The Five Pastors You'll Meet in Hollywood

Todd Hertz

May 11, 2011

Todd...Very thorough analysis of how Hollywood approachs clergy.
it's a rare pastor or priest that gets a fair shake!
David, www.RedLetterBelievers.com, @rupzip

Seth Tower Hurd
May 11, 2011

Also, the Priest in Sleepers (played by Robert De Niro) would fall in the "faithful" category. He's one of my favorite movie clergy guys.

Todd Hertz
May 11, 2011

I almost mentioned him!

Benjamin Toms
May 12, 2011

Well, if we are basing our decisions about how we will approach our relationship to God on anything other than the Bible, then we are going to be mis-led. Even when using the Bible to facilitate this isn't error proof. If we are trying to understand and learn through our own strength and the comprehension skills of our mind, without involving the Spirit, then we can still go wrong. Expecting another source to correctly reflect the tenants of clergy or Protestant pastor life is naive. In fact, we should expect them to be slanderous. And so if we are aware of this, We should follow the directions at the end of the revelation. Let the righteous do right and let the evildoer do evil.

Idle Chatter
May 14, 2011

Also Faithful: "the Penguins" in Blues Brothers, Sisters in "Sister Act"

I would guess that Catholic priests get more play because they're more iconic in appearance, they work within a powerful hierarchy, and their lack of spouses and dependents makes them seem more solitary.

There probably should be a category of activists.  Pastors often appear as rallying points, support, and/or leadership in community dramas (films on racism, disaster, poverty, community health).

How would you categorize the pastor father in "Easy A"?

Todd Hertz
May 14, 2011

Agreed. Activist could be a category. I was kinda lumping that into the "Likable, but" category. They do good things. They help people. They can be very positive portrayals but maybe not always complete.

Good question on Easy A. The pastor in Easy A has such a small part that its hard to categorize. He might fit into more than one. By virtue of knowing how his daughter (Amanda Bynes) was portrayed and some of his answers to the lead character's questions, I'd put him in the stuck-in-mud category. Judgmental, unbending. But was our last glimpse of him implying that he was a hypocrite and an online pervert? Couldn't tell. But if so, he'd slip into corrupt.

Hypocrite could be a category that could be added.

Travis Greene
May 15, 2011

Good list, but the whole point of "Doubt" is that you don't know whether the priest is an abuser or not.

May 17, 2011

Excellent article. Thought provoking as we face the reality of Hollywood's intentional framework to "left" back-handed rhetoric that undermines the faithfull servants of the faith. It's getting a bit old & overplayed...

May 17, 2011

As a Christian and a filmmaker this subject touches an area that interests me greatly - - the depiction of Christians in film & TV. 

I've noted that if the clergyman is portrayed positively (your Faithful category) he is usually, male and Catholic or Black. We rarely see White Protestants portrayed in the faithful category.

That said, I agree that the Priest in "Gran Torino" was well depicted. I also watched with interest the development of the Priest in ABC's "V" last season as he struggled with his faith while facing of hostile invaders. 

On a tangent, can we really expect that secular media will portray our clergy any more accurately that they portray cops and doctors? Though, with cop shows and medical shows producers will often employ a technical consultant, a practice I've never seen for the clergy.

May 17, 2011

Hollywood couldn’t write about these stereotypes of pastors unless there weren’t an element of truth. Having spiritual authority over a congregation and temporaral authority over multimillion dollar budgets is always a recipe for disaster. The reason there is so much talk about “pastor burnout” and “fallen pastors” is first, because it is common in every city in America and second, because we were never designed to carry this kind of authority. We have taken the 5-fold ministry and rolled it all into 1 office. Most evangelicals believe that apostles were only for the first century and that the next best thing is the pastor. The offices of Apostle, prophet (inspired preaching), teacher, evangelist and healer have been subsumed by the super office of the contemporary pastor. On top of that, pastors administer multi-million dollar tax-free budgets. The word pastor is only used once in the entire new testament. We know deacons like Stephen by name, we know new testament prophets like Agabus by name, we know Apostles and missionaries by name, We know evangelists like Philip by name, we even know some teachers like Lucius and Manaen by name, but Paul never once identifies the name of a pastor. Elders were the closest thing to pastors and they were always commissioned as a group to guide and shepherd, not rule and reign.

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