Before I say anything, let me acknowledge that there’s a total irony in what I’m going to say in this post.

I woke up yesterday morning ticked, because I’ve heard a lot of Christians go on and on about how awful the movie The Golden Compass is.   I’m not a fan of the themes of the movie either, and I wouldn’t rush to see it, but I’m wondering why so many Christians feel a need to define themselves by what they are against. 

Some people are still convinced that the world ended when they took prayer out of the public schools.  I was a kid who remembers prayer in the public school system, and as far as I can tell, mumbling the Lord’s prayer on school day mornings never saved anybody.  Frankly, it used to embarrass me as a grade-school Christian because I felt like something we should offer to God voluntarily was being forced on everyone.  I felt like maybe because the church was doing such a poor job at being the church we expected the government to pick up the slack.

Sometimes I wonder if all our lobbying of governments and culture is really just a mask over how weak and anemic we might actually be as modern day Christians.  If the church loved…if the church was grace-filled….if the church was relevant…if the church was irresistible… would we need to slam governments, school boards and Hollywood nearly as much as we do?

Why should we expect people who are not Christians to be Christians?  Why should we expect an atheist to be "Christian" when he writes a screen play, or a school board made up of mostly non-believers to do the work of a the church?  Jesus spent zero percent of his time lobbying the government to change laws, and 100% of his time changing people’s lives personally.  Shouldn’t we be the same? 

I would so much rather that Christians were known for what we are for than what we are against. Instead of hating the world, why don’t we lay down our lives for the world in love? Do we honestly think Hollywood is a step closer to mass-conversion to Christianity because Christians told them they were wrong — again?

So there’s my irony…I guess I’m against Christians being against things.  Okay.  But I’d rather make my life about what I’m for.  I’m for love.  I’m for Jesus.  I’m for hope.  I’m for grace.  I’m for truth.  I’m for life.  I want Connexus to be about what we are for.

What do you think?


  1. Estera on October 30, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Hi, I think I saw this article just at the right time (12 years after, but nevermind 🙂 ). These days I was thinking the same: the Halloween is soon, and my Facebook feed is FULL of this kind of images „I’m a Christian, I don’t celebrate Halloween, share if you agree”. The funny thing is that NO ONE ELSE said anything about Halloween. Just Christians saying out loud this is bad, without noticing that they are talking more about this than non-Christians do. It honestly makes me laugh. Instead of showing that you’re against something, go outside and do something for God.
    P.S. And if Halloween gives me an opportunity to preach, I’ll use it. Why not.

  2. Trudy Harwood on January 9, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Your comments on 'ticked' are right on Carey. Praise God i can still go to watch a movie just for entertainment purposes. I so much value your opinion.
    Thanks for being there for us.

  3. Barbara Birch on December 19, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I told Rich I would never comment here BUT I was grateful for my Christian friends who did alert me to this movie and the books this movie is based on, just like I was grateful years ago to a friend who alerted me to Dungeons and Dragons.

  4. Rob on December 16, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Well done Carey really.I was listening to the call-in on Life this Thursday or Friday about the golden compass and weather or not we as Christians should go and see this film. All I could think about was that we as Christians in this Society of abundance are missing something; that we as Christians need to focus more on! That is how do we get the message to people about the Kingdom of god and help them to obtain the Gift of salvation that we are so privileged with. No offense to the callers or the Radio station but really has the message of Christ living in each one of us become so distant from our thoughts that a simple movie about some idea is more frustrating and fundamental to our thoughts than our neighbors and acquaintances not getting to know who the Lord is. We are missing the point there are every day atrocities that happen in our own cities and neighborhoods that should have us more concerned and motivated to promote Christ than a movie. We the grand defenders of God who really doesn't need any defending at all. He wants us to show others who He is so they in turn can claim Him as their own Lord how does boycotting, protesting or whining about a movie really accomplish that goal? I really don't want to offend any of my brothers and sisters in the Lord with what I have said I just want some people to realize that we are to Live Christ and by so doing affect a change in the Lives we interact with. Thanks Carey for leading us to change lives in Christ not opinions.

  5. Carey Nieuwhof on December 16, 2007 at 4:56 am

    Just made the decision in the last ten minutes…both campuses are wide open today. the weather's not bad at all.

    Nice to be for something!

  6. Carey Nieuwhof on December 16, 2007 at 4:18 am

    hey all. I'm totally with you. It's 4:13 a.m. Blizzard doesn't look like much, so I think we're going to do church today. I'm for gathering. I also get to talk about how God is for us, and how we get to be for others in relationship. And you know what? That's a great thing to cut through a bit of snow to talk about this morning.

    Actually, to be for things is so much more exciting than to rant against other things.

  7. Marilyn on December 15, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks Carey for your post! I totally agree with you – I've received so many of these "warnings" – what it does for some is truly increase publicity. I just had a conversation with a friend who shared her faith with someone – he stated that he did believe in a higher power, but would never walk into a church, because of all that they are against… let's start a new movement!!! Being disciples who stand for things… if we stood for everything Jesus called us to, we'd have enough to do to last a lifetime… Peace.

  8. Sarah on December 15, 2007 at 3:35 am

    I really like this post! Carey is right… I'm excited to have Connexus FOR, for love, truth, hope, life and Jesus!
    I have heard a lot of talk about this movie, and if you ask me, it is yet another DOOR into conversation about God, faith and life! Personally, I will likely see the movie to have an understanding of what it is about when my friends start talking about it… and hopefully be able to contribute a new insight 🙂

  9. AJ on December 14, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I'm with ya bro! How often are Christian known for what they are against? Christian are known as anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, anti-spongebob, etc. We should be known as loving, caring, accepting people who look out for the marginalised, the poor and the outcasts.
    Will I go see the Golden Compass? Probably not, but I won't be marching outside the theatre with a picket sign.
    "Hey hey ho ho, the Golden Compass has got to go!"

  10. Jeff on December 14, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Just to share a little "from the other side"…

    I think the big reason people were concerned about the movie is that it may lead children to read the books on which it is based – which are much more philosophically and theologically flawed. Sort of the "slippery slope" idea.

    That being said, you're right, Carey – if the church everywhere did its job, all of this would be a non-issue.

  11. Allen Forget on December 13, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Amen! I wonder if it occured to anyone that these movies like The Golden Compass or The DaVinci Code are simply ideas of fantasy or mystery? I am not suggesting by any means that we Christians are not intelligent so please don't take it that way.(I'd like to think that I have some sort of smarts) These are just movies though! Entertainment is what they are. I find them very entertaining myself. I find it interesting that some people have the talent to dream up interesting spins of things that really have no factual merit at all. I cannot do that very well. I am a fact based person. I shudder that anyone would not want people to see these movies for any other reason than the fact that they might not be that good. I saw The DaVinci Code and I loved the movie. I thought the twist and turns were great. I thought the case presented was interesting BUT these things were based on human analogies and perceptions and not based in Biblical fact.
    There must be some sort of perception that movies can alter the mind of throngs of people and maybe that is why these people (Christians) seem to give movies this sort of attention and feel the need to go into defence mode. If that were true then why didn't millions of people come running to churches all over the world after the movie The Passion of Christ? I guess movies don't have the sort of affect on people like some think they do. Last time I checked there was alot of music out there that is anti everything but I don't hear the uproar for that so much.
    The irony for me is after reading the book "Unchristian", which is a book based on FACT of how people view Christians, it is now very easy for me to see how this exact attitude is really digging a bigger hole for the Christians who want to undo those perceptions. These actions are actually clearly indicated in this study in the book.
    If you ask me whether you should see the movie I would probably look at you and realize that you are an individual human with your own mind, thoughts and interests and that you are capable of forming your own opinions about anything. I would recomend that you use that human ability and, if you desire to see it, then form your own opinion if this was good entertainment or not. This is not really my kind of movie so I will probably not see it because it is not my kind of movie and not for what some else is telling me.
    Frankly, like you Carey, I would much rather spend my time loving and caring for people and showing them my faith which speaks louder than any movie, any song or anything else for that matter. People need to fill up the space inside them that God has left in all of us. I suggest we fill that space up with Gods grace and Jesus love, It is far more satisfying then any 2 hour movie don't you think.

  12. Paul Morris on December 13, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    You are right on the mark Carey! It is too easy to condemn and put down the people who are living in this world and making mistakes. I happen to be one of those people, the condemned and the condemner. Please forgive me I plan to do better today. To be apart from or even distant from God is difficult and often destructive. I have done enough of that. Today I believe it’s all about true love, real love, God’s love and love expressed through God’s children into this world. Remember God used Jesus in the flesh to share this message of hope, truth, grace and new life. Often the word love has been stated to express an emotion or a feeling that in fact is not love at all. Lust for instance has often been misinterpreted for love. It has taken me most of my life to learn that lust is not love. In fact for many years I myself thought that lust was love I wonder who taught me that? Not God and not a follower of Jesus. I believe the earth was made by God and His imprint is found all over it. I am not going to hate that am I? He made it for us didn’t he? If we embrace all that is of this world for what it is and use it wisely we will draw those who are lost around us to us if we are reflecting the true spiritual nature of Christ which is the true light in this world. It is my understanding that we plan to do this at Connexus. After all we that follow Him are all apart of His body, right? As long as we present ourselves like a beautiful flower with sweet smelling perfume and deliver a genuine message of hope to all we meet, help and assist are we not putting into play in some small way the very love that will inspire those around us? Love is the only answer (God is love) and He died so that all of us who are willing to receive and practice His love can join Him in the kingdom of heaven now and forever. Jesus demonstrated real love and when we look closely at His revelation we soon discover that love is His “Action” in us into this world through the practice of the Word. The question is how do we learn to follow and practice this is our daily lives? How do we love when we have been taught not to love or even worse not shown what love is by the very ones who tell us they love us every day? My questions are many. Where do we start? In the church? In the home? At work? On holiday’s? How about in our families, our marriage’s? Surely it is not just with those we don’t know is it? No we need to love God first and everybody else. Grace and mercy to us all.

    Paul Morris

  13. Brian Mullins on December 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Man, thanks for getting that off my chest! I gently weeped when a friend invited me to join a Facebook group boycotting the film. It seems to me that if seeing the Golden Compass will turn my daughters into little athiests, I may have a deeper problem.

  14. Laurie McNair on December 13, 2007 at 11:21 am

    The irony here is that if Christians had not been so vocal about the "wrongness" of this movie it would not have gotten as much attention. This is free publicity and as a society we have shown time and time again that more controversy=more publicity=profits and that is what the investors are after–money. This ties in very well with Carey's message last Sunday!

    As a teenager I remember very well going out and buying a record just because it was banned. I didn't like the artist or their music but I was curious about why it was banned and a bit rebelious.

    In the end, people will make their own conclusions.

  15. Chris on December 13, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Good thoughts – so now you're known as the pastor who is against Christians who are against things! Haha! It's a vicious cycle 🙂

    I think if the movie had actually been any good then it might have had people talking alot more about it. But I linked a bunch of reviews from my blog and people pretty much panned it across the board –

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