Max Lucado: 3:16 (2007) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Max Lucado: 3:16 (2007)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Danny DISLIKEI took a class on sentence deconstruction in college and, I don't think I really need to detail this too much, but it bored the crap out of me. There's nothing worse in this world than to take a class on something boring; at least with a subject you hate, there's some vestige of emotion you can invest in it.

Max Lucado: 3:16 is a 53 minute film that deconstructs one sentence in The Bible. Does that sounds ridiculous? Yes. Does it sound incredibly boring? Yes. But, I'll give it some credit: I still managed to hate it.

It's based on a book by a man named Max Lucado (!); he's one of those big name authors who craps out a faith based spiritual health self help book in time for the holidays every year. This one seems unsurprisingly high concept as it illustrates that one one Bible verse by a half dozen hokey stories and lame metaphors in order to tell us more about that one. Single. Sentence.

Then again, it is a compound sentence, so there's that.

The movie goes chapter by chapter, saving you what apparently would have been forty minutes of reading taken from your life. Along the way, Lucado tells about the John 3:16 verse in such phrases as "Behold, the hope diamond of the Bible!" and "[3:16 is] a twenty six word parade of hope."

Wow. If this guy was trying to sell me a used car, I'd be backing away very slowly.

Chapters of the book flash cut between Lucado telling stories in different locations. Since there's not much to talk about in anything relating to film analysis since the whole thing is a naked appeal to the converted while subtly damning non-Christians, I guess I've got to pick apart some of what Lucado says.

Oh, like in the first couple of chapters (before he begins to deconstruct the word 'whoever' for all of us), he makes elaborate metaphors spun from personal stories that are supposed to explain how our relationship with God really works. We are blind dogs, God is the guy petting us. God is the man who likes to herd cows, and we are the cows and should know God is doing it for our own good. God is like a pilot of the airplane who has to kick us off because we're sick, but it's okay because he's got a plan.

Of course, on that last one, I don't think that's a very good metaphor. Yes the pilot knows where the plane is going to go next, but after he kicks you off the plane, his plan stops including you. Add on that this metaphor is just supposed to be explaining why sometimes God does things for the greater good, and you really have to wonder if telling people it's because he suddenly stops caring about your sick ass is the best idea.

A few more random nuggets of wisdom from Max:

  • "Stretch out on Christ and rest!"
  • "If God is for us, then who can be against us?"
  • "God loves you with an unearthly love."
  • [On bungee jumping] "I may need a diaper, I thought."
  • "Heaven? You'll love it. A perfect place of perfect people with a perfect God."
  • "No one does what Jesus does and that is to reconnect us to his power." (?!)

Max is a true believer and a bullshitter of the highest caliber, but outside of the legions who buy his books to achieve sadomasochistic glib religious ecstasy, there's nothing much here to talk about outside the absolutely bargain basement premise that is simply so cheap an idea that it still makes my eyes roll when I think of it.

See? Right there! I did it again!

Wait, what's the deal with this picture of Jessica Rabbit looking anxious?

Oh! And the forty minutes of Max rapping about love and stuff is capped with a short film about a girl who runs away from her family because she's generically rebellious. Her family always loved to dance, so she becomes a stripper (let's not kid ourselves, Plan A is always stripping), only to get a letter from her father telling her he misses with her and wants to dance with her again. This is a big metaphor for god forgiving us and about how those teenagers are sure generically rebellious. Woo-ee.

One last note, since I inexplicably still have your attention: Lucado makes several slams against non-believers here (which includes me!), most notably saying

"People who ignore God do so out of fear."

Real quick, let's look at John 3:16 again, and we can see that it's a pretty nifty clause all-in-all: those who believe are in, those who aren't are out. Lucado, who apparently really likes this sentence, it taking this to the next step: total exclusion for the uncool kids. Pretending that those who do believe in God suffer no fear is absolutely silly. If some people didn't need to affirm their faith and show their reverence to others in a blatant attempt to stave off that fear, Lucado probably wouldn't even have a publishing career.

So believe in God, buy Max Lucado's books, and be happy, because the guy in the sky loves you an unearthly amount.

If you enjoy my writing or podcast work, please consider becoming a monthly Patron or sending a one-time contribution! Every bit helps keep Can't Stop the Movies running and moving toward making it my day job.

Posted by Danny

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Max was raised Church of Christ. Now he dresses up in purple robes on Sunday morning and thinks he’s the pope. He writes these ridiculous books that his sheep followers buy and lives in a house that no of them could ever afford. It’s always about the money.

Leave Your Thoughts!

No trackbacks yet.