The Gospel According to Hollywood  -     By: Greg Garrett
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The Gospel According to Hollywood

Westminster John Knox Press / 2007 / Paperback

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Product Description

Movies are perhaps the most influential art form of the last century. Garrett brilliantly teases out theological themes: God's existence (It's a Wonderful Life); providence (To Kill a Mockingbird); sin (Lord of the Rings); redemption (The Fisher King); justice (Glory); and more. 176 pages, softcover. Westminster/John Knox.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 176
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 0664230520
ISBN-13: 9780664230524
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

This book will thrill movie buffs and casual fans alike. In an engaging style, author Greg Garrett looks at the theological elements in dozens of classic and new classic Hollywood films, including a discussion about what the new openness to spirituality in the movies might mean for the future of American cinema and American religion.

Author Bio

Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He serves the Episcopal Church as Writer-in-Residence at the Seminary of the Southwest and as lay preacher at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including the critically-acclaimed novel Free Bird.

Publisher's Weekly

It is easy to see the religious imagery in movies like The Passion of the Christ and The Mission, but much more difficult to uncover it in mainstream Hollywood films. Garrett, professor of English at Baylor University and popular author, analyzes dozens of films and extracts their religious and spiritual themes. Rather than focus solely on contemporary films, Garrett digs into the past five decades and investigates important works that are often overlooked in similar books. He masterfully weaves threads of Christian history, doctrine and tradition into the chapters, utilizing these films as platforms from which to teach the reader. The chapter on peace and justice is especially powerful, as the author not only instructs but also advocates for working toward a more just society. Being a Christian means to put one's faith in action, and Garrett is able to elucidate how these movies can have the power to encourage some to live a more authentic Christian life. While he realizes that not all Christians will buy into his primary thesis-that movies can reveal something about spirituality and God's action in the world-he also understands that "many theologians have argued that nothing in creation is outside the scope of God." This is a bold and courageous belief, and kudos to Garrett for advancing it. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

David Crumm and ReadTheSpirit.com

A writer and media critic, Greg Garrett offers a thoughtful, 6-chapter overview of spiritual themes in popular movies. So, his book would be great for a discussion group.
His chapters include titles like, "The Church and the Christian: What Does It Mean to Be a Believer in Contemporary America?"
What's best about this book is that it's not limited in its scope to "religious movies" or even to films that would be the "usual suspects" for congregational study groups to view and discuss.
He talks about the controversial drama about prejudice, "Crash," for example. And movies like "Spiderman," "Philadelphia Story," "Pulp Fiction" and "Ground Hog Day." That lineup alone suggests the broad scope of Garrett's spiritual connections in this slim paperback.

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Greg Garrett
Located in: Austin, TX
Submitted: June 18, 2007

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm a writer, teacher, preacher, and conference and retreat leader. I teach full time at Baylor University, where I am Professor of English, and I am writer in residence at the Episcopal seminary in Austin, where I help future and present pastors and priests learn to communicate effectively. I recently completed an M.Div. and serve as a lay preacher at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin. I have two boys, Jake and Chandler, love making music, the outdoors, watching movies, and spending time with my family.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  A lot of books have been written on faith and film, too many of them with really superficial treatments of one or the other--or both. I wanted to take a serious theological look at the stories and characters in American film so that readers could discern the holy waiting in even some films they might dismiss.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  The Gospel according to Hollywood shows us what popular film can teach about God, sin, redemption, and the Church. I hope people will discover (or confirm) the importance of mining the culture in a discerning way for Gospel messages, and be exposed to important Christian thought and doctrine from the Church Fathers to the present.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  In writing this book, I was drawn into deep theological research--Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and many of the early Christian thinkers, and Paul Tillich, H. Richard Niebuhr, Rowan Williams, and other contemporary theologians flavored the work. I was most inspired by the films themselves, and found myself coming back over and over again to It's a Wonderful Life, Pulp Fiction, Schindler's List, and other movies.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  This book takes things I've been learning while writing The Gospel Reloaded (with Chris Seay) and Holy Superheroes and ties them all up in a nice package. This is a book I'm very proud of, and I felt God's inspiration as I worked on the challenging concepts and ideas to make them understandable to any reader.

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