On one level, this week's "Crossroads" podcast (click here to tune that in) is about a very shallow, quickie feature that The Los Angeles Times published the other day about a fledgling ministry that is trying to help -- using a very expensive set of weekend seminars -- Christians break into the movie business.
Apparently, the editors who handled this story did not know that the Times had, in the past, actually done solid news features that talked about some of the complex issues linked to religious faith in Hollywood. They even quoted some of the academic and artistic leaders who have been doing this kind of work, as I kept stressing, for decades. It's like some editors in the Los Angeles Times newsroom are not that familiar with, well, Los Angeles.
Maybe there is a reason for that. Thus, on another level, this podcast focused on a problem -- a loss of institutional memory -- that is plaguing the news business right now as so many veteran journalists are being pushed out of newsrooms. Why is that? Well there is a major crisis in journalism, in case you haven't noticed, linked to falling ad revenues and the harsh reality that no one has discovered a solid Internet news business model that will support diverse newsrooms that retain experienced reporters and editors.
Then again, maybe there is a third level to this discussion. You see, there are quite a few people of faith in Hollywood and -- you may need to sit down -- they don't all agree with one another about lots of tough issues. Some of their programs even compete with one another, if you want to know the truth. They take different approaches. Really!
Can you imagine that? Not all Christians agree with one another when it comes time to wrestle with tough, complex issues linked to art, ministry, money, storytelling and many other realities in Hollywood. Should all movies be "evangelistic"? Should they all be "safe" and "clean"? Can Christians work in movies that are not "Christian"? Come to think of it, what does the adjective "Christian" mean when parked in front of the word "movie"?