A Film Festival and a Church, Together

A Film Festival and a Church, Together February 28, 2014

There’s a lot of discussion in both the religious world and the film world about the often fractious relationship between the two. But last weekend, the New York Times reported on the well-respected True/False Film Festival . . . and the 4000-member Evangelical Presbyterian church that supports it, while letting it run mostly autonomously:

It was Mr. Cover who approached the festival with the notion of sponsorship; it wasn’t an outreach attempt by the secular programmers, which he openly says “don’t agree with us.” But when he and Mr. Wilson met for beers, they quickly found common interest in supporting the larger Columbia community as well as in supporting storytelling that can connect people in that community.

“That was the first point of kinship,” Mr. Wilson said. But still, he admitted he was suspicious. “Do they have a weird motive we can’t figure out?” he recalled thinking.

The 14-year-old church’s doctrine affirms biblical literalism and discipleship. Mr. Cover preaches what filmmakers might see as a three-act narrative in the Bible: first the story of creation, then the fall of humanity and finally, the tragedy of wanting things rather than God. Talk to Mr. Cover’s parishioners, and you’ll hear his notion repeated verbatim.

Mr. Cover articulates an evangelical message familiar to this generation’s culturally savvy churchgoers. “We don’t want to be behind a castle wall, have a moat, go out by twos to witness,” he said. “We wanted to enter the culture as people who found ways to tell the story.”

Read the entire (fascinating) article here.


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