinking about how to use movies to teach about the faith:

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