Is the expression of our faith authentic and believable?
In the last several years, I’ve been invited to consult with filmmakers, producers, and screenwriters. The latest was last week when an author/filmmaker wanted to tap into my experience as a detective. We talked about a variety of things like forensics, ballistics, and how a crime scene is processed. It was an enjoyable Zoom call.
We spoke about how Hollywood portrays police work. A lot of it is laughable fiction like overly aggressive actors portraying neurotic cops or cops constantly racking the slide on their pistol just before confronting a suspect. The neurotic cops would hopefully be washed out in their probation period. All the cops I knew had checked their weapons at the station before heading out on the street. I guess to the uninitiated an unhinged cop or an officer constantly racking the slide on their Glock 17 somehow adds to the cinematic experience but does little to inform the viewer of reality.
Last week, I shared with the person on the other end of the Zoom call that in proofing a book or examining a script, some things need to be written out or completely rewritten to produce a more credible representation of the plotline. The creators of realistic content need to make sure they don’t let the need for drama get in the way of reality.
I’ve got a list of things we Christians do as an expression of our faith that are unnecessary because they were never part of the original script of the Church. I won’t list them here because of the offense it might cause for those who innocently think these things should be part of the script of their faith. Some of these offensive issues are personal legalisms people adopt because they want to be part of a group. Others are manifestations or mannerisms used to indicate God is present when they are an attempt to prime the pump to gain an emotional response.
We need to protect the authenticity of our faith. That authenticity requires an examination of how our individual faith is played out. The world is watching the screening of our lives looking for things that don’t add up or make no sense when compared to the life of Jesus. He is the standard. Jesus lived a no-nonsense life, the real deal of how we should live in the world when others are watching.
Reading the Gospels and examining how the Lord lived among the people of His day will help us keep our faith authentic. We won’t have to add any unnecessary elements that will diminish our authenticity and lessen our impact on people who are looking for the real deal.
“I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted” (II Corinthians 11: 2-3).