While every teacher (in school and out) has some kind of influence on us, most everyone can point to an individual or a handful of teachers that have significantly impacted the way one views the world. Grant Horner is one of those teachers for me.
I remember walking into my first class at The Master’s College as a relatively new believer and finding an essay sitting on every desk by some weird philosopher I had never heard of and couldn’t pronounce – Nietzsche. A few minutes after the class was supposed to start, a man wearing a fedora and tweed vest burst into the room (ya, he’s a bit eccentric – what would you expect from an English prof?). “Before you went off to college your father or pastor may have sat you down and warned you about all the dangerous philosophies you may be exposed to in academia. Perhaps he even told you that out of all the philosophers, ‘stay away from Nietzsche at all costs – he will destroy your faith!’ Well I don’t believe that we who have the truth have to be afraid of error, so we are going to start out this class by analyzing Nietzsche’s by the truth of God’s word and seeing how it holds up.” Thus was my introduction to the world of Grant Horner and more importantly the world of Biblical Discernment.
I have said before that I have learned more theology in his classes (I took English Composition, English Lit, and Film from him) than all of my theology classes in college and seminary combined. I would now rephrase that and say that what I learned from him was not necessarily the content of theology but the way to see theology in everything. He taught me to see or at least strive to see how God relates to everything and how everything relates to God, an essential endeavor to any Christian who seeks true wisdom (Prov 1:7). The discipline of discernment is one that is far too neglected in the church today, and we are suffering for it.
Oh ya. I’m supposed to review the book.
I’m in general agreement with Ron’s take on the book. I think I enjoyed and benefitted more from the book than Ron did because I am acoustomed to Horner’s style and could fill in some of the blanks with what I had learned from him in class.
– I enjoyed the discussion on the relationship between the individual, the Believer and culture in the introduction
– I enjoyed the brief discussions of City Lights, 2001, It Happened One Night, Citizen Kane (movies I was introduced to in Horner’s class) and Blade Runner, Scarlet Street, Sunset Boulevard, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Marty.
– the biggest disappointment for me was not with what was in the book, but with what wasn’t. My two favorite films from his class, The Searchers and Metropolis, were not even discussed. More importantly, I felt like Horner was just offering samples of what I got in class, not spending enough time in the book to really dissect the films and/or teach discernment.
All in all, this is a good tool to have in your discernment toolbox. Not as good as it could have been but still good.