Category: The Median

Why does Media Matter?

Media matters because people matter. Media shapes people . . . and people shape media.

All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables [stories]; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. —Matthew 13:34

At Mastermedia, we connect, we serve, and we pray . . . because we care. As believers whose lives are being shaped by the greatest redemptive love story—the love of Jesus Christ—we care about people. We care about their personal stories, and we care about the stories they are compelled to share.

Pray earnestly for industry professionals . . . and “Pray for God to infuse the mighty power of media with messages that uplift, inspire, and unify.” Media Leader Prayer Calendar.

Outtakes . . . Engaging Culture

Excerpts from the book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell D. Moore, American evangelical theologian, ethicist and preacher:
A Christianity that is without friction in the culture is a Christianity that dies. Such religion absorbs the ambient culture until it is indistinguishable from it, until, eventually, a culture asks what the point is of the whole thing.
A Christianity that is walled off from the culture around it is a Christianity that dies. The gospel we have received is a missionary gospel, one that must connect to those on the outside in order to have life.
Our call is to an engaged alienation, a Christianity that preserves the distinctiveness of our gospel while not retreating from our callings as neighbors, and friends, and citizens.
How do you engage with your culture? Let us know at feedback@mastermediaintl.org.

How Films Help Us Confront Our Core Beliefs

by Terry Botwick

People always act on what they truly believe, not what they say they believe.

The Bible is full of stories that are honest to the experiences of the people who lived them. Life can be messy, full of mystery and, if I am honest, leaves me with many more questions than answers. In that is the stuff of conflict, which is drama, which is story.

My fear is that what has now been defined as the “Christian market” may confuse a couple of important points.

The first is that all our energy should be about evangelism; film must be a tool for conversion. That leads to beginning the story with a superimposed agenda. It’s important to stir up questions that cause us, as humans, to wrestle with core beliefs. But, often, “Christian” films are answering questions nobody is asking.

The second is that the “culture war” is about morality, and it is easy to confuse wholesome with biblical. The Bible is “R” rated, and faith-related film is not at its core about wholesomeness. Stories must ring true. We should hold ourselves to standards of good taste, not be gratuitous or exploitive, but commit to the truth of our common experience, where we all wrestle with life and what it means to be human. Our morality reflects our values as a community and our values emanate from our core beliefs. Films help us face and confront our core beliefs.

I recently produced Captive with David Oyelowo and Kate Mara. It was based on a true story that took place in Atlanta in 2005, when Brian Nichols broke out of jail during his trial for a rape he claimed he did not do, killed four people, and took Ashley Smith hostage in her apartment for seven hours. Each was confronted with life and death, purpose and forgiveness. It was not squeaky-clean. It was authentic and rough, but in the end, quite powerful. It rang true to the struggle of a single mother fighting drug addiction and a killer who felt like life had victimized him. In that mutual brokenness, they found a connection, Ashley found redemption, and Brian decided to live.

My challenge and hope is that we all see movies and TV, laugh together, feel together, hope together, and wrestle with the questions of our common human experience.

Terry Botwick, CEO of 1019 Entertainment, is a producer and former television executive in leadership positions at networks like CBS and The Family Channel. Most recently, he produced “Captive,” starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo, distribution by Paramount Pictures.