It felt like the 2010s was part of a Renaissance of Christian movies that managed to build strong storytelling with the word of God.
Films such as Unplanned, Run The Race, Indivisible, and I Can Only Imagine created a strong portfolio for the Christian genre which changed the way the films were produced and received by audiences.
However, since the turn of the 2020s, the Christian film genre has lost a step due to inactivity related to the pandemic. ‘Jesus Revolution’ is the first big Christian film of the 2020s to get a major release and the results have been very mixed, to say the least.
When you’re working within the Christian genre messaging is a key portion of the film. It’s one thing to simply introduce people to Jesus Christ but it’s another thing to sell the word of God to them.
‘Jesus Revolution’ is a film about a group of 1960s hippies in California who caused a major Evangelical shift in the state and in the country during the Progressive sexual Revolution which was a revolt against the more conservative. the 1950s era.
The film is a somewhat biographic story of a respected Southern California pastor, Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer) who is dealing with falling church attendance in the rise of the hippie movement in the 1960s. Hippies who have taken the stance of anti-war and anti-traditionalist values.
Chuck encounters a Jesus-loving hippie named Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie) who offers an opportunity to reach out to the hippies and bring them closer to the church. The duo launches a successful movement to evangelize hippies and others in the middle of one of the biggest religious movements in American history.
Living in today’s world is the most hostile towards Christianity than at any point in American history, removing God from all ways of life has left people with a massive void urging them to seek truth and faith.
Being exposed to so much evil has led people to question what side they’re on. The problem with a film like the ‘Jesus Revolution’ is that the film intentionally shies away from the Christian elements of the story.
Whenever a character pulls out a bible, the film will cut away because it doesn’t want to be “too preachy” for secular audiences. For Christian audiences, the film omits some uncomfortable truths about who these people were.
The film omits Lonnie Frisbee’s History as a gay man which includes his demise at the hands of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s. The film asks the question: how can we expect to bring people to Christ if we don’t want to try to reach people on opposite sides of the spectrum?
Hobby Lobby has run a number of ads over the last couple of weeks stating that ‘Jesus Gets Us’ and the ad caters to a radical left-wing fan base in hopes that pandering to them will bring them closer to Christian values.
The Christian lobby has adopted the Republican model of opening its arms to hostile forces which means sacrificing the message for the sake of being accepted. Acceptance is a pillar but without questioning what we are accepting, the effort could be in vain.
The film has a strong sense of humanity and the film is enjoyable despite pulling focus with too many characters. ‘Jesus Revolution’ is a mixed bag of goods, depending on what stage of your journey to the faith you are on, it could be a great awakening or an empty gesture.
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