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 28 episode is “The Economy of Order,” and the code is “TGC4”.
For seven weeks, The Gospel Coalition is promoting 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 has continued to offer a coupon for each subsequent film in the seven-part series for the next six Mondays (July 14, July 21, July 28 – TODAY, 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 4: The Economy of Order
This week’s episode is about order … sort of. That’s what the title says. But Evan opens by saying he wants to talk about justice. When he and Steve talk about justice, they bring in Anthony Bradley, associate professor of theology at The King’s College in New York City, who says that it’s really about hospitality. True Christian hospitality — hospitality to the stranger, to the alien, to the orphan, to the widow … to those in need.
How is ORDER really about JUSTICE and justice really about HOSPITALITY? You’ll have to watch the episode to see, but Evan’s final guest, Dr. John Perkins, one of the founders of the Christian Community Development Association, explains it well: “Where do we start in justice? By believing that this creative God desires that we would bear His image in the world. So, how do we do justice? To see God’s image in this humanity and to serve this humanity. The problem we have, though, is the way we do our charity and the way we think of them. We approach them like we are going to give dignity to them. You don’t give dignity to people, you affirm it. Hospitality is saying, ‘You’re significant. I honor you. I love you. You are under my roof.’ Love and hospitality is the platform that makes justice, and any kind of justice available.”
The film does a great job of connecting love and justice and helping us to start thinking through what it really means to do justice. Again, it’s deep, challenging theology in a NOOMA-for-the-next-generation format. And, bonus – it also includes a marionette puppet show of my favorite scene of Les Mis, which brings me to tears every time I even think about it. But it only starts the conversation. We must continue it. We must ask ourselves … who are the widows and orphans and aliens of our day to whom God expects us to show hospitality? How does God expect us to respond, for example, to the World Vision children who need food and education or to the homeless on the streets of our own city, to the thousands of unaccompanied minors entering our country illegally or to the family member who has lost a job and is drowning in debt? What does it mean to show love and hospitality in a way that affirms the dignity of people in need and sees God’s image in them? That’s a huge question, but it isn’t just philosophical. It isn’t just something we talk about in small groups orSundayschool. Once we hear from the Lord, we must DO it. Micah doesn’t say to talk about justice, he says to DO justice. That is much, much harder.
Episode 3: ‘For the Life of the World’: Creative Service