What do you get when 2 Southern Baptist pastors seek to engage movies with the gospel? The Answer, our new podcast, Pop Culture Coram Deo. We’ve engaged 8 movies so far. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Tune In, acast, Player.FM, and other podcast platforms.
In Episode 1, we engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out with the gospel. Get Out was the 2nd highest grossing horror film of 2017, only behind Stephen King’s It, which was the highest grossing of all time (if you don’t consider inflation). You can watch Get Out on Amazon.
*Spoiler alerts follow in both the audio and the article.
Conscience Report/Know Your Heart Report
No nudity; some sexual innuendo; many cuss words; graphic violence.
For a more detailed conscience list, see the Plugged In review.
*The Questions that follow come from Ted Turnau’s approach to popular culture as detailed in his book Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective.
- What’s the movie about?
“Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parent’s for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined” (IMDB).
- Where am I? See the style and shape of the imaginary world.
Jordan Peele wants the black people in this movie to identify with black people, and he wants the white people to identify with the white people. The black people are good in this movie. The white people are bad in this movie. There are no good white people in this movie.
Since I am a white man, I cannot identify with Chris in this movie; Peele doesn’t want me to. But I do feel empathy for Chris (the main character) and Peele, since the way they experience the world is different than the way I experience the world. This movie helped me to enter a black man’s shoes through the camera lens of Peele.
However, I cannot identify with the white people in this movie either, even though I am seeking to be more self-aware to determine if I am being covetous, jealous, or if I am using others for selfish reasons.
- What’s good, true, and awesome here? Behold common grace.
Jordan Peele can tell a story. He kept me guessing the entire movie. He did well with helping his hearers understand discrimination. And he helped his hearers understand that valuing oneself too much or too little leads to discrimination against others.
Furthermore, Peele got it right that children often grow up to live out what they were taught by their parents. Parents need to take heed that they teach their children that all humans are of equal value regardless of race.
Moreover, Peele did a great job helping white audience members feel what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a black man in “a white man’s world.” The movie is full of uncomfortable racially discriminating scenes, showing a clear good and a clear evil: 1) Dean Armitage, Rose’s father, shows Chris a picture of his dad from the 1936 Olympics. He finished behind Jesse Owens. Chris comments that he shouldn’t have been disappointed finishing behind one of America’s all time greatest athletes. Armitage responds, “He almost got over it.” 2) Chris’ bicep is felt by one woman who references his strength, and asks Rose an inappropriate sexual question about black men. One lady states, “Black is in fashion.” All of this points to the sinister reality in the story concerning white people taking over black people’s bodies. 3) There is a white police encounter with Chris and Rose where the police officer asks for Chris’ identification for no apparent reason, other than him being black. Rose defends him.
- What’s distorted, evil, and false? How can I subvert idolatry?
Men and women can just stop discriminating. That’s the goal, but it’s not reality. If there is an answer for discrimination in this movie, it seems it is education–what families teach their children. The assumption seems to be, “If families would just teach their children better, things like this wouldn’t happen.”
But there is a heart issue that the movie does not diagnose; and does not offer a remedy for.
There is a change that is needed from outside of us; we need Someone greater than us to change us.
- How does the gospel apply?
The gospel provides true reconciliation. All mankind is made in God’s image. And God promises to remake those who repent and believe in Christ, regardless of race or gender, to be conformed to the image of Christ. So, we, the church, regardless of race or gender, are being conformed to an even greater image than Adam. We are being conformed to the perfect Man, God the Son Incarnate.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
The movie is correct that we stop discrimination by properly educating our children to be content with who they are and who everyone else is as well. But mere moral teaching cannot raise the dead. And discrimination, viewing our race or gender as superior to another, or coveting the so-called traits of other races that we think are superior to our own race, cannot be changed with mere education.
What this movie lacks are two things: 1) an answer concerning why we should believe discrimination is wrong, and 2) how someone’s heart is changed.
Why should we value ourselves and all races and genders the same? The answer is Genesis 1:26-28. We should value all humans equally because God made all races, male and female, in His image. God says all races are equal; we should agree with our Creator!
And how is someone’s heart changed? Through Christ alone (John 14:6)!
*Also see Jeff Wright’s excellent article, “Longing for the Kingdom in Jordan Peele’s Get Out”
My site. I’m married with 4 children, an SBC pastor, a TA for Dr. Kyle Claunch & a PhD candidate at SBTS. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Udemy. I host 2 podcasts: All Truth is God’s Truth (iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Tune In) & Pop Culture Coram Deo (iTunes, Stitcher, acast, Player.FM).