NPR Interview – Rocky vs Drew Goodmanson

 For those following the recent posts, I am going to be on NPR (National Public Radio) regarding the Rocky movie being marketed to churches & pastors.  If you'd like to catch it, it is going to be on NPR's Day to Day National Show (at 11:30am on KPBS radio here in San Diego).  From what I've been told, it is going to include TBN founder and president Paul Crouch, Sylvester Stalone and me.  Again, this all goes back to the post Hollywood: Turning the Christian Faith into a Marketing Gimmick.  The audio from the show will be posted 'Rocky Balboa' Born Again in Christian Theme'.

 UPDATE: I interviewed for 20 minutes and they took a two sentence sound bite.  My main points were:

1. Christians should use film and all forms of art in sermons.  At our Kaleo Church we have a whole area dedicated to art/culture.

2. To me, the Rocky marketing crossed the line when they said this was a 'Christian Film' even preparing sermon series for pastors to use in their preaching.  For example, one study suggests, "Involve women and girls in your study…noting Rocky's high regard and respect for women – a powerful theme." Or they suggest preaching using an illustration where one of the tallest in the congregation is faced by a junior high kids with gloves on for "an underdog meets Goliath" sketch.  Again, a misrepresentation of the thrust of what this story means.    

3. Additionally, the message/theme behind Rocky is NOT the gospel.  The good news isn't about our faith and courage, but about Jesus.  Jesus was courageous, he is the one who was perfectly faithful.  He lived the life we could not and paid the price for our sins so that we can be reconciled to God.  He was not just an example (as Rocky's marketing tells us) but he is our Savior. 

Sadly, I communicated the gospel through my interview 3 or so times, but it managed to find itself in the editing recycling bin.

  • jason allen

    December 20, 2006, 1:56 pm

    I appreciate the three points you make. Very well said. Keep at it, maybe next time they won’t discard your presentation of the gospel. 🙂

  • Justin Buzzard

    December 20, 2006, 2:16 pm

    Glad you did this Drew.
    Bummer they didn’t keep your gospel plugs.
    I mean, Jesus!!!!!!!!!!
    PS. WordPress looks cooler than Typepad. Maybe that’s your secret.

  • Jon

    December 21, 2006, 12:31 am

    Thanks for standing against the travesty of this blatantly commercial attempt to further confuse, distort, and obscure the Gospel.

  • Queue

    December 21, 2006, 7:54 am

    why should a radio programme take time to air a message that is already widely available in the US, when it’s story is about marketing to christians? They only have so much air time, that seems like a lot to ask them, ‘can you take two minutes out of your show to let me preach the gospel?’ In my opinion: “why?” you already have Sunday and every other minute and hour of the rest of the week to preach it. Now you need to preach it on somebody else’s radio programme? Just seems like a lot to ask in my opinion.

  • John Arrell

    December 21, 2006, 8:15 am

    I think it is pertty self-centered to think that NPR is going to air your entire 20 minute interview. Especially if you spent most of the time preaching. Even if everything you said was amazing, it wouldn’t be possible to run it all. Think about how many 20 minute interviews they conduct everyday. They only have so much time for each topic. I would be grateful that they even cared enough about what you said to air any of it. I don’t recall the last time (never) that I was interviewed about my views on anything at all.

  • D. Goodmanson

    December 21, 2006, 10:54 am

    John, I wasn’t thinking they’d air the entire 20 minutes of my interview. I hoped to have the thrust of my message communicated rather than a sound bite that by itself didn’t reflect the view I stated in the above post.

    “why should a radio programme take time to air a message that is already widely available in the US, when it‚Äôs story is about marketing to christians?”
    Queue, if the majority belief is Christianity, one could argue that the “National Public Radio” should spent more time talking about Christians. I’m not a big fan of that but I believe the case could be made. Ultimately, I’m thankful that thousands of people like you will read this post and see the gospel presented on this blog from the exposure of being on NPR.

  • BigPoppa

    December 22, 2006, 12:09 am

    Seems as if you have a bit of an axe to grind. To start off saying someone seems “self-centered” and then distort his opinion by attempting to recast his statement into a complaint that they didn’t air everything he said is just a bit childish. Perhaps we should all take a course in blog etiquette so these kinds of comments are found less and less- and I certainly include myself in this!

    It’s just odd when someone posts on this blog, you can certainly tell who is genuinely looking to engage in conversation, and those that seem to just be looking for some secondary point to pick out and critique.

  • Gus Svendsen

    December 22, 2006, 12:55 pm

    I just listened to the broadcast. Your comments were well articulated. Way to represent!

    Ironically, through controversial blogs and hot dialogs such as this, the movie marketing engine has served its purpose. This weekend, I’ll pay my $9 to earn the right to judge the film for its personal and spiritual impact on my life. Only then can I begin to investigate ways of using the man-made ‚Äúparable‚Äù to communicate a message that points to the saving grace of Christ‚Äôs finished work. …Um, just as I should do with all things.

    Oh, and I might go see that Nativity film too. That’s still out, right? 😉


  • David Fairchild

    December 26, 2006, 10:28 am

    By the way, here is the link in case anyone is interested:


    Drew, I thought you did a great job. Also, I think the reporter did a fair job as well.

  • Perry McCall

    December 29, 2006, 9:53 am

    I especially like points 1&2 together. We should be using culture and the arts. However, we can’t use it all just for the sake of using pop culture. We must be discerning.

  • Carlos

    December 31, 2006, 9:02 am

    You did an awesome job defending the good news, 20 minutes was not enough, they should have given you more.

  • Kathy

    January 10, 2007, 2:43 am

    “The more I go to church,” he said, “and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.”

    HE knows Jesus is Savior, read around the net and he was on the 700 Club. He has known it for years but has now woken up to practicing it. I think it is a great idea on what he is trying to do with the Rocky movie. You know what, one of the things I noticed about Rocky in the first movie and on is how he respected Adrian and how what an awesome boyfriend, husband and friend he was to her. And how he even slept on the couch while she sleeped in his bed when she needed to move in due to abuse from her brother. Now there are so called Christians out there that live together and sleep together, and not just sleep, and they arent even married. So that stuff to be talked about is a good idea for growing up girls. So they dont get sucked into the world out there…… be in the world and not of it!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope this makes it more clear on what Sylvester Stallone was trying to do. I am sure it is a more wholesome movie than the Spidermans, Harry Potters, etc out there and who knows what else I can compare……..I havent seen them, but I did spend my money on Rocky Balboa and it was worth it. Also, he always wanted to be a provider for Adrian as the husband is to do……so this even helps with when the girls grow up they can really have the knowledge on a good, hard working, loving and RESPECTING man! To know a real guy vs. a phony!!!! I think I just did a book report. This is just a bit of what the Rocky movies have shown me. I am so happy he has seen the light and following the Lord as he wanted to after he lost his way in Hollywood. Good for him, be glad someone is really putting there well known self out there for HIM and is already being criticized for it. I thought Hollywood would do it first. He didnt have to do all of this, for he knew criticism would be given, but that is what carrying the cross is all about! Good for him!

  • Kathy

    January 11, 2007, 4:34 am

    I did want to add that in Rocky Balboa, Rocky’s old friend from fighting in Rocky I read a description of a Zechariah verse, “it is not by strength, not by might, but by His Spirit we have already claimed victory in our Lord Jesus Christ.” So I wanted to add to what I wrote and say, once more, he is for real about Christianity. And he is starting with this movie to do his part in being a Christian. And once more I sincerely say good for him. He isnt afraid to share his faith and reach out to others about it.

  • Salazar

    January 13, 2007, 7:17 pm

    You know, it’s my perspective that Rocky is what it is. One shouldn’t change the foundation of the character after 20 years, not even the creator himself. It’s a proven statistic that the Christan market is huge, and Hollywood wants more and more of the pie as time goes on.

    Sylvester Stallone may be a Christian. But just because he was on the 700 club doesn’t make him so. Robertson is a crazy loon, I don’t care who you are. Anyone who says “sometimes I miss” when referring to his prophecy track record, is not a prophet. I don’t give two flips about his 700 club. Same goes for Benny Hinn or Paul and Jan Crouch.

    My personal opinions are neither here nor there I guess, but I agree with you. Rocky Balboa could be used by a stretch of the imagination, but maybe creating a website with personal resources for your ministry was taking it a little too far.

  • Kathy

    January 14, 2007, 7:06 am

    Give Sly credit for reaching out period! If he is trying to grow in The Lord, so be it! Why criticize a guy who is just trying to do what is on his heart, my goodness! Also, I have met Pat Robertson, and was in a Sunday worship with him and he is a genuine man. I was touched after I spoke with him that he asked me to pray for him. The mission of the organization is unbelievable and all the reaching out they do and I am glad to be a part of it. Muslims, having visions of Christ……..have you heard that? And one who was part of the terrorist group who was responsible for 9/11 has turned his life over to The Lord. This is just some of the things I have learned on their travels throughout the world. All in all their reaching out is not a joke. First on the seen for the Tsunami victims! He has always said when he speaks on what he believes The Lord tells him, that that is what he believes was spoken to him and to not take it verbatum etc. He never says, now folks this is the word for such and such a year. The guy leads people to Christ every day and doesnt considered himself a prophet. If you people on here are Christians, please stop casting stones on Sly and Pat Robertson. At least they are trying to serve The Lord. Sly I believe is a young babe in The Lord and is trying his best as he is growing. Please let this be the end to the ridiculing.

  • Kathy

    January 14, 2007, 7:53 am

    P.S. Sly never changed the makeup of the character. Did you ever see Rocky I ??? What is the first thing you see in the movie? It all started from there and always wearing the cross on a necklace and praying before his fights. Praying for his wife during her coma and thanking God when Adrian came out of a coma. The character of the guy hasnt changed. The description is finally getting out in case no one realized it, which isnt hard to see!!! I already realized the character was a heck of a guy and brought to my attention on how that is how a boyfriend/husband should be according to the word of The Lord. I was so taken by that. This description is getting out also probably because it is at a time when Sly has turned his heart back to The Lord and is overjoyed and cant help but try to do what is on his heart. So, once more the foundation on the character was NEVER changed. And also, in the Rocky Balboa training scene, it was written to have snow and it finally snowed after some days of just flurries. So they filmed the rest of the training asap and when finished the snow stopped. Sly said he thanked The Lord for such an awesomeness (awesomeness is my summarazing) for the final filming of the training was very emotional for him. Sly knew he was finishing a 30 year run and it now ended. He didnt think the snow stopping was a small thing. Where I am going with this is because of the comment on “he may be a Christian” and “being on the 700Club doesnt make it so”. I am just trying to stick up for a man who is a young pup in The Lord and I cant help but type all of this. I also dont think it was a small thing that the sky opened up and then stopped snowing after the training scene. AWESOME! I can go on and on about the Rocky Balboa movie’s affect on me, well, I will…… has drilled in me to believe in myself and I was reminded that I am special to The Lord……which The Lord wants us to remember when trials come our way. For me not to measure my worth on what people think of or do to me , again I am special to The Lord. Another thing I observed too was his heart for his wife even years after she died…………what a character he created and is going back to trying to live like since he went astray for many years of not practicing what he was promoting! Hats off to him.

  • Kathy

    January 14, 2007, 8:07 am

    P.P.S. I also loved how he pointed upwards to indicated he was thanking The Lord etc. at the end of the fight…………..the picture above this. Which reminds me that he most of all thanked God in the Rocky II winning. Ok I am done. I hope this again puts an end to him being criticized, as he shouldnt be. May there be some convicting on how he has been talked about and happiness that he is just doing what is on and in his heart.