The return to Dogma


This is my first blog post in a while. There are lots of reasons for this, finding time to write has been a struggle but when I finally did there were no words.

It didn’t matter what I tried to write no words came . Recently I wanted to write a piece on my favourite films to date this year and I struggled  to articulate it. So I made a conscious decision to take a break from trying.

Today changed that. Via Twitter (O how I love Twitter) I discovered that Dogma is to be shown this weekend on Film 4 here in the UK. When I read that something stirred. You see Dogma and I have history.

On the films initial release I received several chain emails (remember those) telling me all that was wrong theologically wrong with Dogma. Major gripes included the profanity in the film, God depicted as a woman, the glorification of abortion,  the list went on.

Also on those emails was a final line asking me to forward the email to 5 more ‘true believers’  and that if I ‘truly loved Jesus’ there would be no shame in doing so. NOT MANIPULATIVE AT ALL! Apart from anything this final guilt filled line contained  quite possibly more bad theology than anything  contained in the film.

I didn’t forward a single one. However I did reply. I replied with 4 simple words ‘Have you watched it?’.

Non response was the main reply to my inquiry but several did pop back asking  why I would even consider this? Did I not read the email at all?? Did I really love the Lord?

The rights and wrongs of Dogma’s theology were not my point in making that response to people. What I wanted to put across was that I couldn’t get into a discussion with anyone on a film if I haven’t watched.

Taking a stance on anything without engaging with it, regardless of art form or topic, is wrong.

For the record I enjoyed Dogma. It does not contain  perfect theology throughout, however very few films do. Also what or who does have a 100% record in their theology I certainly don’t.

What Dogma does provide are some great moments of truth.

For example when Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) sits down with Metatron (played by the always brilliant Alan Rickman) and questions why God would call her to help stop the angels Loki and Bartelby re-entering heaven she is reassured that her 9-5 as an abortion clinic worker holds no restriction on God’s plan. Metatron tell her “Noah was a drunk. Look what he accomplished. And no one’s even asking you to build an ark. All you have to do is go to New Jersey, and visit a small church on a very important day. “

The point being that no one is off-limits to being used by God. It’s not Bethany’s job  that brings the call its her heritage.

I may watch Dogma this weekend I may not. Overall I am grateful that it exists. It starts conversations regardless of your view on it. When I had the idea for this blog it was one of the films that came to mind when considering films and faith.

Above all else I’m grateful for Dogma today as it helped me start writing again.


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