Focus on the Family says “Christianity Today Relishes Sexual Perversion.” Call That What It Is: A Lie.

Once a month, I talk with Kim Ketola about movies, faith, and culture on her “Along the Way” radio program. She runs a great show, and isn’t afraid to ask tough questions.

This week, Kim and I talked about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Bella. Then she asked me for my thoughts on the film Sex and the City. (Listen to the podcast here.) [2013 UPDATE: That podcast is currently offline. Well, it has been five years now.]

Since I haven’t seen it, I didn’t give Kim a review. (Unlike some of the other Christian film critics I know, I try to see a movie before I start talking about its strengths and weaknesses.) Frankly, from the clips I’ve seen of the popular television series that inspired the movie, I doubt that I would know how to appreciate it.

did, however, feel compelled to offer a response to the preposterous accusations that Ted Slater, a Focus on the Family blogger, fired at a colleague of mine who reviewed Sex and the City last week.

Please note: In my comments on Ketola’s program, and in this blog post, I am not speaking for Christianity Today. I’m not an employee of CT, after all — I’m a freelancer who contributes reviews from time to time. So this is my opinion, not the opinion of Christianity Today.

I’m writing this because I’m appalled at the rash judgmentalism and condemnation delivered by the many who ganged up on my colleague on that Focus website. It was like watching a bunch of professing Christians gather to stone one of their own in public. And the woman they targeted did nothing to deserve such condemnation. All she did was her job, and an honorable job at that…

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WHO IS THIS REVIEWER THAT INSPIRED SUCH AN ATTACK?

I’m talking about Camerin Courtney, the managing editor of Today’s Christian Woman, and a freelance film critic like me who contributes reviews to Christianity Today Movies.

I don’t always agree with Courtney’s reviews — show me two film critics that do agree all the time. But I do respect her perspective and her work, and I greatly appreciate her writing. It’s hard to find thoughtful critique of contemporary cinema. It’s even harder to find thoughtful critiques written by Christians. And good film reviews written by Christian women? Rare indeed. (If I’m missing them, show me where to look!)

Camerin Courtney’s a fine example of being “salt and light” in the cultural dialogue about art, entertainment, and lifestyle.

Here’s Courtney’s bio as it appears at Christianity Today Movies:

Perhaps because her parents got her name from a movie actor (screen star Cameron Mitchell) or because she grew up in a movie-loving family, Camerin—managing editor of Today’s Christian Woman magazine—has been a movie fan for as long as she can remember. In fact, one of her favorite amenities of her suburban Chicago apartment is the art-house theater two blocks away. A fan of indie and international flicks, Camerin’s friends accuse her of only watching movies with subtitles—to which she replies, “Nyet! Ce ne vrai pas.” She will admit that one of her favorite movie sub-genres is quirky international flicks with dancing, a la Strictly BallroomBilly Elliot, and Shall We Dance?

(Ahhh… all three of those titles bring back good memories.)

In Today’s Christian Woman, Courtney’s written on many subjects relevant to the lives of Christian women facing challenges in contemporary American society. She’s also written about the dangers of porn and the “hypersexualization” of our society. So she is certainly not unconcerned with these matters. Do a search on the Christianity Today site for “Camerin” and you will find more than 500 items, most of them featuring thoughtful articles and reviews by Courtney.

At CT Movies, she’s offered thoughtful interpretations and examinations of such films as Becoming JanePride and Prejudice, MadagascarWaitressThe Devil Wears PradaHairsprayThe Great DebatersThe Astronaut FarmerGod Grew Tired of UsNorth CountryThe Family StoneMemoirs of a GeishaMiss PotterWordplayand Vanity Fair.

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WHAT EXACTLY DID SHE DO?

When Courtney went to see Sex and the City, she was doing her job. Christianity Today Movies editor Mark Moring had assigned her to go and consider this big, worldly, blockbuster movie and then to report to us with her thoughts. After all, since it was sure to be wildly popular, it would be important for Christians to be able to find a reasonable, thoughtful examination. We would need to understand

  • why the show is so popular
  • what it appeals to in its vast female audience
  • what the movie celebrates
  • whether the movie was necessary
  • whether the movie was made with any excellence, or anything worthy of praise
  • whether it represents meaningful artistry or empty, reckless indulgence… or both.

Courtney turned in a mixed review of the film that met all of these needs. She gave it three out of four stars.

Other reviewers on CT’s team might have rated it a little differently, but that was Courtney’s decision. In her review, Courtney noted the film’s strengths and weaknesses. She guardedly noted that it contained meaningful observations. But she also dutifully noted the film’s excessive, gratuitous sex scenes, and warned viewers about them more than once. Good for her! She equipped viewers to make their own choice about whether to see this film or not.

In other words, she did her job well. It is not the role of the reviewer to give orders to moviegoers. It is a critic’s responsibility to offer a thoughtful interpretation and enough information to equip each moviegoer to make conscientious choices. We should hope that a Christian film critic would write with insight, authority, and a certain graciousness. God forbid that any Christian media critic develop a reputation as arrogant, sanctimonious, or condemning. We’re to speak the truth in love, after all.

Does a “three-star” rating translate into “RUSH OUT AND SEE IT”? No, not at all. For those of you slow with math… that’s like giving somebody a score of 75/100. That’s not a “recommendation,” really. It’s like saying, “Well, there’s more good than bad here,” but it also makes it clear that this movie won’t be showing up on a “Year’s Best” list.

Courtney chose not to give the film four stars. She knocked off a star, presumably because of the things she criticized in her review. Three stars is *not* an endorsement by Christianity Today International. It is one freelance reviewer’s general assessment of the overall quality of the film. As I have always understood it, three stars means “Most things were done fairly well.” It also means the movie is “somewhat flawed,” that it falls short of excellence in some way.

[TANGENT: The star-rating system is a rather ambiguous element of reviewing. The more films I review, the more frustrating this ritual becomes. I prefer not to use star-ratings at all, and in my current re-vamp of my review site, I'm eliminating them from my whole archive. There are several ratings I submitted to CT that I would change, now that I've seen those films again. But the stars are meant to indicate a level of artistic quality, not to tell readers what to do.]

Courtney’s measured praise for the film’s virtues focused on its admirable themes. “Yes,” she said, “materialism and hedonism abound. But so does a messy wrestling with complex new realities of life that I wish I saw more of in Christian circles.”

She did *not* praise the characters’ misbehavior, sexual or otherwise. Rather, she noted that its gratuitous sexual content is damaging to the film’s integrity, saying that it’s employed more for shock value than anything.

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FOLLOWING THE APOSTLE PAUL INTO THE CINEPLEX

At CT Movies, some of us freelancers who write reviews have considered what the Apostle Paul did on Mars Hill. He purposefully strode into an arena where crowds engaged in idol-worship and pagan rituals. By choosing to follow this example, and step into the secular arena that is so fraught with temptation and indulgence and idolatry, we risk being accused of moral compromise.

What did Paul do when he got there? He showed his familiarity with these pagan beliefs… he could even quote the pagan poets, showing his familiarity with them… and instead of shouting at the people in furious condemnation, he found a redemptive thread, an element of truth, an opportunity in the middle of so much worldliness. He found evidence that “eternity is written in our hearts” … even in the hearts of the unbelievers. And he highlighted that.

Did that mean that Paul condoned idolatry, or that he relished wickedness? Of course not.

My friend Dick Staub, author of Too Christan, Too Pagan and host of The Kindlings Muse, is fond of talking about the role of “the culturally-savvy Christian.” It takes integrity, character, and self-control to be “salt and light” within the dark, messy arenas of our society. It takes conscience, discipline, and vigilance. We are striving to “examine everything carefully” and “hold fast to what is good” (as it says we should in First Thessalonians).

I don’t believe that I am contaminated by seeing wickedness, just as I am not contaminated by a portrayal of evil behavior. If I’m wrong, then I cannot go to the corner pub like Jesus did, and sit among the “tax collectors and prostitutes” of my own society. Heck, even if I lock myself inside the house, evil is unavoidable. It’s at work within me.

Jesus said, “It is not what goes into a man that corrupts him, but what comes out…” (Mark 7). We need to watch our “diet” of what we take in, of course. That is part of being wise. But we also need people of vision and experience to help us learn discernment. Some folks need to stick with the safe, simple materials, while others, training themselves up in conscience and discernment, are ready to “chew on” the meatier, tougher, more complicated challenges of the world. Paul was equipped to walk among the idolators in the seuclar arena and employ secular storytelling to coax people toward the truth… the eternity residing in their very hearts. Peter thought that certain foods were unclean, but the angel revealed to him that he was free to dine upon anything, so long as he proceeded guided by conscience and strength.

I need to proceed with caution — a discipline I describe in Through a Screen Darkly – careful to test everything, “expose what is evil” (according to Ephesians 5:11), and “dwell” on what is “worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Not every Christian is ready to venture into R-rated films. And I must attend to my conscience, avoiding those that I don’t think I would be equipped to consider. But I’m grateful for others who do, because they enrich my life and teach me discernment.

Camerin Courtney — and Lisa Ann Cockrel, Carolyn Arends, and Frederica Matthewes-Green — are some of those women striving to sift popular art and entertainment for those nuggets of truth, and to expose what is evil. I applaud them.

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THE BIG LIE

So you can understand why I was stunned and horrified when Ted Slater at Focus on the Family’s website Boundless criticized Camerin Courtney and her review in an article last week. I don’t mind thoughtful criticism.

But this wasn’t just criticism. It was judgment. It was rash condemnation.

Here’s the headline:

CHRISTIANITY TODAY RELISHES SEXUAL PERVERSITY

Wow.

No, not “Christianity Today Film Critic Observes Some Redemptive Qualities of Sex and the City.” Not a question to draw readers to think things through, like “Is Christianity Today Condoning Sexually Explicit Material?” Rather, Slater begins by declaring that Christianity Today International — the organization of hundreds who dedicate themselves to the advance of God’s Kingdom, from David Neff to Philip Yancey, from those who monitor the mission field overseas to those who ponder literature in he pages of Books and Culture — doesn’t just approve of sinful sexual behavior… but actually relishes it.

rel-ish [rel-ish]

verb

1. to take pleasure in; like.

2. to make pleasing to the taste.

Slater’s headline says that the people at Christianity Today take pleasure in perverse sexual behavior.

But the headline is just the begin of the unjustified accusations. Ever since Slater’s rant was published, my mind has been reeling at how much he misunderstands, misinterprets, and exaggerates in his article. For example — CT’s movie reviewers do not, as Slater declares, “encourage constituents to immerse themselves in sexual perversion.” They instead encourage people to read consider their careful, conscientious descriptions, interpretations, and cautions, and then to go make up their own minds about which films to see.

Slater also claimed that Courtney says she “enjoys” “soft-porn.”

No. She said that she enjoyed the reunion of four characters. The only time she mentioned “soft-porn” was when she said that the television show’s substance elevated it above soft-porn.

The difference between what Courtney said and what Slater claims she said is so huge, it’s astonishing. In the movie, Chris North plays “Mr. Big.” In his commentary, Ted Slater plays “Mr. Big Fat Lie.”

This is nothing new, really. Slater’s insistence that Christianity Today “repent” because the reviewer pointed out the strengths of a worldly movie happens all the time. Christianity Today Movies editor Mark Moring gets letters like that every week for even bothering to run a site about movies at all. So do I, here at Looking Closer. Our whole team of reviewers have been informed that we’re going to hell, that we’ve sold out to the devil. The hate mail I get from Christians is different from the hate mail I get from secular readers… it’s meaner, and the writers have the audacity to claim to know where I will spend eternity, all because of a movie review. (Because I criticized some aspects of Titanic, a Christian married couple once wrote me to tell me I “would never experience true Christian love in [my] lifetime.”)

You know… the Bible has a few things to say about the evils of clairvoyance. And so many of these protesters claim to know that I am not saved, and that I have not read the Bible, when they’ve never even met met, well… I begin to wonder if they’ve read the Bible. But unlike them, I cannot make any claims to know. God hasn’t given me the authority to consign my fellow believers to hell. And if he’s given it to them, well, I must have missed the memo.

Some of Christian media’s loudest voices preoccupy themselves by drawing lines in the sand and saying, “If you say anything good about this movie, you’re against Christ.” The head of the Christian Film and Television Commission heard me highlight a redemptive theme in a Harry Potter movie, and responded on live radio by telling the world that I had “never read the Bible” and that I’ve been “blinded by the glitter of Hollywood.”

Just this week, Ted Baehr of Movieguide has written about Tropic Thunder, a film that appears to mercilessly mock the egomania of many Hollywood actors and the cliches of war movies. But Baehr declared that the movie is an attack on the U.S. military forces, and announced that “A ticket purchase for this movie is a vote AGAINST decency and morality.” He thus presumed to know good Christians from bad Christians by what movie they choose on the weekend. His stated goal is the elimination of all R-rated and much of the PG-13-rated content in films. And he says, “Progress is being made. Fewer R rated movies are being released. If that trend is to continue, however, you and your family must vote for the good. Therefore, go see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (June 20 and July 2).” (Interesting, since critics were alarmed that Prince Caspian, a book written for children, was turned into a film so violent that it deserved a PG-13 rating.)

To see this kind of arrogance and judgmentalism appear in a headline at Focus on the Family publication was especially saddening. I’ve met Focus’s reviewer Bob Smithouser, and corresponded with another Focus reviewer, Steven Isaac, and I’ve never known them to use their platform to declare that Christianity Today is an organization full of sexual perverts. But Focus has not published anything to suggest that there is any disapproval of Slater’s claim. That’s a shame. Slater’s headline is not just misleading… it is a false accusation of dismaying proportions. It’s about as far from Christ’s call for us to “speak the truth in love” as I can fathom. There’s no evidence for it whatsoever. It’s not truth. And it isn’t delivered with any kind of grace.

And if Slater’s sanctimony wasn’t dispiriting enough, the parade of self-righteousness and condemnation from Boundless readers that followed was even more dismaying. One message, written by someone named Amir Larijani, said:

If Courtney is the face of the thirtysomething single Christian woman, then that explains why the Christian men aren’t flocking to them.

Wow, again. First of all, who said Courtney was “the face of” any community at all? Courtney’s her own person. She just happens to be wise, experienced, and professional enough to be the editor of Today’s Christian Woman, and a fine writer at that.

It’s as though Courtney has been surrounded by people who are throwing stones. And yet, she’s committed no crime. Worse, her aggressors are attacking in Christ’s name.

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IF I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT A STORY THAT FEATURES A CRIMINAL, DOES THAT MEAN I APPROVE OF HIS CRIME?

Let’s apply Slater’s vocabulary to another popular blockbuster, just to see what happens.

What if I were to say that anybody who gives Braveheart a thumb’s up “RELISHES EXTRAMARITAL SEX”?

If I recall correctly, William Wallace, the hero of Braveheart, has extramarital sex with a sexy princess, and actually fathers an illegitimate child, while he is on his allegedly righteous quest to slay his enemies. And in the name of his dear departed wife, for crying out loud. The revelation of the princess’s pregnancy at the end is treated as a “Gotcha!” against the enemies. In other words, the inappropriate affair is portrayed as a good thing.

That film pops up in the Top 10 lists of Christians everywhere, because William Wallace’s courage inspires them. Is it fair to say that anybody who approves of Braveheart “relishes sex outside of marriage”?

Do those who give a thumb’s up to Prince Caspian “relish killing”?

Do those who give a thumb’s up to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “relish gluttony”?

When we watch the NBA Finals, we see commercials celebrating all manner of materialism and self-absorption. Heck, even during the game I see egomaniacs uttering profanity on the court, exhibiting unsportsmanlike conduct, and even breaking the rules when they can get away with it. If I invite a friend to watch the Finals with me, do I “relish profanity, temper tantrums, and cheating”?

I wonder if Ted Slater watched the NBA Finals.

Please don’t misunderstand… I’m not saying Sex and the City is comparable in quality to Braveheart. But it is entirely possible that some people do watch Braveheart because they enjoy watching bloodshed, or because they’re turned on by the sexy princess. But I doubt that it’s true of all who watch Braveheart. So of course it wouldn’t be fair to make such a severe declaration. It is possible to glean meaningful themes from films that have flaws, missteps, and portrayals of characters who make poor decisions. It happens all the time.

I strongly suspect that some people read the descriptions of sexual content in the reviews at Plugged In and Movieguide because they are *looking* for movies full of sexual content. Does that mean that the people who catalog those details relish those details? I’m not a mind-reader, but I doubt it.

For Ted Slater’s headline to be true, he’d have to be a mind-reader. And yet, I suspect that if he was a mind-reader, he’d realize that the minds behind Christianity Today do not relish sexual perversion.

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WHO ELSE SHOULD TED SLATER GO AFTER?

I haven’t seen Sex and the City, so I’m not equipped to defend or condemn the film. But Slater’s review of Christianity Today’s integrity is irresponsible, unfair, and easily dismantled. I’ve been composing a response to this all week, planning to catalog all of the wrong turns and inappropriate statements in that article. But since it was published, responses have been piling up everywhere, some of them very insightful.

Peter T. Chattaway has responded to Slater (insightfully, I might add) at his own blog.

David Sessions of Patrol Magazine came to Courtney’s defense with a forceful critique of Slater’s attack. Patrol is monitoring further discussion of this subject here.

Christ and Pop Culture noticed the rant too, and a reader identifying himself as “The Dane” responded, pointing out several places in which Slater was flat-out wrong in his reading of Courtney’s review.

And even before Slater’s commentary was posted, Christianity Today’s Mark Moring responded to dismayed readers with an editorial titled “You reviewed WHAT?” It was much more concise than my previous column “Have We Lost Our Minds?” (Feb 2007).

And Courtney’s not the only Christian woman who has taken the time to express their interest in the television series and the film. Sex and the City is a series that has captivated millions of women — yes, even Christian women — with its portrayals of the unhappiness that comes from poor choices, and desirability of a good marriage. Despite its flaws and indulgences, the show has addressed a lack, giving us female characters who boisterously voice questions about sex, values, and relationships that so many wrestle with in silence.

To my understanding, it’s not a perfect show. Far from it. But it explores territory that other shows do not explore, and that very little Christian entertainment currently explores (perhaps none). I’m not recommending it, but far be it from me to judge those who have found something meaningful in its muddy storytelling.

As Frederick Buechner reminds us, “The world speaks of the holy in the only language it knows, which is a worldly language.”

If Christianity Today needs to repent for finding some admirable themes in the movie, then so does Barbara Nicolosi, the Christian screenwriter who created ACT One: Training for Hollywood.

Nicolosi writes:

I thought it was fun. I went into it as someone who has enjoyed the sanitized version of the series on TBS. I thought about the movie, what I have always thought about the TV show: Sex and the City is not so much about sex as it is about female friendship. And more particularly, how female friendship allows women to survive their relationships with men.

I am also always fascinated by how episode after episode of the source material TV show here – and to a lesser extent the movie – seems to be a Genesis mystery play built around God, rubbing the Divine eyes in the Garden and grimly forecasting to the Woman, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will Lord it over you.” SATC is nothing if isn’t watching women desperately trying to obtain and then maintain the male focus.

Everybody is talking about rampant materialism in SATC as manifested by Carrie’s and her friends’ 800 or so costume changes (yes, I’m exaggerating, but it really seems like there are that many fashion moments in the movie). Really, this didn’t bother me, and in fact, this was one of the “cinema of attractions” elements that I really enjoyed in the film. The clothes in Sex and the City are like the CGI special effects of a planet getting nuked in a male-oriented action flick. I mean really, why are shots of a super dress with great accessories more ominously bad for the culture than a bunch of dudes whooping it up at a visually clever rendering of an 18 wheeler bursting into flames? From one standpoint, I was enjoying the fashion moments as just appreciation of the art form of women’s couture. I never felt that Carrie’s love of fashion was about showing up other women or making herself feel compete. She’s just really attracted to the beautiful as it presents in silk, satin and heels. Nothing wrong with that.

SATC is largely the stuff of female fantasy, although the real fantasy here is not about clothes and swinging in NYC. The fantasy strikes me much more as being the desire for the kind of friendship that the four main characters have in each other. Imagine if you could actually have three friends who would drop everything and just fly off with you to mourn in Mexico for a week or two. Despite her struggles, Carrie has something most of us want, a few caring somebodies that she can always call, who always accepts her no matter how big she screws up. That’s the fantasy behind the show’s success. And it isn’t an altogether bad thing for people to want for themselves.

And yes, there are two or three brief but certainly over the top, sexually graphic moments in this film. But they aren’t prolonged and I almost felt like they were there almost apologetically, like the audience didn’t leave the production company a lot of choice, seeing how the rep of the show is that it is unabashed about sex. I also don’t think they undermined the whole good of the film for its almost exclusively Gen X female audience, which needs to hear the producers’ underlying assertion here. Because, in the end, the explicit message of the film is a good one, and it is laid out very strongly and reinforced in all the sub-plots.

(Note the applause for the show in the responses to Barbara’s post.) … and my Christian friend Jen Zug, who offered her review earlier

What most struck me was the clear theme of forgiveness throughout the movie. Will Miranda forgive Steve? Will Carrie forgive Big? Will friends forgive one another? And it never seemed like the simple answer, because how does one climb out of a hole dug by complex relationships, bitterness, baggage, and backstory? What happens in the end may have been predictable, but the complicated middle is what gives the story maturity.

I respect where Carrie ends up. I respect Samantha’s decision. I respect the choice Miranda makes. I believe the movie’s ending because no one gets there without admitting her own responsibility in the chain of events, and no one gets there independently. Every decision made – every outcome – was because a friend told a truth that wasn’t easy to hear. In this, they spoke to the power of true community.

I don’t see this movie as a classic masterpiece, but it’s deeper than a lot of people give it credit for. Fans will appreciate the intimate, insider feeling of the private party – it plays as if made as a special gift just for us. As for everyone else, you may not catch all the subtle nuances, you may not get caught up in the emotional roller coaster ride of history repeating itself, but if you give it a chance you may find something in it that feels familiar.

As Believers we may disagree with many of the lifestyle choices of these characters, but if we allow ourselves to be blinded by what we disapprove of, we have no way of seeing through to the hearts of others and what they struggle with. When it comes to real life, to the people around us at our jobs or social circles, can we see past the actions and choices and find a way to identify with them – to love, encourage, challenge, and support?

Contemplating these questions is how I am able to love Sex and the Cityand Jesus, all at the same time.

… and the woman who blogs so thoughtfully (and anonymously) over at Stultiloquence

Well, count me among the Christians who relish sexual perversion — the “less conscientious adults” who don’t “take the call of Christ seriously” and listen to the “satanic counsel” and “slick words” of Christianity Today.

I watched, and liked, Sex and the City.

This means I should, according to Ted Slater’s astoundingly sanctimonious Boundless column, repent before I burn in a hellfire stoked with Carrie Bradshaw and all her Manolos. But I side with CT’s Camerin Courtney instead…

My friends and I — all intelligent, accomplished and absolutely neurotic women — watch that show when the evangelical subculture in which we live gets a bit too suffocating, when other Christians take for granted that our careers are only a way to mark time until marriage and motherhood, when true love waits (‚ÄùAnd wait. And waits.‚Äù), and yeah, when we crave the sight of Givenchy and Dior.

You see, some Christian women actually live in the twenty-first century and share the SATC women’s struggles. The show may not always give the right answers, but it doesn’t pretend to. And sometimes unlike the church, it always treats those struggles realistically, humorously, and hopefully.

[UPDATE: And now, WORLD Magazine has posted a non-condemning review. In fact, Camerin's CT Movies review includes stronger cautions about the graphic content! Will Focus on the Family's Ted Slater now demand that WORLD "repent"?]

I would hope to find conversations among humble, compassionate Christians who speak to one another with grace and truth… not the torch-bearing mob that attacked Courtney. Christ said we should speak the truth. He also said we should speak the truth in love. The headline “Christianity Today Relishes Sexual Perversion” is an example of neither truth nor love.

If you’re interested in a conversation where Christians are discussing the movie without damning each other to hellfire over their opinion of a new release (at least so far), check out the chat at ArtsandFaith. Some appreciate the film and some don’t, but they’re addressing one another with some measure of grace. So you’re invited to join the conversation.

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CONCLUSION

In closing…

I do respect Focus on the Family as an organization, and I know many good people who have worked there. It would be ludicrous of me to take Ted Slater’s headline and hold it up as typical of that whole organization. Ted Slater is just one blogger. While he uses his platform to take one movie review by one freelancer and slam a whole organization, I’m not even qualified to attack Ted Slater. I don’t know him, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to claim to know exactly what God thinks about all of this. It would be even more arrogant of me to go and deliver God’s judgment personally and publicly.

I’m writing this to highlight the falsity and impropriety of his words in this column. And to express sadness and dismay at the cruel sanctimony of many who posted comments there.

I want to believe that those who left such furious comments are my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I would hope that my brothers and sisters in Christ would do their best to support those of us who, trying to follow the examples of Christ and the Apostle Paul, sift the stuff of our society in search of what is excellent and worthy of praise. And I would hope that anyone worried about such reviews would come in a spirit of brotherhood and humility and seek to engage us in conversation, rather than raising a megaphone and unleashing condemnation.

In short, it should be obvious to anyone who reads Courtney’s review carefully that neither Christianity Today, nor Camerin Courtney, “relish sexual perversion.” It should be obvious that what Ted Slater says in his headline is a lie of spectacular proportions.

And Camerin, if you’re reading this, I’m tempted to quote a line from the U2 song “Acrobat.” But that would be taken too seriously, so instead, I’ll just say… “Carry on.”

P.S. I am not allowing comments on this post. There are plenty of other places to discuss opinions of Sex and the City. And I’m not interesting in inviting people to a public flogging of anybody or any organization. Lies, though… lies deserve to be erased.

 

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