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St. Luke Movie Club Report Annual Meeting January 2005

By Ken Stevens

Throughout 2003, the St. Luke Movie club continued its discussion primarily around "secular" movies that provided a forum for inspirational and thought-provoking discussion focused around Christian mores and values. A monthly gathering of interested parishioners (with the exception of summer months), the group discussed contemporary movies in the context of Orthodox Christian meaning and values. The discussions are always led by Fr. Andrew Harrison, a self-avowed movie enthusiast. Throughout the year, we held most movie club meetings in private homes, with an average attendance of 6-8 persons/session.

The schedule in 2004 included:

  • The first meeting of 2004 was held on Sunday, March 8, 36 people attended The Passion of the Christ at Lowe's Cinema in Woodridge. Seven attended the Movie Club discussion afterwards at the Stevens' house. Father led a spirited, objective discussion. He shared 4 editorial points of view --- 2 pro and 2 con. One of the "con" was Fr. Hopko, but frankly, it was not very thorough or convincing. It was also mentioned that other Orthodox theologians (e.g. Bishop Philip Saliba, Antiochian Metropolitan) praised the movie. The consensus of our small group was largely positive. The movie was about the Passion and Christ's last 12 hours on earth.....not the Resurrection...so it was logical why the resurrection theme was not highly apparent, except for a hopeful scene at the end. The group thought that it was beautifully directed....mostly accurate relative to Orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures. Most of us liked the symbolism and metaphors Gibson used. In particular, his metaphors for Satan were very creative. It was very raw and graphic, but we decided the inordinate torture that Christ endured in the film was also symbolic of taking on the sins for all mankind. Whereas most human beings could not withstand the scourging, Christ was dying and paying the price for all of mankind's sins. It was very gruesome and very emotional....but I believe, moving and appropriate for Gibson's vision. This is a movie that will stimulate enormous controversy and discussion, and that's the good part. It gets people talking about Christ, and Christ-centered values. It gets us away from secularism and relativism. We need it. The world needs it. As Christians, we should embrace the fact that there is finally a Hollywood success about Christ out there. It raises awareness. We should celebrate that fact, while putting our opinions forward.
  • Movie Club featured "Shine" on Sunday May 23rd at the church. It was followed by Restaurant Rovers at Al Ameer Restaurant, 11136 S. Harlem in Worth.
  • As mentioned above, the club did not meet during the summer months.
  • October 31st featured "Monsoon Wedding."
  • November 21st featured "Ordinary People."
  • The scheduled December movie, "Phantom of the Opera," will be viewed January 2005 as an on-site preview (new release). It will be followed by discussion at a nearby restaurant. 2005

    We plan to continue to select movies that are edifying in content and message. However, we will not only choose secular movies with a message, but also some religious movie offerings that come highly recommended from Christian critics. The new movie list for 2005 will be developed and reviewed/approved by Fr. Andrew Harrison and distributed to the parish by end of January, 2005.