Breakthrough, the Movie: Questions to Consider

Seana Scott and I are at the national conference for the Evangelical Press Association. Tonight we saw a pre-release showing of the faith film "Breakthrough" starring Chrissy Metz (This Is Us). I invited Seana to contribute a guest post, and she offered the following good words: 

John Smith and his two basketball buddies do what young men naturally do—egg each other on to take boyish risks. And playing on an iced-over lake, all three kids fell in as the frozen shell suddenly cracked open. 

By the time paramedics pulled John out of the ice, he was cold, limp, and unresponsive. After more than thirty minutes of medical effort to find a pulse, the doctor considered him dead and invited his mom in to say goodbye. But his mother prayed.

The rest of the plot of "Breakthrough" (based on a true story) is a struggle to believe God, to hope, to hold on, to fight. Doctors struggle to look beyond statistics. John’s father wrestles with facing circumstances. The man who found John in the depths of black, freezing water wonders if God even exists. And John Smith’s mom, Joyce, struggles to let go of control and surrender to God.

In my honest opinion, from a screenplay perspective, there are a few awkward moments, but overall I suspended my disbelief enough to feel the mama-bear rise up in me and want to sit in the hospital room with Joyce Smith. 

I think women leaders should consider seeing this movie and talking about it with others who do. 

Here are some theological questions to consider after watching the film:

·     How does the film communicate the power of prayer?

·     What does the film teach about miracles?

·     Why does God heal some and not others?

·     What about moments of fear or doubt when you are in crisis? 

·     What does the film show about how Christian leaders in the church can support those going through crisis?

·     How does the film depict the change in the characters as they encounter John’s journey?

And if I were talking with the women I minister to in my life, I would probably ask:

·     From watching the movie, what is the Holy Spirit stirring in your heart? What are you thinking about?

There is always room to pick and critique. But with this movie offering for the Christian or faith-seeking audience, I hope we can ask faith questions that lead to deeper biblical consideration. —Seana Scott

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.

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