Grant Horner stopped by for a quick interview. He has written Meaning at the Movies.
Christian Book Notes (CBN): Could you share your testimony of how you came to know Christ as Lord and Savior.
Grant Horner (GH): I was converted at the age of 18 1/2. I had been heavily into drugs for about 4 years, and was functional but still a real mess, ready to crash at any moment. I used marijuana, amphetamines (speed), Quaaludes, mescaline, and took lots of LSD. I also sold from time to time. I was very heavily into LSD and addicted to speed. A very bad combination. I really should be dead, to tell the truth. A Bible was put into my hand and I began to read. I had never read scripture before, never really heard a solid sermon, never really heard the gospel before, even. I read just 5 or 6 chapters in the gospels, said to myself – ‘oh, no – this is true, and I’m in trouble!’ and I was converted right then and there, and also miraculously released from the drugs.
(CBN): Please share more about your self (ministry, family, books, etc.–this question always takes a different form depending on how it is answered.)
(GH): Joanne and I were married in 1983 and we have three kids: Seth (25 and married to Carmen from Canada), Josiah (23 and engaged to Linda from Uganda), and Rachel (17). We live just north of LA in Santa Clarita, where I am a Professor at The Master’s College. I have a new book out from Crossway Meaning at the Movies which is a theological study of film and culture – it has been a bestseller and getting good reviews, which is really exciting for me! I have served as an elder in an Evangelical Free Church that we have been attending for about ten years, and I teach there regularly, as well as travelling all over the US speaking.
(CBN): Readers here at Christian Book Notes know the name Grant Horner more because of your Ten Lists Bible Reading plan. Can you explain how you came about this particular plan? How long have you been reading your bible according to this plan?
(GH): As a brand new Christian the Bible was entirely new to me and very intimidating. I could not get a handle on it as quickly as I wanted to for the first few months. I was bewildered. I found a number of programs, but none of them seemed to work for me. There was simple one in a tract that caught my eye that had you reading a lot of books at once, and so I adapted it and built in all the other components as it now stands. I shared it with a few people over the years, but never thought about publicizing it. The original “plan” is still written in blue ink in my same Bible, from 1983!
I have been doing it off and on since then.
(CBN): Can you give testimony to what reading your Bible with this plan has done for your walk with and knowledge of Christ?
(GH): Sure – it completely transformed me as a human being. I went from a confused, rebellious, selfish drug addict to what God is making me to be every day: new in Him. Many of my friends from my old life ended up dead, or in rehab, or just plain ruined. But here I am – through no goodness of my own, that’s for sure.
(CBN): Your recent book, Meaning at the Movies, is an excellent treatise on how and why to be discerning when watching a movie. How much of your college class on film influenced the writing of this book?
(GH): Well, I’ve been teaching film for about 14 years, but I’d say that most of the ideas came about largely independent of that. The main thesis of the book, what I call the “origins of culture from the suppression of truth” comes from reading scripture and a few of my favorite theologians, especially Augustine and Calvin. But interaction with students is always a great place to work through ideas. I tend not to lecture but use Socratic-style discussions, with lots of questions being bounced around.
(CBN): What is your favorite movie of all time and (assuming it is not explicitly Christian) can you share what qualities you like about the movie as a Christian discerning its content?
(GH): I actually don’t really have one! I like a great many movies (and dislike many more, of course!) I like stories about humans experiencing human life and struggles as they really do. But that doesn’t mean I only like true-life stories; I also love science fiction and fantasy. I think “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is one of the greatest movies ever made. “Citizen Kane” is massively important in film history, and still plays well, and is also visually gorgeous. Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” is by far the best film version of the life of Christ, in my view.
(CBN): How can we be praying for you and your ministry?
(GH): That I would be faithful to be a good steward in using what God has given me to use for His glory!
(CBN): Thank you for your time. God bless.