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THX 1138 and the Missional Church

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 10, 2004

THX 1138 (The George Lucas Director’s Cut) is being released next week at a director’s cut DVD. What is THX 1138. It’s George Lucas’ first film. Before Star Wars was THX 1138–a Sci Fi film with a budget of under $1 million.

George Lucas has come along way. Vision has given way to technology. Guts has yeilded to digital precision. I’m planning on THX 1138 for the same reasons that I prefer the original Nintendo to most recent game releases: creativity and passion with a small budget is better than expensive mediocrity. I also think that creativity under material constraint can be more beautiful that well-funded creativity. From what I’ve heard, THX 1138 is masterful. It is art. A lot of low-budget films are art. If someone has passion enough to have a film made–without certainty of material success…without the benefit of a large studio, then odds are that their creativity–for good or ill–will shine through with little distraction.

The astute reader knows where I’m going with this. Church should be like indy film. Material abundance can as often be a detriment to ecclesial creativity as it is a boon. When you are forced to do much with little, creativity flourishes. Innovation and tenacity merge together to form something new. When you have all the money you “need” there is a tendency to shortcut creativity and buy pre-packaged excellence.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.


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  • charlie wear's notes

    September 12, 2004 at 12:34 pm

    Church like an indy film? From Mark Van S's article, THX1138 and the Missional Church : "Church should be like [an]

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