THE SHINING: Wisdom and Prophecy | FCC 78

In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, we learn that God’s wisdom and prophecy can save people from a scary world. Join us as we discuss these and more Christian themes in this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:15 – Movie Discussion 
  • 00:58:55 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:07:25 – Lightning Round 
  • 01:12:50 – Upcoming 

The Wisdom of Three

The Overlook Hotel is a scary place, presumably too scary for one person. That, however, does not stop Jack Torrance from trying to survive in it by himself. The shadow of isolation does not phase him; in fact, he shuns any love and support from his wife and son for the sake of his novel. Unfortunately, he ends up pushing them away too far, so when the evil of the house makes its home in his heart, he is fully committed to obeying it instead of loving his family.

This image from THE SHINING shows Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance.

But Wendy and Danny can better survive in this big, scary world because they cling to each other. They don’t even try to take on the evil of the Overlook by themselves; they run to each other and have each other’s backs. And if the two of them weren’t strong enough to succeed, they have the additional help of Dick Hallorann, the Overlook’s head chef who has not been stained by that scary world. The three of them illustrate God’s wisdom as written by the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes: while one can be defeated, two can fight for and defend each other, and three is even better.

The Prophecy of One

Even God’s practical wisdom, however, isn’t enough to keep the Overlook Hotel from being an evil place, stained by the evil deeds of those who were there before. The hotel was the location of a brutal homicide in which caretaker Delbert Grady murdered his wife and two daughters with an axe – the very same axe that he has passed on to Jack Torrance to do the same thing.

This is the kind of evil that Danny – who has the gift of the “shining” – warns everyone else about. Danny via Tony (the little boy that lives inside Danny’s mouth) doesn’t even want to live in the hotel for five months and is very vocal about his opposition. Unfortunately, his warnings fall on his parents’ deaf ears, and the rest is a horror movie.

This image from THE SHINING shows Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann.

This then becomes an illustration of a prophet proclaiming what he had been told by God and the people not listening to Him. It’s a common theme in the narrative of the Jewish people, and it’s represented here in Danny warning his mom and dad about the terrors of the Overlook Hotel and them not heeding his words.

Key Texts

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Zechariah 1:4 AMP

Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Repent [that is, change your way of thinking] and return now from your evil way [of life] and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or pay attention to Me,” declares the Lord.

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people's hearts.
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  • Philip Heard

    Wow guys, you really had your work cut out for you with this one. And I must say you showed off just how steeped you are in scripture to be able to make biblical parallels with The Shining. I was at a loss myself, especially since I had difficulty making sense of the film. The cinematography and direction was excellent, I really enjoyed much of the shot composition. I think one thing I can pull from it is that Mr. Hallorann felt a calling, sort of like how a missionary is called by God. He was obedient to that call and responded to it fearlessly, even though it cost him his life. In the end, his mission was successful, and as Christians, we need to have a big picture view of the mission field. If someone is called and tragedy happens, as is often the case around the world, that is not failure, but victory eternally. The pain of loss is real, but we have eternal hope and can trust God to be in control through His providence. I think that sometimes the decision to be obedient may be the main struggle, and could that be God’s main concern at times when He gives a calling? If I feel God calling me to do something, I can only hope to be as obedient as Mr. Hallorann was.

    Love the show guys! #GaddyWillsIt #muhweeladgimli

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