A movie caught the eye of my wife and I a few weeks back.
Title: “Will a man rob God?”
Description: “Corey faithfully donates money to his church. But when the pastor begins to flaunt wealth, Corey questions the church’s intentions and investigates.”
Now to be fair, Netflix doesn’t do a great job anyways with the descriptions of the movies, well at least on the streaming subscription service we have. One wonders how they get their movie descriptions…
“Johnson, here I need a synopsis of this movie STAT. Don’t watch it, we don’t have time, just look at the cover, flip through and watch the first five minutes and have it on my desk in the next thirty minutes!” This is kind of how I envision the person who has the job of putting the descriptions on each movie.
However, this one is so far gone, its unreal. So I did some looking to see what other sources have as the description.
Convinced that his pastor is getting rich off of the donations of his congregation, lifelong Christian Corey begins to ponder the prospect of robbing the very same church he has attended since childhood.
Yeah…no. This isn’t a bank robbery type movie.
Good ole’ Wally World states that the below description is from the publisher:
Corey and his family grew up listening to their pastor preach about the importance of donating money to the church. But the more they give to the church, the richer its pastor seems to get. Confused about the church’s intentions, Corey decides to take matters into his own hands and investigate how far a man is willing to go before sinking to the ultimate low: robbing God Himself.
Closer….but not quite. This is a similar description to the Netflix online description, VS., the streaming description.
So, after about a couple of weeks in our “list” of movies to watch, we watched it on Monday.
Now, most of you know that I can appreciate the grilling of a good sacred cow every now and then. So you can understand my disappointment when this movie doesn’t even come close to any of the descriptions available for the movie!
First, this movie is actually a play that is recorded like a movie, with cameramen all over the place. Seriously, there is one shot where you see one of the other cameramen on the opposite side of the stage. At first, my wife and I thought that we were watching a play put on by the characters as part of the plot and after about five minutes it would turn into a movie…nope.
But, that’s O.K., my wife and I like plays and musicals. So we endured.
It starts off well enough and for over half of the movie, we were wondering, “Which way are they going to go with this?”. My wife and I kept going back and forth on whether or not this was going to be a neutral movie on the subject of tithing and the prosperity message or if it was going to lean for it or against it. The movie does after all, take its title from the famous Malachi scriptures that people like to use to support tithing.
The father character, has a gambling addiction and has basically drained the family finances. The stronger mother character suffers a health issue and is in the hospital for a good part of the play (offstage, they don’t show any hospital scenes, which is ok for the format) which puts further strain on the family. Corey, after trying to carry the burden of his family by taking three jobs, working some eighty hours a week to help pay the bills, finally gives in to an offer from his triple-platinum selling rapper friend to go on tour for six weeks with him for $150K, and it is looked down upon because of the rap stars “moral choices”, yet, paradoxically, the scripture used about “the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just” that is used in many prosperity circles isn’t even used to justify Corey doing what he can to get his family out of debt (See Proverbs 13). Rather it is viewed as taking matters into his own hands, except he was offered the job and didn’t go to his friend to beg for money or a job. The sister character, who seems to be the one who “having done all to stand, keeps on standing” in her faith, wins a contract with Microsoft for $30 Million dollars and one of her final lines is how she “knows” she will automatically give 10% of it to her church (the pastor is standing right there when she says that, of course…what did Jesus say about making a show of your giving?) but “she doesn’t know what to do with the rest”??
HELLO! Your family is in over their heads! You live in a terrible neighborhood, your house is falling apart! Your dad almost died from his gambling debts, he needs his debts settled before they come after you too and ask for “interest” because you know they will hear about your nice payday. Your father needs to come to terms with and get treatment for his addiction. Your mom was hospitalized for a good while and you KNOW how much that costs, almost ALL of your own bills are past due. And there is at least one free-loader in your house… None of that is dealt with, or implied.
God “comes through” and “proves” He is good on his word of prosperity and they all lived happily ever after…
Long story short: After meandering down the middle of the road for quite a while, it quickly turns into a very…VERY weak propaganda piece for the prosperity gospel as they wrap up the movie at the end.
There are a few great questions in the play about hardship and faith that are brought up and even a good theme about trusting God, but they don’t follow through with them in a consistent way to have made it worthwhile to bring them up. There are even some funny moments, but the entire thing is so wrapped up in trying to make a great case for the prosperity message that it fails on all sides.
There are more holes, as the saying goes, than a slice of swiss cheese.