The Amish

A couple nights ago I watched a fascinating PBS documentary on the Amish in America. While the filmmakers present a secular angle, the film gives insights into the Amish movement, raising issues with parallels in evangelical and Reformed circles: the crippling, distorting effects of legalism, what it means to be “in the world but not of it”, issues of parenting, engagement with media technology, church discipline, monastic tendencies, forgiveness, and more.

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Are You Captivated?

“Everywhere we go we are surrounded by screens. Have we entered a techno utopia or a virtual prison?” Captivated (available December 2011) is a thought provoking film reflecting the truth expressed by Paul’s Spirit inspired rebuttal of the common phrase of his day: “‘all things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12) Worth watching–as long as it doesn’t captivate you all the more!

[HT: Head Heart Hand]

‘The Last Train Home’

The Last Train Home is a documentary film following the life of a Chinese migrant worker family in the midst of the world’s largest human migration. The cinematography is stunning; the story told reveals the struggles, hopes and failures of a father and mother, and daughter and son caught up in the Chinese industrial revolution. The insight into contemporary Chinese life and culture are valuable for Western Christians, as is the window it creates into both the beauty and ugliness of China. At times a saddening reminder of life without Christ (Eph.2:1-3), the film is a stirring impetus to pray for the Zhang family, and the vast masses of humanity who have not yet heard the gospel, that they by grace would be transformed to join us in declaring:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph.2:4-7)

Pray for China, and for your own neighbours whose lives, though more comfortable, are just as trapped and futile in sin. The Last Train Home is available online free until October 27, 2011 at PBS POV. Trailer below. A caveat: the full documentary is not suitable for children/youth (some violence and brief immodesty); interested parents should preview it.