Tyler Perry – Spreading Christianity In A Non-Traditional Way
By now, everyone has heard of Tyler Perry and his famous character named Madea. If you haven’t, Tyler Perry writes and directs movies from his own studio and in many of his movies he cross dresses as Madea and Perry describes her as, “God-fearing, gun-toting, pot-smoking, loud-mouthed grandmother”. One of the unique aspects of Perry’s movies is that they traditionally receive negative feedback from critics but the movies remain profitable. Some of his biggest critics come from the same demographic that he is targeting and that is the black community while others come from the Christian community. His movies address prostitution, drugs, broken families, troubled youth and the over all break down of society which can be found in all demographics of society BUT his movies have a Christian undertone demonstrating how all of these current day blights can be remedied.
I am not going to address why parts of the black community think negatively about Perry’s movies while other parts support him. The issues in his movies can be found in every section of society and thus the true message of his movies concerning the ultimate hope through God applies to all. A prime of example is in Madea’s Big Happy Family where a character is diagnosed with cancer for the second time and is going to die. This scenario is played out across all of society everyday but the difference is that in Perry’s movie the character is at peace with dying because she knows God and that she is heading for a better place.
There is debate though as to whether Perry’s movies are truly spreading Christianity correctly. The central character Madea doesn’t truly represent a Christian way of living with her constant court appearance for her actions, harsh language (void of swearing), viewpoints on how to handle situations and apparent dislike for church even though she thinks others should attend. Madea though is the central character that holds the extended family together in times of crisis. It is the supporting cast that brings the need for Christ into the stories of despair in Perry’s movies. Perry is not afraid to mix the realities of our current culture, family dynamics and God into his movies and this is where I think many Christians find offense.
I read articles concerning Perry and his movies written by Christians and there seems to be a recurring theme that Tyler Perry is deviating from his Christian beliefs when he creates a movie that has offensive material within it making it unsuitable at times for a younger audience. I DO NOT believe that this assumption is true. First of all, Perry isn’t targeting a younger audience with his stories and second he is attempting to capture the attention of an audience that can relate to the negative aspects of the stories but show that there is a solution and a way out…..GOD. Granted Perry has taken a non-traditional way of achieving his goal and I think that is why he receives negative reviews and has had to build his own studios for his movies. Many of his movies include scenes from church, praying, and gospel music.
I can think of someone else that used non-traditional methods to reach an audience about God and received negative reviews in his day……JESUS CHRIST. The world is filled with many unique groups of people that need to hear that there is hope through CHRIST in a world full of despair but Christians need to realize that a cookie cutter approach doesn’t work for everyone. Christians need to have an open mind to new ideas and support those who utilizing their resources and talents as the Bible commands to be a Fisher of Men for God.
For a full bio of Tyler Perry visit his website and learn more about how he is a devout Christian in word as well as deed. Also be sure to read this great article from the USA TodayTruth Be Told which addresses his faith.
A great clip to watch……Truth Be Told