FAQs About Faith and Film at the Palace

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What does ESL stand for?

A: You may see a church from time to time offering a class in conversational English for immigrants—English as a second language—to help them make sense of a world in which an unfamiliar tongue is spoken. Essentially, these classes are entertainment as a second language, helping improve the media literacy and fluency of anyone who watches movies. Zion Lutheran Church of Walburg has contracted with Parabolic Media to curate a series of classes for anyone interested in registering.


Q: Why not call it Christianity and Film?

A: While this series will certainly be filtered through the lens of Christianity, one has to admit that alternative faiths and worldviews are the foundation of many good movies—even some that are labeled Christian movies. In fact, virtually all movies promote the values and beliefs of the filmmaker.


Q: Why should I improve my media literacy?

A: Dr. Robert Johnson (Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Seminary) has stated that the cinema’s storytellers have become the new priests of our culture. As such, the movie theater has become another great competitor for the church because great movies inspire (or disturb) people in profound ways. “Consciously or unconsciously, all filmmakers have an ethical purpose in their work. All movies have a moral. In both obvious and subtle ways, filmmakers infuse their worldview into the story. If you think about it, the movie is the filmmaker’s prayer.” (quote from the curriculum, The Filmmaker’s Prayer).


Q: What if I am not a Christian?

A: It is our primary aim to uncover and compare the beliefs promoted in the movie to a mainstream Christian worldview. Admittedly, our discussion leaders will likely interpret the film through a conservative Lutheran lens. However, people of all faiths and religions are invited and encouraged to share their insights. There will be no judgment.


Q: Where and when will the classes be held?

A: Responding to this need in our community, Parabolic Media has made arrangements with The Palace on the square in Georgetown to use the theater as a suitable classroom. This enables us to examine films in their most natural and powerful state. Unlike a movie you merely watch for entertainment, we include a discussion—a careful examination and reflection after the screening that will help us all understand the shared experience.

The classes are held on Sundays in July and October, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and ending sometime around 8:30 p.m. (depending on the length of the film).

Summer Series (July)

July 2, 2023
July 9, 2023
July 16, 2023
July 23, 2023


Fall Series (October)

Oct. 8, 2023
Oct. 15, 2023
Oct. 22, 2023
Oct. 29, 2023


Q: What movies will you examine?

A: Movies will be carefully selected for this course and will be announced upon registration. For each series (July and October):

A beloved cinematic classic
An overlooked gem
An Oscar-worthy movie hailed by critics
A movie greatly influencing young people


Q: Will you examine R-rated films?

A: Our approach is not to ask if we should show films like these but ask if these more difficult scenes and themes somehow make the film exempt from critical examination. We find that many R-rated films are in need of close scholarly, theological, and philosophical analysis. However, if you normally avoid such films, you can simply skip the class that week. Or, like the scientist, don goggles, gloves, and a lab coat when examining such artifacts.


Q: How does the informal class differ from a traditional college class?

A: Like a college class, a curriculum is provided to assist in learning. Far beyond a simple appreciation for a film’s aesthetics, participants will fully examine their personal and societal responses to the worldviews promoted in popular movies. Learners will be equipped and inspired to identify, interpret, and respond to these cultural artifacts.


Q: Will I have homework if I attend the informal class?

A: No. We only suggest that you become at least marginally familiar with the curriculum material provided (a book). In our discussion, you can add your voice to the mix or just quietly enjoy the conversation.


Q: Do I get academic credit?

A: The class is for your own edification. However, those who attend all eight classes (July and October) will be eligible to receive a certificate of completion upon request.


Q: What is the cost of the course?

A: The course is split into two series. Learners can register for one or both series at a time. Since the classes meet during the dinner hour, meals and refreshments are included in the cost of registration. All learners receive a digital copy of the curriculum.

There are two basic options.

Option 1 The CRITIC includes two drinks (beer and/or wine). Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). $35 per series.

Option 2 The ACTOR: includes an entrée from the Wildfire Grill’s Saloon Menu,* and two drinks (beer and/or wine**). Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). $75 per series.

Q: May I bring someone with me?

A: For both series, we highly encourage everyone to invite other learners in order to spread literacy in our community. The following options are ideal for groups such as Bible studies, home groups, friends from work, or families. Again, all attendees must register and RSVP so we can make sure seats are available. All will receive a digital copy of the curriculum.

Option 3 The EXTRA includes two drinks (beer and/or wine) for FOUR additional participants. Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). All four can attend on one night, or one person can come four nights (or any combination***). $70 per series.

Option 4 The CAMERAMAN includes entrées from the Wildfire Grill’s Saloon Menu and two drinks (beer and/or wine) for FOUR additional participants. Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). All four can attend on one night, or one person can come for four nights (or any combination). $150 per series.

Option 5 The PRODUCER includes entrées from the Wildfire Grill’s Saloon Menu and two drinks (beer and/or wine) for EIGHT additional participants. Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). All eight can attend on one night, or two people can come for four nights (or any combination). $225 per series.

Option 6 The DIRECTOR includes entrées from the Wildfire Grill’s Saloon Menu and two drinks (beer and/or wine) for SIXTEEN additional participants. Water and refreshments are also included (popcorn). All sixteen can attend on one night, or eight people can come for four nights (or any combination). $375 per series.

The current Wildfire Saloon menu can be found here:  https://www.wildfiretexas.com/saloon-menu

** One light and regular beer option will be available and one red and one white wine selection. Brand may change from week to week. For adults 21 and over.
*** Think of these as reserved seats that can be used in any combination that works best. For the sake of simplicity, these options assume the additional participants will be are to be eligible for the same meal/refreshment option as the original registrant.

Q: Who and what are Movie Missionaries?

A: Our goal is to make literate viewer-critics who can put the story in proper perspective and help others do the same. We are recruiting people who have a passion for helping their friends, family members, and neighbors grow in their literacy. Not unlike active Christians, the de-churched and unchurched also struggle to recognize their purpose in God’s plan. For many of us, bringing guests to the theater will be easier than cajoling them to attend church on Sunday. So instead, literally, they will be taking the Gospel to the public square. The class is necessary because most viewers can only unconsciously process the messages filmmakers embed in their stories.


Q: What or who is Parabolic Media?

A: Dr. Philip Hohle of Parabolic Media is a trained scholar in the study of how people interpret movies. He has published and presented on this topic through the International Society for the Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI). He also has taught film interpretation and media law at the university level. With the help of other scholars in the area, he hosted the series Cinema and Religion at the Moviehouse & Eatery in Austin for eight years. His book, The Filmmaker’s Prayer, was written to serve as the curriculum for this series.


Q: What if the weather is bad? What if no seats are left after I register?

A: Parabolic Media will send announcements to the email address you used in your registration if the event is canceled due to weather (or any other reason) and a makeup date is not available, a pro-rated reimbursement will be made. Likewise, if the theater reaches capacity, those unable to get a seat will be eligible for a partial refund.


Q: How do I register?

A: Fill out the form found here. You are welcome to email Philip Hohle with additional questions anytime: philip@parabolicmedia.com

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