By Jake “The Movie Guy” O’Bannon
It’s Netflix Special Week! What I mean by that is that this week I have picked a movie that is currently on the Netflix marketplace available to watch at any time.
The movie I chose is called “Beware of Christians,” a documentary about a group of four college students who take a trip to Europe because they want to go somewhere and try to “figure everything out,” because they have found themselves “churched out.” I don’t know about you, but the premise alone resonated with me and my current state of affairs.
When I say four college guys, I mean four absolute college guys. There is one guy who does the frat snap three different times. Three times! That’s three too many! But the cool thing about these guys is that they really are just bros telling it like it is. For the most part, documentaries are filled with experts and people whose vocation deals with the subject of the film. This documentary was a shift from the norm, bringing together four regular guys who had more questions than they did answers.
Let’s run with that phrase “shift from the norm” for a bit, because that is essentially what the heart of the film is all about. There is a chance – and forgive me if I’m wrong – that today’s Christianity is a bit too clean. There is a chance that Christians are too often hiding the difficult, dirty stuff in our lives because it could be considered disgraceful to call themselves a Christian, but still be taking part in activity that does not fit the “definition” of Christianity. We don’t want to come off as hypocrites, do we?
That question is the reason why the bros made this film in the first place. Before the movie even starts, we see a quote from Brennan Manning that says, “The single greatest cause of atheism today is Christians we acknowledge Jesus with their lips and deny him by their lifestyle.” Christianity gets a bad name every day by people who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
Personally, this film has allowed me to discover a critical distinction between two different types of hypocrisy. There is one type that we all know; we’ll call it Type 1 (creative, I know). Type 1 is where Christians do the “right things” like going to church, avoiding drinking, wearing a smile at all times, and knowing the right words to say. The problem with this type is that we keep the tough stuff locked inside because we’re afraid of what might happen if we admit our faults. This type scares me because I know how destructive it can be to both the individual and to Christianity as a whole.
Then there is the second type, which we’ll call Type 2. As strange as it sounds, this is the good hypocrisy. And this is what the bros show in the documentary. Type 2 happens when we claim to be Christ followers, but we fall short. But the critical distinction here is that these Christians put their faults out in the open. They are not afraid of saying, “Yes I follow Christ, but I also fall short.” There is a greater sense of honesty and community when this materializes. When looking at those two options through the scope of non-Christians eyes, it should be obvious which one comes off as the more genuine example of Christ.
I think you all should check out this documentary. It is extremely relevant to our current situation as college students at a private Christian university. The truth is that we all fall short. The question becomes how do we handle it when we do?