So should Christian sweethearts avoid theaters altogether?
One filmmaker is giving followers of Christ — not Christian Grey — a chance to say “no” to pop culture’s lies about fantasy and sex.
But we all know how that one turned out.
The film's producer, Dave DeBorde is chair of the College of Entertainment and the Arts at Lipscomb University, a university associated with Churches of Christ. (Read more about that in this news release from Lipscomb.)
“My goal was to make a film where virtue is heroic,” Swartzwelder said.
And he has succeeded. In the climactic scene, viewers cheer for Swartzwelder’s character, Clay Walsh, to keep his promise to himself and his future wife. That promise? To not be alone with a woman until he is married to her.
Related: 'Christian' Grey? Faith-based bloggers speak out about '50 Shades' film. Read Laura Akins' "Views." Clay is a bit of antihero: He’s quiet when we wish he would speak. He wears jeans and hoodies when we would love to see him in a suit. He abstains from flirting, even when a beautiful woman desperately tries to catch his eye and coax a smile.
Like King David or the apostle Paul, Clay is not unstained from the world. In college, he started a profitable filmmaking business making lewd videos of partying college girls (think “Girls Gone Wild”). Clay has to face the fact that he has not yet forgiven himself for his promiscuity, lust and greed during college. He can quote Scripture (which his unbeliever friends sometimes tire of), but doesn’t often attend church.
The woman with whom Clay finds himself falling in love also has a past and doesn’t seem to have any faith but is certainly open to something more clean-cut than her follow-your-heart past. Played by Elizabeth Roberts, whom "Days of our Lives" fans might recognize, Amber Hewson moves into Clay’s upstairs apartment — a tricky setup if your stove stops working and your landlord repairman will not let himself be alone with a woman.
But adult dating in contemporary culture is far from Clay’s idea of courtship. Rather than this being inhibitive to the two’s budding romance, it frees them both to be creative. Dates are spent in a kind of extended interview for marriage. How well can Amber cut up a baby’s food? Can Clay chop wood? What do they both like to read? A marriage-counseling book they obtain from a minister guides much of their conversation.
"Old Fashioned" promotes itself as an alternative to "50 Shades of Grey." (VIA FACEBOOK)
But, a lot of the time, neither am I.
I like what Swartzwelder said: “We’re not in the church pointing a finger at the world because there’s brokenness in the church as well.” That’s the message of “Old Fashioned.” Being pure is hard, and no one succeeds all the time.
Will Clay and Amber succeed? That’s a question I encourage you to find out for yourself.
“Old Fashioned” opens in theaters today.