Pastor Chuck Kitchens sees God's hand at work in the creation of My Son, the first feature film produced by Burleson's Retta Baptist Church. As he's told the religious press, it was the Lord who placed its director, a 31-year-old film editor named Jarod O'Flaherty, in the pews every Sunday. It was to Him that the crew prayed during their day-long script-writing session, and it was He who assembled the cast.
"I believe that God puts people in churches to do the things that God wants to do," he told the Baptist Standard. "Rather than just keeping salt in the salt shaker, we decided to get out into the world."
The film's R rating, on the other hand, was the work of the decidedly secular MPAA.
"Forrest Gump was given a PG-13 rating. We're given an R, and you say 'There's got to be something else. ... There could be some kind of bias against our message, which is the presentation of the Gospel," Kitchens told WFAA in an interview on Tuesday.
The R, according to the movie poster, is for "some" drug use (a young mother smokes weed, then gets her kid taken away) and violence (the boy's father arms himself and raids a church to get the child back), both of which seem fairly staid when compared with Hollywood fare.
"When people have seen the film, they are shocked by the rating," Kitchens told the Southern Baptist Texan.
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Nevertheless, despite worries that pastors might be hesitant to promote an R-rated movie from the pulpit, Retta Baptist is moving forward with its red-carpet premiere, scheduled for September 20 at Burleson's Premiere Cinema.
And maybe, just maybe, God was guiding the heathens at the MPAA for the attention the "Restricted" label was bound to generate. All the better for reaching the "unchurched." That said, here's the trailer:
Retta Baptist Church