It was a wonderful experience to worship at an orthodox Church in Los Angeles last Sunday. The church had actors, writers, producers, directors as members.To know that, somewhere in Orthodoxy, those in the film industry are not disdained for their jobs, but encouraged toward righteousness in their journey to orthodoxy, is a balm. Especially so, in light of my few, but vocal, critics, including at least one priest.
God has called us to go into the all the world and preach the gospel. The larger the visual platform, the greater the audience we have, and the greater the responsibility. Our lives are constantly on display. Such is the medium of the film industry. We are not all called to monasticism. I might lean that way, if I were not confident that my wife, of 32 years, would track me down and pull me back home by the neck of my cassock.
Critics of Orthodox filmmakers are as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal, for they have not love or understanding. They must rely on obscure examples like Saint John of Kronstadt's rejection of the Russian Theatre of the late 1800's early 1920's. All of us would reject the Russian theatre of that era. It was the equivalent of the American burlesque show or some version of today's erotic/pornographic films. I have never met a faithful Orthodox filmmaker, who participates in such.
However, is a painter relegated to depictions of only flowers and lambs, or are they free to show the human plight as well? What of authors? May they write only children's books? And what about actors? May they play only Christian characters, priests or saints? The depiction of an unseemly character is not necessarily the endorsement of their conduct. Who would play Judas Iscariot, Mary Magdelene, or a Roman Soldier, for that matter, if that were the case?
These critics of the filmmaker just simply do not understand what a filmmaker is or what one does, and I won't waste time explaining. If they really want to understand, they may read the book, Addicted To Mediocrity by Orthodox Christian, Frankie Schaeffer. But, alas, such critics are Brass and Cymbals! Just noise to the faithful orthodox filmmaker who must be about his Father's business.