Faith in Film, Book of Eli

So we didn't get to cover the movie last night since I was traveling, but I promise we'll get to the movie this week. And I hope it will be a lively conversation.

Last week I talked about the reasons why I think that some Christians went too far in their praise of "Book of Eli." But there are some things I like about the film. And that's the relationship between Eli and Solara, and the way he tries to impart faith to her. I think that's a credit to Denzel Washington, who had a hand in helping craft the screen story in the finished product.

I thought Eli give Solara a pretty good explanation of the Bible, if you had to sum up the message it has for how we are to model God’s love in our lives. One of the things I like about this film is that Eli models faith in the way he approaches life, and that model makes an impact on those in his sphere. The aspect of this film that I like the best is the way it models what it means to be a Christian. I do not appreciate the graphic level of violence in this film and the grim and grungy look of the world depicted. I think that was a big turn off for me when I first saw this movie. But, having watched this film many times since, I think that I might have been a little too harsh regarding that depiction. It is fair to say that our Bible has some R-rated levels of violence, much of it done in the course of accomplishing God’s will. Though I don’t know that the filmmakers are using that argument or have a completely noble intent in mind in making this film, if you consider that much of the violence committed by Eli is a result of trying to accomplish his mission and preserve the word of God, it is more understandable.

I actually reflected on the film a little differently after listening to Pastor Tim's sermon on Sunday. He was preaching on a message from Paul out of Acts, and Paul is a person that I think of a lot when we look at Eli. One of the confessions Paul makes in the passage is that he got caught up in the mission of religion, which led him to persecute Christians, but only later realized the error in his ways when he embraced the message of the Gospel. We see a similar statement made by Eli in talking about the meaning of Scripture.

Later in the film, too, Eli quotes Paul in his prayer, and his relationship with Solara becomes a sort of Paul-Timothy metaphor. That is something I didn't fully appreciate on a first watch, but something I've pulled out as I've dug deeper into the film.

"Book of Eli" is a complex story, and a complex film to consider. There are beautiful moments, and moments that are less beautiful. But it's certainly a story that makes you think and ask questions.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this movie work for you? Why or why not?
2. What is the path that God is leading you down in your life?
3. What does it mean to walk by faith?
4. Why is it important to be in the Word every day?


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