Update: Andrew is Moving to Secular Cinephile

Exciting news! As of May 1st, Secular Cinephile, my new blog, is up and running on the Atheist Channel at Patheos.

To coopt a phrase from my kind host and friend Ken Morefield, I hope Secular Cinephile will be conspicuously – but not obnoxiously – humanist and atheist. As a member of a growing but still minority group, I feel it’s important to be clear in expressing my worldview. Nonetheless, as I write about films, I aim to stay open to hearing and seeing what is present in each work of art, without violently wrenching it to conform to my perspective.

When Ken welcomed me here in December, he voiced his aspiration that a Christian and an atheist sharing space on his blog could be an instance of civility and respectful coexistence in a world where that’s sometimes hard to come by (Bill Maher or Fox News, anyone?). I’d like to think that we’ve succeeded.

For my part, Christian film critics like Ken, Evan, and Jeremy are fresh breezes and rainfall on a parched landscape. When I read or hear commentary by Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and their ilk, I’m tempted to despair over the intellectual shallows of mainstream Christianity. Ken and company offer hope in the depth of their analysis, not to mention their integrity, even though we’ve reached different conclusions about religion.

So, many thanks to Ken, and many thanks to you the reader. No matter your point of view, I hope you’ll visit my new blog and/or follow me on Facebook.

Welcoming Andrew Spitznas to 1More Film Blog

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Andrew Spitznas to the roster of 1More Film Blog contributors.

I have known Andrew for several years, mostly through the Arts & Faith forum. We shared hotel space at the Toronto International Film Festival several years ago. I was immensely gratified when he agreed to contributed an essay on the late films of Akira Kurosawa to Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema, Volume II, an anthology that I edited.

Andrew’s taste in film is impeccable, and while we don’t always agree, we usually find a way of disagreeing civilly.

There would be nothing particularly strange about that, except that I am a professing Christian and Andrew professes to be an Atheist.

The motto of 1More Film Blog is “Inconspicuously Christian,” and I have always thought of 1More Film Blog as being more or less a “Christian” site. In some ways it must always be, because it is a reflection of me. So why add an Atheist to the roster?

The first and most important answer to that question is because Andrew is a darn good film critic. He deserves to have his own space, and I suspect he will some day.

Second, I tend to think that if you are going to call yourself a “Christian” anything–teacher, critic, blogger–your first responsibility to that title is to be an example. I don’t believe that only those who share my core beliefs are deserving of my friendship, hospitality, or occasional helping hand. I’ve received the same and more from many others who never asked me for a statement of faith before promoting my welfare.

Finally, I sometimes despair in this polarized social and political landscape that those with opposing views will ever be able to talk respecfully to one another. I am hopeful that we can both do something about that. Do I imagine that either of us will eventually convince the other? Not really. But I think we are more likely to if we occasionally share the same room (albeit a virtual one) than if we always, only, and ever hang out with our respective tribes in our respective bubbles.