Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoughts from the Christian Youth Film Festival

It is my pleasure to announce that Seeds--a film in which four friends and I wrote, filmed, acted in, edited, and produced--won Best Picture at the Christian Youth Film Festival Sunday night. In addition to this award and its $543 cash prize, Seeds also captured the distinctions of Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, and People's Choice Award. Naturally, we were pretty excited about our success. It was great to see weeks of brainstorming and preparation, four days in the desert, and hours upon hours of editing finally come to fruition. But as I look back the event, my expectations beforehand, my actions at the event, my attitudes afterward, I found pride, and lots of it.

Lately, my small group at college has been talking about prayer and about what real, heartfelt, caring prayer requests and prayers themselves should look like. One thing that immediately came to light is how you respond when someone asks how he can be praying for you. Often, it seems, we pause in thought for a moment, then respond, "pride."

Right, everyone struggles with pride. It's easy to say "yeah, I've been thinking I'm really something special. I haven't put God first as I should." No, of course you haven't, so where's the risk in that. Is pride really what keeps you up all night? Have you been going through a particularly prideful spell? Do you always pray that God would take away your pride? Maybe you do, and that's great, but the point we tried to make in small groups is that oftentimes "pride" goes up as a smokescreen, to disguise what we really are struggling with: things like sexual lust, gossip, hatred, or gluttony. I think that is a great point, everyone can say they're struggling with pride, there's no risk in saying that to anyone. It's much harder to say "Look, I'm having a hard time loving that guy," than, "Yeah I've been 'struggling' with pride."

The point of this post, though, is that pride is real, and it can be a dangerous issue because it manages to worm its way into almost everything. After all, it is ultimately from pride that all sin stems, from the desire to be in God's place and actually be worshiped ourselves. It never ceases to amaze me how, even at a Christian film festival where everyone will admit that these films really are for God's glory, pride is always there to sneak in. You're sitting there repeatedly saying to yourself, "This is all about God, this is all about God, I couldn't have made this film without Him." When in the back of your mind you start to wonder, "Hmmm, why didn't he or she give me a compliment on my film? I only made the best movie this festival's ever seen! Goodness, we better win that award."

In light of the film festival, pride will no longer be a smokescreen when I ask someone to pray for me. It's a horrible vice that clouds my thinking and grossly defames the Sovereign Creator of the universe. The thoughts that I actually generated something of worth on my own or that I actually deserve something are wicked absurdities, and when those thoughts pry their way to the forefront of my mind, I can only sigh, shake my head, and ask God's forgiveness. Praise Jesus Christ that he died not only for the big things, but all that pride as well.