While Constantine is an excellent Hollywood film, it’s also just that – a Hollywood film. Not surprisingly, there is much imperfect, messy theology in the movie. However, a wise ministry leader knows how to turn almost any moment into a “teachable moment” and instill truth in the hearts of his or her students. And, a prudent ministry leader understands that opportunities like Constantine can also be used to foster heresy and misunderstandings. This material is also designed to help you shine the light of truth on some of those unclear theological issues. But what makes Constantine so terrific for the average group leader is that it gets the big picture pretty much right. There’s Heaven and Hell. There’s God and Satan. There are angels and demons. It’s all right there in them ovie – and there’s no way that people coming out of Constantine won’t be talking about these topics.
You know right off that anything that calls Constantine an excellent Hollywood Film (rated Rotten by rottentomatoes.com) is going to be pretty laughable. It does not soon disappoint with this suggested theological crowd breaker for a youth group.
To get the meeting rolling, play Angels, Demons, Man – a version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Have your students pairu p and stand back-to-back. When you say, “Ready, Set, GO!” the players spin around in one of three positions:
- Angel (hands in armpits, flapping “wings” and say, “Blessings!”)
- Demon (hands in air with fingers curved like talons and say “Curses!”)
- Man (hands on hips and say, “Hi there!”)
The Man defeats the Angel, the Angel defeats the Demon, and the Demon defeats the Man. (Quick theological disclaimer: no hierarchy or teaching is implied in this game!) Have the winners pair up with other winners andplay again. Rinse and repeat until you have a single winner left.
What the Man defeats the Angel and Demon defeats the Man? Maybe if you fast first before putting your hands on your hips and saying "Hi There" you overcome the Demon. Then there is this.
Angels Are Awesome – Try to put into your own words Daniel’s description of the angel. This guy, although in human form, was one scary dude!
One scary dude, yep that just about nails the description of demonic angels.
Play the old favorite: Twister with a bit of a twist. (Get it? Twister? Twist? Hehehe!) Divide into four teams, and have each team choose a player. While the players are tying themselves into knots, their teammates cheer them on. When a player is eliminated, a new player from the cheering section takes his or her place. Play until only a
single player remains.
Mention that the difficulty of playing Twister is trying to be two or more places at once. In the film, Heaven and Hell coexists with our world. When a person dies, they are in the exact same room or spot – only they’re in Heaven or Hell. This concept of alternate realities isn’t too far from the actual truth. Heaven and Hell do exist, but in a
different dimension of time-space. The spiritual realm is not restricted to the four dimensions that make up our reality (up, down, forward, back and time)
The last part doesn’t sound quite right to me. Besides using time-space instead of the normal space-time, Heaven and Hell as well as Purgatory exist outside of time.
One question though is since the movie is steeped in Catholic iconography and some Catholic theology why is the Bible guide they commissioned of an Evangelical bent? Not that the study guide really veers too far from Catholic doctrine other then a decidedly faith alone perspective. It would have been interesting if they had also put out a Catholic Constantine companion especially to correct some of the films lapses such that people who commit suicide can not be interned in a Catholic cemetery (this is no longer true.) Maybe it is a positive thing that some in Hollywood are reaching out to religious believers, but since they never get the theology in movies right it is not surprising that they wouldn’t get Bible guides wrong also.