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Showing a Movie

One of my favorite stories comes from a man who used to be in our church. He and his wife were close friends of our family, but they have now moved to another part of the country. We really miss their joyful presence.

When he was a youth worker many years ago in an ethnic community, he attended a church that had Scandinavian roots. Being a rather forward-looking and creative young man, he decided he would show the youth group a missionary film. We’re talking simple, safe, black-and-white religious-oriented movie. That film projector hadn’t been off an hour before a group of the leaders in the church called him in and asked him about what he had done. They asked, “Did you show the young people a film?” In all honesty he responded, “Well, yeah, I did.” “We don’t like that,” they replied. Without trying to be argumentative, the youth worker reasoned, “Well, I remember that at the last missionary conference, our church showed slides—”

One of the church officers put his hand up signaling him to cease talking. Then, in these words, he emphatically explained the conflict: “If it’s still, fine. If it moves, sin!” You can show slides, but when they start movin’, you’re gettin’ into sin.

C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, Word, 1990, pp. 160-161