“I think sometimes I encounter the Lord more in secular movies than in Christian ones,” I said to a friend at a party. He is a musical actor, a brilliant musician, etc.
He responded immediately: “That’s because they’re human.”
Whether or not a filmmaker or author is hidden in Christ, they likely have become acquainted with the human experience. Being able to artfully discuss that human experience is one thing that makes them good at their craft.
Don’t get me wrong. I am deeply grateful for Christian media. At the end of the year, most of my reading lists sport Christian authors. My Spotify most-listened-to songs? Exclusively worship and instrumental. Moreover, my books are overtly Christian (maybe I’ll write a blog post about that one day 😉 ).
With that said, there is value in “secular” stories. Here are four tips on how to read a “secular” book:
1. Read books prayerfully
Talk with the Lord about what you’re reading. “Jesus, what do You think of this story?” Does a character remind you of someone in real life? Pray for them! (The real person, that is).
2. Pay attention to your reactions
Does a particular scene move you? What chord does it strike in your heart? What desires does it evoke? What memories does it evoke? Again, talk to the Lord about those reactions.
3. Be willing to put a book down
Sometimes we’ll get checks in our spirits. We’ll know when a book isn’t edifying us. Even if the story is interesting, prioritize spiritual health. Entertainment isn’t worth our souls.
4. Look for redemption
Though you may be watching a movie having nothing to do with Christians, chances are there are still redemptive themes. Ariel’s father in The Little Mermaid must save her from her sin.
Similarly, Mando’s fierce love for the Kid parallels the Good Shepherd’s heart for the one. “He means more to me than you will ever know.” Insert all the gushing, crying-tears emojis 🙂
A final thought
As followers of Jesus, we don’t need to pressure ourselves to absorb secular content simply to be relevant.
When we do engage said content, however, let’s do it with Him.
Because everything is better with Him.
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Photo Credit: Photo by Perfecto Capucine