I really didn’t want to go but I had to. First of all, I’m not a big movie buff to begin with. It’s not that I don’t like movies but they tend to be long and I’ve sat through far too many boring ones. On top of that, biblical stories played out on the screen are often disappointing. Despite my inner reservations, I did go to see the movie Noah. This movie had created quite a stir among some people I know and although that alone would not have been enough to make me buy a ticket, I sensed the Lord wanted me to do a series on Noah in the church. So there we were, my wife and I, on my day off with the super sized box of popcorn sitting in my lap, watching Hollywood’s version of a great man of God.
I do understand that Hollywood is not interested in telling bible stories. Hollywood is interested in selling tickets. Lots of tickets. I am also aware that they are going to take some liberties with the story. Any story. I have seen that played out even in the biographies of famous people that I was very familiar with. This can be a hindrance to the unsuspecting people who may not have known the facts, but then again we should know better than to confuse a Warner Brothers production with history class.
With this in mind, my main concern in the telling of any bible story on screen is more in how they portray God. What image do they leave people with concerning the Lord. In what light is He seen? It’s a given that the story line will be embellished but I have no tolerance with anyone defaming the Lord’s character. Unfortunately, the God of the movie Noah is not the God of the Bible. My loving, gracious heavenly Father becomes a mean, cruel tyrant in this version of reality.
I did my part to take very careful notes during the playing of the movie. I thought the best way to do that would be to use my phone since I don’t see all that well in the dark. When something happened that I didn’t want to forget I quickly typed it into my smart phone. This turned out to be not such a great idea. We went on a weekday and there were a total of 9 people in the entire theater. Unbeknownst to me, 2 of them were sitting directly behind us. Not long into the movie the man taped my shoulder and said “you are being rude and insensitive.” Ouch! Resisting my desire to tell him my phone was really off and that I was not texting and, in fact, doing this for the good of mankind, Peggy and I grabbed our popcorn, drinks, M & M’s, candy bar, rice crispy treats, napkins and jackets and moved to the back row of the theater. Just for clarity, the popcorn was all Peggy’s!
As I left the theater that night I had to wonder why. Why not tell the story as is? I have had that thought many times before. The Scriptures are full of fascinating stories of real people filled with drama, suspense, intrigue, action and excitement. The Holy Spirit is the best story teller ever! Maybe someday somebody in Hollywood will learn that lesson. As for Noah, church is a far better place to learn about him than the Cinema. Truth is always more powerful than fiction. We’re telling the story just as it was written. No embellishments, I promise.