Soul Surfer Bikinis in Hawaii beach

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Bikini
Tags: , ,

Though much of the acting was mediocre, the entire rescue scene was very well done and was, in my opinion, the best part of the movies. I had to remind myself that Bethany was going to live.Again, two Scripture verses are mentioned in the movie. The first verse was quoted by the youth pastor before the attack, and the second verse is mentioned by Bethany’s father. While Bethany lay recovering in the hospital after the accident, she asks her father when she can surf again. He encourages her with Philippian. However, it worth mentioning that he quotes a Bible version that uses “Him” instead of “Christ.” He smiles at Bethany and says, “You can do all things through Him who gives you strength.” During her first attempt to compete after the accident, Bethany wipes out and has to be pulled to shore. She tells her father, “I can’t do this anymore.” She seems to be quitting surfing for good, as she give her surf boards away to some little girl who ask for her autograph. Her father is upset by her decision; however, her mother seems relieved, wanting Bethany to realize that there is more to life than surfing.Bethany winds up going on another mission trip with her youth groups. As she sees the terrible suffering of tsunami victims in Southeast Asia, she appear to begin to see beyond herself. One woman tearfully describes to Bethany what her village has been through and how she’s lost everything. Bethany gets choked up and walks away from the scene. Her youth pastor tells her, “Don’t be sorry for compassion – it can move you to do amazing things.”

It seems Bethany is beginning to understand that “surfing is not the most important thing in the world.” But, when she gets home, she decides to surf again; presumably, after reading letters from those who have been inspired by her example, she wants to inspire the handicapped, or those who have been through difficult trials. However, in the movie, the message seems to be if she can do it, so can they, rather than directing them to the Source of her strength, a relationship with Her Savior. At this point, if the movie was intended to show Bethany Christian faith, it would have been easy to make clear. Perhaps quoting another Bible verse would have been appropriate: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. While one could certainly get caught up in the emotional drama of this powerful story, we need to try to evaluate the “film” for what it is, which is simply a Hollywood movie “based on a true story.” Soul Surfer was certainly “inspiring,” in the same way other “tragedy to triumph” stories are inspiring (see Ice Castles); but, it was not the Christian faith-builder it’s been promoted to be.

While Soul Surfer pointed to family, kindness, and determination, it did not point to Jesus. There was no Gospel or redemptive message in the movies. For the record, I don’t think a movie has to be produced by Christian, or be about Christians, to glorify God. At the same time, I think it can be produced by Christians, even be about Christians, and still fail to glorify God. A secular movie review I read didn’t seem to even realize there wassupposed to be a “Christian message,” and acknowledged what so many Christian are failing to see, that Soul Surfer has the typical “athlete-overcomes-obstacle story line.” If the secular crowd doesn’t even notice or acknowledge a Christian message, then how exactly is Jesus getting the glory? Regardless of Bethany Hamilton’s true life and testimony, the movie depicts a determined young girl, with a supportive family and friends, who refuses to give up her dream of surfing. I saw only brief nods to Christianity, even during deeply emotional scenes. Except for Bethany’s faint cry for help from Jesus as she is losing blood and being raced to the hospital, no one ever prays or speak of Christ. The only other prayer that takes place in the movie is when the Hamilton family says grace before a meal. At the end of the movie, when asked by a reporter if she wished now that she had never gone surfing that day, I’m not sure what I expected Bethany to say. But with all the hype about the movie being a powerful Christian testimony, I guess I expected something distinctly…well, Christian. What Bethany said could have been said by a girl of any religion, “I can embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.” It seems, too often, Hollywood uses Christians for free marketing. If they can produce a movie that shows enough flesh to sell in the secular market, all they have to do convince the Christians that it has a godly message and we’ll find a way to excuse the immodesty

First, they will need a good moving story (we Christians like to cry…thinking like a movie promoter here). If they can find a story where someone does an amazing good deed, or an athlete (we love our sports too) becomes a hero by overcoming some huge obstacle especially if it’s true they have hit the jackpot. Now all they have to do is throw us a few bones to make it “Christian” enough for us to tell our friends and buy the tickets.In the case of Soul Surfer, all they needed were two verses, a female youth pastor, a worship song, and the flash of a Bible. Throw in a deeply moving (true) story about a sweet Christian girl who pulls herself up by her bootstraps (or bikini straps) and we’re hooked. I don’t believe that Scripture has to be used in a film in order for God to be glorified. I also don’t think a movie has to present the Gospel, talk about Jesus, or be about a Christian family. However, Christian groups seem to use the fact that Hollywood threw us a few bones in Soul Surfer as a reason for calling it a Christian film and using it as a ministry tool.

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