Sunday, March 7, 2010

Noted Review: Pastoral Care One Sheep at a Time

Saving God: One Soul at a Time. St. Catherines, ON: Cloud Ten Pictures, 2008. DVD Video. $6.99 ( / (N)

Saving God is a thought-provoking, gritty, urban drama centering on Pastor Cane. As Pastor Paul Cain, that got my attention. Perhaps that drew me in to the story of Armstrong Cane, a man who had killed an innocent man, spent 15 years in a Federal Penitentiary and is still on parole. That complicates pastoral care in a rough neighborhood to say the least.

Ving Rhames looks good in a clerical collar.

Yes, there are significant theological problems. One hears a lot about "Freedom of choices," the word CHOOSE, and what we Lutherans would refer to as "Decision Theology." Yes, there is little understanding of the Doctrine of the call and quite a bit of a Theology of glory. It would have been helpful had Cane had some theological training beyond what he got on his own in prison so that he could more accurately and Biblically define his terms!

I was unprepared for the plot twist and redemptive moment at the end of the movie. I can say that somebody dies.

The movie does a skilled job of giving answers (in the mouths of significant characters) to questions that continue a conversation.

It was disappointing to wait 49 minutes for specific Christian content like the name Christ. Jesus Christ is mentioned at the midpoint of the film, providing the specific Christian content of the word “God.”

Cane knows another pastor in this neighborhood. American Evangelicals could learn from this interaction. Are we selling God or saving God?

What does this mean? Yes, this is the typical Lutheran question, isn't it?
Who will save God for the souls who have lost Him, those who have run away from Him?

The film shows Pastor Cane correcting some false views of God, challenging sinful worldviews.

My favorite part? It was how he excelled in loving other people, "finding the sheep one at a time."
This is seen in sharp contrast to a long-time friend also in the "ministry," who has a secretary screen potential visitors to his office.

Saving God is a story of pastoral care in a rough neighborhood, redemption, trial, and betrayal. It has decent acting for a small budget film as well as compelling performances and story.

This film is not recommended for young teenagers due to drug and sexual (pregnancy) themes and some violence.

We look forward for more films from Cloud Ten Pictures in the future.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.