Today, I was contacted by a representative of Crossflix inviting me to partner in a promotion of the service with my readers, a promotion that would potentially yield some not insignificant revenue for my cash-strapped site. (As you will observe, I don’t have any paid advertising which requires me to cover the cost of my site to the tune of hundreds of dollars a year.)
But what is “Crossflix”? I learned here:
“Crossflix is the Christian alternative to Netflix.”
Er, why do we need a “Christian alternative to Netflix”? I am reminded of the days growing up evangelical in the 1980s when I thought we needed a Christian version for everything. So, for example, instead of listening to Iron Maiden, I listened to the Christian version: Barren Cross. Instead of listening to AC/DC, I listened to the Christian version: X-Sinner. Instead of listening to Queensryche, I listened to the Christian version: Sacred Warrior. For goodness sake, instead of listening to ABBA, I listened to the insufferably bland Christian version: Silverwind. (For more on this lamentable story, read my book What’s So Confusing About Grace?)
Mind you, not all these bands were terrible. Barren Cross was actually pretty good. So was White Cross (the Christian version of Ratt). But none of these bands was as good as the original. Nowhere close.
Will Crossflix be as good as Netflix? What do you think?
“We provide family-friendly programs to entertain, educate, and inspire you.”
Fair enough. But who says the entire channel should be family-friendly? The Bible is full of material that is anything but child-friendly: rape, cannibalism, murder, adultery, genocide. If Crossflix is limiting itself to material that is family-friendly, it is excluding a significant portion of the Bible, to say nothing of Christian history.
And what about contemporary social issues that should be central to Christian ethical concern, like human trafficking or drug addiction? Too graphic for the Crossflix audience, I presume?
“Crossflix is a streaming service that allows you to watch a wide variety of Christian faith movies, TV shows, award-winning faith documentaries, adult and children’s biblical education, and original Crossflix content on many of the Internet-connected devices such as televisions, tablets, and cell phones. Crossflix hosts one of the largest collections of faith and family films, award-winning documentaries, and children’s biblical animated programming in the world.”
One of the largest collections of “faith and family films”? For me, that’s like advertising “one of the largest collections of contemporary hip hop and EDM”: not that it’s bad; it just ain’t my thing.
“We empower Christian filmmakers and artists by producing original content, such as television shows, mini-series, a 50-episode Living Bible Series covering important biblical stories from The Creation to Revelations, and children’s biblical animation. Crossflix is the go-to channel for Christian entertainment, education, and inspiration.”
Not so fast: I’m not sure I want to encourage Christians producing G-rated Victorian content for a conservative evangelical
ghetto subculture. Personally, I’d prefer to encourage Christians being witnesses in the mainstream culture. Consider, for example, Christian director Brad Bird and his magisterial film The Iron Giant. Or Mel Gibson’s (yeah, I know, he’s a raggamuffin) Hacksaw Ridge. More of that, please.
“Our content has no nudity or bad language. Almost all of our content is rated by Dove.org, the most reputable faith-movie rating organization. Content not rated by Dove.Org has been viewed and rated by Crossflix staff to make sure that it is family friendly.”
No nudity or bad language, eh? Hmm, I wonder how Crossflix/Dove.org would rate the Song of Songs? Or Paul’s potty mouth in Philippians 3:8? Or the shocking vulgarity of Ezekiel 23:20?
All this handwringing about “bad” words … I am reminded of this oft-repeated Tony Campolo quote:
“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.” (Cited in D.G. Hart, From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin (Eerdmans, 2011), 167.)
Anyway, back to Crossflix:
“With Crossflix, you can enjoy unlimited viewing of our content without having to watch a single commercial. There’s always something new to discover — more movies, documentaries, and other content added every week!”
Wait, did you say no commercials? Well then, sign me up!