How to find God
in secular movies

The dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral wants to take people to the movies for Lent.

What the Rev. Ann McElligott has planned is not viewing "The Passion of the Christ," which opened this week.

"Finding Faith at the Movies" will explore the theology and spiritual expression to be found in several secular films. The program will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday with a look at "A River Runs Through It" and how memories are vehicles of grace.

"We can wear theological eyeglasses when we go to any movie," said McElligott. "We can reflect on what is this saying about our human condition, about how we understand God, how we treat other people. We are taught to love God, love our self, love our neighbors.

"I think our task as a church is to teach people to look at our culture and say, Where is God in this? We can forget the importance of visual imagery as expression of theological concepts. Right now, the most prevalent form is film -- why not use that as a starting place?"

McElligott and Jenny Wallace, cathedral director of Christian formation, will use the book "Finding Faith at the Movies," by Barbara Mraz, as a guide.

"What is brilliant is that she has edited the significant stuff," Wallace said. Clips of each movie will be interspersed with discussion. "So many of us love to go to the movies and talk about the movies. We often miss the chance for discussion in a larger context. The idea is to use commercial movies as a vehicle to discuss our faith."

Wallace said the Lenten series is appropriate for teenagers as well as adults. Each evening program will begin with a soup supper in the Von Holt Room. It is free, but reservations are requested to plan the food service. Call 524-2822, ext. 215.

The program will continue with the following:

March 9 -- "To Kill a Mockingbird" looks at how empathy is at the heart of Christian faith.

March 16 -- "Amadeus" explores envy and why jealousy is a sin.

March 23 -- "Shadowlands" looks at suffering and how people understand pain.

March 30 -- "Saving Private Ryan" focuses on sacrifice and what we owe one another.

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