I usually find something within those movies that most Christians either ignore, or pass over because they are deeply offended by something else in the movie. This movie was no different for me.
The main character (played by Julia Roberts) is disillusioned with life and finds herself in a place where she wants to get out and get away. Near the beginning of the movie, we see a late night scene where Julia begs God to reveal himself and to show her what to do. She then goes back to bed, tells her husband she wants a divorce and begins a journey of discovery to find God and find herself.
She dates a young man in the city, ends up living with him for a time but quickly becomes disenchanted with him as well. She always wanted to travel, so she decides to go away for a year to 3 different places: Italy to enjoy life and food again; India to find a Hindu Guru who can teach her about God and Bali where she met a medicine man earlier in the movie who told her to come back so he can teach her his tricks.
Obviously, there are no Christian themes laced in the movie and there are tons of Eastern Spiritual themes, which sadly do put Hinduism and witch doctoring in a good, almost alluring light. With that said however, there is something deeper to uncover: the search.
I'm afraid that too many Christians write people off like the character played by Julia Roberts as demonic, ungodly and pagan yet forget that that person is searching for God Himself. We walk down the street and stick up our "godly" noses to the detriment of those seeking God. What if a Christian would have crossed her path during this search? How would they have reacted?
This woman was DESPERATE for God as many people like her are, yet we neglect to share the truth of Christ because we write these seekers off, or worse don't even care about their journey. It's a sad reality that we Christians have a bad name and over the years, we've earned it. We have the true message and people desperately need to hear it, but we reject and neglect those who need Him.
I was amazed at the main characters desperation and sad at the conclusions she ended coming up with...because they didn't have Jesus in the equation at all. She ended up with the idea that God resides in her as her and missed that God resides in her to transform her and that He desires that indwelling!
One thing I also noticed was that there was no mention of church or Jesus at all as a viable search for her to find God. How is it that we in a self-described "Christian Nation" produce a movie about an American Woman seeking God and not even thinking of the church or worse yet not even thinking of Jesus?
I'm afraid we as the church in America have lost our Missional focus and we have forgotten our mission to the world. So many churches in America are content to sit around, go to church one day a week and live the rest of their lives for themselves the rest of the week, all the while feeling satisfied with their eternal future and giving no thought to anyone else's fate. The people we walk around are spiritually dead and we are spiritually numb to this reality.
I mean, it is a sad testament to Christianity when we refuse to watch a movie and tell our Christian friends to refuse to watch it too because there is a woman searching for God in the wrong places. If anything, we should watch this movie and allow it to break our hearts at how lost the people in our world are.
Everyone is on a journey of discovery. Everyone around us is searching for God and worshipping something, are we living our lives in such a way as to direct them towards Christ, or are we simply ignoring them?
All of this hit me like a flood while watching the movie. I was convicted by it for sure and realized how much I truly owe Christ.
The movie wasn't amazing by any means. There were some risque moments, a little foul language and some huge lags where one can easily get bored within the film. So I am not saying to anyone: "You need to go see this movie!" I am simply saying there was a woman in search of God and it broke my heart to see her not find Christ and it would do well for us to expose ourselves to films that break us in such ways.
I am encouraged by the Holy Spirit to live my life in such a way that others ask questions about my faith (1 Peter 3:15) and to live in such away that they feel comfortable sharing their desire for God with me. Please feel the same encouragement. There is a whole world of people in need of God and God desires us to be the messengers of that Good News!
Middle School Pastor