Friday, August 9, 2013

How Sylvester Stallone Got His Spirituality Back

Rocky BalboaI’m often asked how I can weave the spiritual thread into my stories. For me, it’s easy because I write for a Christian publisher. I can get away with conversion scenes and church settings. But, how does one put a spiritual theme into a story not intended for a spiritual audience?

In the following interview with Pat Roberson of CBN, Sylvester Stallone explains why he wanted to make the final installment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky Balboa. CBN TV - Sylvester Stallone on Faith, Integrity, and Rocky. It goes down to Sly’s roots, his personal journey, his failures, his triumphs. In short, the best way to include a spiritual thread is to draw on your own worldview. (I define the Christian worldview as believing in Biblical moral truth. God is real. Satan is real. Redemption is needed.) This is true for stories targeting the Christian market as well as those that are not.

When my friend and writing partner, Paula Moldenhauer, and I decided to write Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal, we made a consciousTitanicCover_022812_FullSize decision to not write it solely for the Christian market. We wanted people of all faiths, including atheism, to be able to read it and not feel preached at. Inside the pages, we have included a character trying to find her way, a character who knows who he is but has lost his purpose, and a character who is full of pride to the point of destruction. Our worldview is all over these characters. Blatant? I hope not.

Look closely to any movie and you will no doubt see the author’s and/or director’s worldview. I’ve been confused about director, M. Night Shyamalan’s worldview. His movie, Signs, however bizarre, suggested there was a God in the universe and Mel Gibson’s character needed to get back to Him quickly. Upon researching Shyamalan, I discovered that he was born into a Hindu household, but “he attended the private Roman Catholic grammar school Waldron Mercy Academy, followed by the Episcopal Academy, a private Episcopal high school located at the time in Merion, Pennsylvania.” No wonder I was confused. He tends to put everything he believes into his stories.

I challenge you to find other books and movies that include the Christian worldview without claiming to be a full-on spiritual movie. Find those that probably won’t be viewed in the church basement. There are those out there, and they are perfectly fine. Movies like Courageous, Blind Side, and Les Miserable come to mind. But what about less obvious films? Captain America, Man of Steel, The Green Mile?

Another article on Sylvester Stallone’s faith can be read here. I encourage us all to pray for individuals in Hollywood. It’s a tough place to maintain their Christian worldview, but once they fully embrace it, what a difference they will be able to make!