Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Out on DVD today (1/20): Welcome to Inspiration

Synopsis: After their car breaks down, a freelance journalist (Britt George) and his wife (Whitney Goin) spend time in a small town where a simple street sweeper (Jackie Stewart)  imparts the “Seven Revelations of Irrefutable Success” as revealed in The Bible. Directed by Erick Henson and Ryan Ramos, both of whom co-wrote the script with Scott Brooks. Inspired by the book The Street Sweeper by Tim Enochs. The movie features performances from a diverse line-up of artists including Larry Gatlin,  Jason Crabb, Christy Sutherland,  Regina McCrary (The McCrary Sisters), Andrew Greer, Andrea Thomas, Kaitlyn King, Terri Sharp and a score by Mike Viola (That Thing You Do, Walk Hard).

Foundational verse of the Story (per the film’s website):

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that He has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.
– Deut. 29:29 NLT

Review: Those principles are timeless and great.  Who can argue with Biblical truths like “Seek and you shall find” and “It is better to give than to receive.” They definitely warrant reinforcement via good storytelling. And a movie in which the sophisticated-but-lost journalist sits down for a long and deep conversation with the lowly-but-wises street sweeper might have made for a good faith-driven take on My Dinner down with Andre.  Conversations about simple-yet-cosmic idea can be amazingly compelling.

But, unfortunately, the street sweeper and the journalist nearly disappear in a Crash-like collection of stories in which the seemingly-endless residents of the small town confront various crises while each receiving Biblically-based wisdom from those they happen across (i.e. a nurse, a prisoner in a jail or Larry Gatlin for some reason playing guitar in a dark alley).  Unfortunately, it all doesn’t come together in a way that is very interesting. As the Street Sweeper might agree, sometimes simpler is better.  And, BTW, I personally think The Street Sweeper would have made for a better film title.

Bottom line: In the end, Welcome to Inspiration offers a very good inspirational sermon wrapped up in a fairly dull movie.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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