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May 30, 2007

What is CT Thinking?

I just received the June issue of Christianity Today, whose cover includes what appears to be a poster shot for the movie Evan Almighty with the hook, “Evan Help Us—How a Movie and a Movement are Partnering with the Church to Change the World.” It piqued my interest.

Evan Almighty is the latest film by Bruce Almighty director Tom Shadyac. Although the film is not due for release until June 22, the movie trailer has been at theaters for some time now. Billed as “A comedy of biblical proportions,” the trailer depictions remind me of a church billboard near my house that reads: ”Laughter. Applause. The Presence of God.” Somehow, I doubt that Moses would agree. If I recall, he was one of the many who were undone, falling prostrate and trembling in God’s presence.

At any rate, the CT cover intrigued me, so I searched for the feature article. It wasn’t to be found. I combed the issue a second time only to find a quarter-page interview with the director, who said his purpose was to “tell a human story and hook people who had some of these questions, thoughts, and frustrations.” I wondered, “What questions, thoughts, and frustrations?” He doesn’t say. I was flummoxed that a short interview warranted a whole cover without addressing “How a Movie and a Movement are Partnering with the Church to Change the World.”

Then I noticed it. In the upper right hand corner of the cover, in tiny print, is the word ”ADVERTISEMENT.” I’d been hoodwinked.

I find it odd that CT sells a faux cover for a sight-unseen movie that, from the trailers at least, treats the biblical narrative glibly. Unsettled by the whole thing, I can’t keep from wondering, “What was CT thinking?”

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Jerry Brown

I question the financial necessity of selling a cover. Looks like leadership vaccume.

Doug Kimball

I am not sure about the advertisement on the cover of CT, but I *do* know that the critics who work for CT Movies are trying to do the right thing, in terms of reviewing films in light of their Christian faith. I try to read the reviews of several of the critics fairly often. I also respect and appreciate the work that Shadyac is doing in the "public square." Please don't lump the decisions of the marketing staff in with those in the Movies department at CT (just in case you were doing that - you may not have been). Thanks.

Trey Gregory

Unreal. In my view, this is a particular weakness of the Church in America, which increasingly is "of the world, but not in the world," (to borrow a phrase from Ken Myers' book). If this happened to TIME, its' readership would cancel it as being a less-than-serious news outlet.

I'm wondering who's co-opting whom here?

This glib approach to "God" stands in stark contrast to Isaiah, as you pointed out: "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

Thank you, Mr. Nicoll.

- tg

Michael Snow

I recieved my CT this week.

For those who don't know there was an advertisement disguised as a cover WHICH was covering up the actual cover.
Now I understand what Regis Nicoll by "a faux cover."

My initial reaction was a thought about canceling my subscription. While I still have Regis' sentiment, “What was CT thinking?”, I hope there is no cover up of the distinction between the faux and the actual.

I don't really see the big deal. A lot of magazines will sometimes carry an advertisement in the form of a fake cover. It's not like they were being sponsored by something that was outright objectionable.

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