Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Review: The Stories We Tell

As Americans we consume more popular entertainment through television and movies than any other culture. But do we ever take the time to stop and think about what these stories we are consuming are telling us?

That's the question that Mike Cosper seeks to answer in The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long For and Echo The Truth. In this brief volume, Cosper examines the themes that are seen in popular movies and television programs and explores the aspects of the Gospel that these stories often reflect.

Cosper is careful to point out that his discussions of various programs are not necessarily endorsements of those shows. Christians are often divided over what content is appropriate to watch. In reading the book, I found discussions of numerous movies and TV shows that I would not necessarily watch for one reason or another. But that doesn't take away from the main strength of the book which is to examine critically the story that is being told. There are messages within stories whether we realize it or not. That is where Cosper is trying to get us to look.

At the conclusion of the book, he also has a helpful word to those who aspire to be Christian filmmakers. The focus should be on the strength of the story rather than the mesage. Too often Christian film making suffers from a tendency to be too preachy trying to hit the audience over the head with the Gospel rather than focus on the quality of storytelling.

I found this book challenging me to think more deeply about the message in the stories that I watch. What glimpses of truth are they trying to reveal to us? Certainly if we look hard enough we can see that these shows do reveal something about ourselves and about the world we live in.

The Stories We Tell is an excellent resource that Christians would be wise to invest in. It will change the way you think about entertainment for the better.

Note: A copy of this book was provided to me by Crossway in exchange for this review. No other consideration was received in exchange for this review.

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