Editor’s Note: To get the free 72-hour rental, visit The Gospel Coalition, download the current episode and enter the code provided. The July 14 episode is “The Economy of Love,” and the code is “TGC2”.
Last week, The Gospel Coalition promoted a new short film series from the Acton Institute called “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.” On Monday, July 7, The Gospel Coalition offered a coupon to watch the first film in the series for free (normal rental price is $1.99 for a three-day rental) and will continue to offer a coupon for each subsequent film in the seven-part series for the next six Mondays (July 14 – TODAY, July 21, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 18).
“For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles” is a kinda quirky, extremely hipster, theologically rich, artistically beautiful documentary which primarily asks the question, “What is our salvation for?” The series should especially appeal to the millennial generation in its format, look, and quality. If you’re a millennial Christian (or younger), watch it. Even if you miss the “free Mondays” this summer and have to fork over the buck ninety-nine, watch it. It’s worth it. If you’re a bit older and not in touch with the millennial generation, it’s still definitely worth watching for what the series says, just be warned, you might think the format’s a little goofy. Like I said, it’s extremely hipster.
Episode 2: The Economy of Love
Evan opens this episode by interviewing several couples of different ages and asks them, “If you look back on your marriage, could you have had any idea what you were saying yes to?” The answer was unanimously “no.” He then shares statistics that show that rates of divorce and premarital sex aren’t really much different from the rates among unbelievers.
Then, he and Amy Sherman, co-director of the Program on Faith and Generosity at Baylor University, observe that the majority of the families in the Bible aren’t the best examples of a godly family either. Yet, Amy says, “The deepest truths about love and love and family are in the Bible, we just have to dig deeper.”
The truths that they discover are beautiful (and beautifully shot in the film) – that marriage and family exist for the life of the world. They show that every family, just through the way that they live and love the world, can serve as a missionary, sharing God’s love with the world. Evan says, “that kind of love is so often unromantic, so everyday, so humble. That is the love of God, the love that looks outside itself to bless others rather than itself.
The film does a great job of presenting a missional philosophy view of family in a way that’s easy to understand and especially appealing to millennial hipsters. Just like last week, it’s Tim Keller theology in a NOOMA-for-the-next-generation format.
And yet … it left a lot of questions unanswered. I almost felt that it dodged them. As much as I agree that our marriage and families should be for the world, I don’t think that completely solves the very problems Evan brought up in the opening sequence – the rates of divorce and pre-martial sex among Christians, the way Christians have dealt with the culture wars surrounding same-sex relationships … these are very real problems, and they need to be addressed head on. I like the philosophy; I just want to see how it applies to all of those issues and concerns. Maybe that’s what our small group discussion times after watching the video will do.
Kathy Larson is the director of Christian Education and Creative Arts at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C.