The invention of the arts, and other things which serve the common use and convenience of life, is a gift of God by no means to be despised, and a faculty worthy of commendation. John Calvin

Recently on Wednesday night our church has begun a new Family Night format called "Dinner and a Movie." We eat, and then we watch 15 or 20 minutes of a movie followed by discussion and Bible Study. The plan is to finish one movie over the course of Lent, then see if we want to repeat the experience. We do this as a single mixed-ages group: what those who get paid for being church consultants call "intergenerational approach to education." For those of you new to the blog, our congregation is Native American, mostly Comanche, Kiowa, and Ft. Sill Apache.

I am structuring the first part of the discussion around the "world-view" presented in the movie. William D. Romanowski, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College, suggests this approach in his book Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture. (Here is a brief review of this book I wrote for Perspectives. Scroll down to page 9.) If you've not read it, I recommend this book. Then we move to discussing the themes presented by the film. After discussion we move to a teaching Bible Study on one or more of the themes.

If you have never seen it, I suggest you rent the movie we are now watching: Smoke Signals. Both the writer, Sherman Alexie, and the director, Chris Eyre, are Native American: Eyre is Cheyenne-Arapaho, and Alexie is Spokane-Coeur d'Alene. The movie centers around two Indian young men, their relationship to their families and to each other, and to a tragedy early in their lives. Funny, poignant, insightful, true-to-life, definately worth a view.

The themes from the movie that we are doing Bible Study on are family, friendship, and forgiveness.