The American lexicon is ever-changing. In the old days,
Webster added a few new words every year based on some term
or expression that became popularized by a song lyric or a
slang term. Today, new words and phrases are popping up
weekly, and many of them are inspired by celebrity matchups.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were merged into Brangelina.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes became Tom-Kat.
Comedy Central talk show host, Steven Colbert (pronounced
cobare) created a new word that was actually voted Word of
the Year by the American Dialectic Society. Colbert’s newly
coined word “truthiness” refers to concepts
or facts one wishes to be true.
Three compound words that are widely used to describe
various types of wholesome movies, but lacking clear
definitions are, “faith-based,” “faith-friendly,” and
“family-friendly.” Distinguishing one category from another
is not easy, in that there are gray areas between them. I’ve
used movie titles to help define each category.
Faith-based entertainment is pretty clear-cut. It
refers to a movie, DVD or television program where the core
of the story is based on the religious faith or experience
of the main character(s). Drilling down a bit deeper, this
term faith-based almost always refers to the Christian
As we peel the onion of Christian entertainment we find
two subcategories. First, there are the traditional “come to
Jesus” movies which depict dramatic religious conversions by
the main characters. Billy Graham Films included altar calls
at the end of their stories.
“Facing the Giants,” the story of a high school football
team that found Christ was a breakthrough faith-based movie.
Produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia with a
budget of $100,000, this “little giant” garnered over $10
million at the box office. The DVD sales at Christian
retail stores were record-breaking.
Another grouping of Christian or faith-based films are
biographies of notable persons of faith, like “Mother
Teresa,” or “Amazing Grace: The Story of William
Wilberforce.” It includes movies about biblical heroes like
Moses in “the Ten Commandments or Mary and Joseph in “The
Faith-friendly movies are relatively recent
entries on the scene gaining in popularity among mainstream
audiences. These stories aren’t preachy, and they aren’t
necessarily about Christians as in faith-based movies. And
yet, they are different from family-friendly films in that
there must be a moral imperative at the core of the lead
characters’ makeup that influences his or her choices. And,
those choices must coincide with the beliefs of people of
faith in order to be accepted by that audience.
Two faith-friendly movies in 2007 dealt with the heated
issue of abortion versus carrying a baby to term. “Bella”
and “Juno” are both stories of out-of-wedlock, pregnant
young women who wrestle with whether to undergo an abortion
or keep their babies. Both girls come to the same ultimate
conclusion favoring life, but they take very different paths
once their babies are born.
“Evan Almighty” is another example of a faith-friendly
movie. It’s about a newly elected Senator who gets his
prayer to change the world answered in a most unusual and
personal way. Because of its clever style and humor, its
appeal went well beyond the Christian audience.
Family-friendly is a category that is almost an
extension of faith-friendly; meaning that people of faith
probably aren’t offended by the stories, even though they
aren’t necessarily faith-based. To me, family-friendly
movies range from values-oriented stories that have
inspiring messages to pure
A good example of an inspirational story is “Kit
Kittredge: An American Girl,” a must-see movie for the
entire family—yes, even American boys—opening nationwide on
July 2nd. This movie is especially poignant
today since it deals with life during the real
Depression. It helps illustrate why things now are pretty
good when contrasted with the deplorable conditions of
Current hit, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the
Crystal Skull” and soon to be released, “Journey to the
Center of the Earth” (filmed in spectacular 3-D) are two
films that emphasize high adventure, while not crossing the
line of decency. There is plenty of thrilling action in both
films, but with a lid on the amount of language, violence,
sexual innuendo, and immorality.
Whatever your taste in entertainment, there
is a wide range of movie experiences to choose from without
offending our values—from fun, entertaining escapes from
reality to stories that inspire us and our children to
reach for higher ideals. In the final
analysis, regardless of the category, the story’s the thing.
Now Showing in Theaters
Coming Soon to DVD
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encourage and promote the creation, production,
distribution and consumption of wholesome family
entertainment. We are supported primarily by donations
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