Oct 062010

I’ve always thought that one of the hallmarks of good art is that people take things from it that are true but go beyond the scope of what the creator intended. If people find things there that the painter, writer, sculptor or whatever never intentionally put into it, that’s a clue that it’s art and not just something cobbled together.

Get Low, as I linked to in my previous post, has turned out to be a true work of art. People are finding all kinds of things that Chris and I never even considered when we started writing it. Obviously, I can’t take credit for that. Those different things come from so many elements we had nothing to do with: the cinematography, acting, and music, plus some I’m probably forgetting, are things other people brought to the experience that we could have never imagined.

But one thing I am proud of is that the movie does address the original theme I wanted to tackle, with is guilt and forgiveness. If you click on the picture of the old poster, you’ll see that on the left side it says “Every secret dies somewhere.” There are other themes in the movie, some of which are intended and some of which are not, but it is about what I originally intended: a story of guilt and forgiveness.

Click for a larger image

Now that I’ve had ten years to think about it, I think the reason I wanted to tackle this topic is because guilt is something we all deal with but that has become taboo in our culture. We don’t know how to deal with it. That includes all churches except the traditional mainline ones. These usually open their worships with a “Confession and Forgiveness.” Everyone else avoids the topic as much as possible. Church experts will tell you that people don’t want to come to church and hear how bad they are. They don’t want to come to church and be confronted with things they have done wrong. Instead, they want to hear a positive message. Which is fine. I get that. I don’t want people to come to church and be beaten over the head with talk of their sin and how much they suck.

But when do we talk about guilt?

Because it’s there. People feel guilty about things they’ve done. Even in the era of moral relativity, there is still guilt and shame. There is still a need for forgiveness. Guilt and forgiveness is a core part of the human experience. that has not changed and will never changed. But we don’t know how to handle it anymore. We don’t know how to deal with it in public, we don’t know how to deal with it in private, and we don’t know how to deal with it in church. One of the reasons this movie touches is because it does something that is really hard to do: help people deal with their guilt without feeling bad about themselves. I’m glad for that. I’m glad that our little movie could help people deal with their own guilt and need for forgiveness.

Now if I can just figure out how to do it in church, I’ll be all set.