The movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ” came to my attention while reviewing Wall Street Journal film reviews. The Wall Street Journal is a staple of my daily reading, as it has been for my entire career. The Journal is attractive because it includes not only business/economics content, but also book and movie reviews, sports coverage and various travel and lifestyle articles.
A key reason to comment on this faith-based film is the reminder about priorities, and especially intangibles beyond money. Since Cornerstone exists to provide investment/financial planning information within a Christian context, the movie presents a culture and set of deeply convicted values that are thought-provoking and challenging for our fast-paced investment world. The main characters are Paul in a Roman prison, Luke-the author of Acts, and a community of believers. The setting is the persecution of the early church in Rome during the reign of Nero. The cruel persecution included martyrdom by being beheaded, burned alive or fed to lions as entertainment for the masses. In spite of the persecution, Acts 2:44 describes this as a time where “believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”
Moreover, Paul says in Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
In these conditions, we see that Paul didn’t get exactly get stressed out about portfolio volatility. Despite the persecution, Paul (and the early church) advanced a message of love, not vengeance. Although Paul is eventually beheaded for his faith, and persecution of many Christians remained rampant, their impact led to Christianity becoming the majority religion of the Roman Empire. And today it is the largest religion in the world.
It is also encouraging to see the Hollywood film industry and the viewing public support movies like this. Mel Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster “Passion of the Christ” was the most successful film of this genre, and there is a continuing market (or hunger) for this spiritual dimension. “Paul, Apostle of Christ” is not likely to contend for Best Picture of 2018, but the $5 million film is widely described as moving and impactful. The movie is from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Affirm label. The Affirm production company produced other Christian-themed films that includes “Heaven is for Real,” “Soul Surfer” and “Risen.” The movie was dedicated to all who have been persecuted for their faith.
This commentary is not a recommendation to forsake our careers, our portfolios or a disciplined financial plan. Cornerstone will continue to track investments and financial planning within the context of free markets and capitalism. There is also no plan to have recurring movie reviews as part of this website. We are not all called to be Paul and we don’t all need to be martyrs.
“Paul, Apostle of Christ” does, however, make a strong statement regarding our ultimate priorities. The movie reminds us to keep a proper perspective that includes Stewardship Stewardship , Charitable Contributions Charitable and especially the love of God and our neighbor.
Check out the online reviews, and if it sounds good then go see it.