I don't think it ever crossed my mind that one day a mission film would be deemed unsuitable for under 16s; but then I don't think it ever crossed my mind that one like the BMS This Dark World DVD would ever be made.
The focus is on a project working with women sex-workers in Bangkok, and it pushes a few boundaries on comfortable Christian film-making. It voices the fact that among the sex-tourists in Bangkok are Christian men; it speaks openly of occult practices in parts of Thailand and of the work of deliverance ministry for those affected; it speaks honestly of causes of women entering the industry: poverty and trafficking being predominant; it acknowledges the factors that may drive lonely, disillusioned or broken men to seek escape or solace in the arms of a beautiful young woman, only to be rejected despite their willingness to pay.
There are no quick fix solutions, and the BMS supported project operates at many levels, from befriending, to offering paid work, to sharing faith, and so on. The accompanying resource material is challenging for western church-folk because it forces people to recognise their own brokenness and temptation as well as thinking about issues far away; it requires them to consider supernatural as well as human factors in our behaviours; it forces women to think about how men might feel as well as men to consider their attitudes to women.
Rather than offering answers, we are left with questions. Rather than sticking plasters solution and twee prayers, we are challenged to think deeply and pray earnestly. In some ways the over 16s label isn't just about the content but about the response... grown up issues need grown up thinking and if this is how it can be facilitated, then all to the good.
I admire the risk BMS has taken here, finding a line that is appropriate in showing girls in bars waiting to be picked up without inadvertently leading astray those who may be especially vulnerable to temptation of this kind. I admire the songs by Pete James that reflect his own western, male, perspective and the questions with which he is left. And above all, I admire Emily Chalke and the others at Night Light Bangkok who live with grace and love the gospel they also share in words.