spiritual elements

From the title, Honk for Jesus is inherently religious, although honest faith is rarely seen here. The film satirizes a certain type of ecclesiastical culture, that of the mega-church.

The film’s creators, twins Adamma and Adanne Ebo, grew up in this world and clearly know all the witty lingo that comes with the land. We hear countless uses of “God bless” (even though the characters mean the exact opposite); we see Bible verses spouted to illustrate a point or reinforce an argument. We see plenty of conflict, even as disagreements rage under moralizing language and fake smiles.

Honk for Jesus rarely attacks Christianity or Christian traditions themselves. The issue here is not faith, but rather how that faith (and the power that can come from being a religious leader) can be perverted and corrupted.

But there are a few exceptions.

First, we see Lee-Curtis “kill” a girl in the spirit, and some of his followers dance – both aspects seen in various streams of Christianity. But as the dance continues, the young girl is interviewed by the documentary team. She tells them, “I like good theater,” suggesting that these particular manifestations of her faith are simply made for show.

The second example is more complex. Some observers wonder, as the film goes on, why Trinitie stays with her husband, given his homosexual wanderings. Trinitia sometimes wonders too. But when she confesses to her mother that she is not sure if she can maintain the marriage, her mother berates her, asking if she is a Christian.

Matthew 19:9 tells us that sexual immorality can be grounds for divorce. But many Christian couples have even overcome this incredibly difficult problem. And Focus on the family (including Branch part) offers many tools to help husbands and wives through betrayal and crisis. (You can start researching these tools yourself by clicking here.)

The film suggests that it’s inconceivable that Trinitie would want to stay with her husband in light of his actions – and when he points out why she does, his reasons have nothing to do with honoring God. The reasons why Christian couples stay together after infidelity are often more complex and decidedly more spiritual.

It would be impossible to list all the examples of spirituality or religiosity that we see here, but a few scattered things to note:

The Childs’ biggest rivals, in terms of recruiting “sheep” (congregations), are Shakura and Keon Sumpter, a husband-and-wife pastoral team. While both couples claim to want the best for each other’s ministries, their actions suggest otherwise. We are told that the Wander to Greater Paths Baptist Church once had deacons, but Lee-Curtis and Trinitie abandoned this “unbiblical model” of leadership in exchange for their two-person rule. (That’s for sure, explicitly biblical.)

Lee-Curtis asks his wife to baptize him as a symbol of his recommitment to God. (She keeps him underwater long enough to suggest that a part of her might want more than just spiritual death for her husband.) Trinitia’s favorite hat shop is called “Bathsheba’s Bonnets.” We hear about some of the many, many programs offered by Wander to Greater Paths Baptist Church, including spiritual mime.

[Spoiler Warning] In an effort not to compete with the Sumpters, Lee-Curtis decides to speed up the reopening of his church. “God built this whole world in six days,” he told Triniti. “Call me overzealous, but I think I can rebuild ours in five.” In order to generate interest, Lee-Curtis had his wife dance outside the church with a “honk for Jesus” sign. As the day of the reopening approaches, they bring out a statue of black Jesus, a statue that, perhaps rightly, shows tears on its cheeks.

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