Who or what do people see in their mind's eye when they picture God?
That's what Nathan Lang, the director of the film "God in the Box," wanted to find out.
“I got it in my head six years ago – what God looked like to me as a kid was very a different image to me as an adult, and what I’ve come to realize is that no two people have exactly the same description of God,” director Nathan Lang, who is offering community screenings through organizations to incite lively discussions, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “In the end, all we have is our own opinions. Historically, we’ve had all these ideas pressed upon us. But this gives people the private space to express and illustrate their views.”
“God in the Box” chronicles the trials and tribulations of Lang and his small filmmaking crew as they traveled across the nation, from California, through the Rockies, the Heartland and the South, before wrapping in New York City, with a simple black box. The box, set up with a camera and a pen and paper, provided an outlet for people from all walks of life to stop in for five minutes of private time to share and draw what God means and looks like to them.
“It was remarkable in that both believers and non-believers were just grateful to have that space and not feel like that had to defend their views to anyone. They could simply just contemplate, reflect and share,” Lang continued. “And what we found was that America really is a very moderate nation. Both believers and non-believers are interested and want to learn from others, but on TV we only really see the radicals, because that makes more entertaining viewing. But a clear snapshot of America is people who want to listen.”
The film also offers a diverse collection of theologians, historians and a mythologist, as well as pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams, in its efforts to give some perspective on who and how our perceptions of God have been shaped in the 21st century. Lang is also encouraging people to go online and join the conversation.
“It’s important to have [a discussion] because it shows we are united in our differences, we don’t have to agree on exactly what God is to get along,” Lang stressed.
And while hundreds of people made their way in and out of the box, sharing their personal perceptions of a higher power, there was one particular person who left Lang with a lot to think about regarding the presence of the man upstairs.
“We were in Birmingham, Alabama and a man named Randal came by – he was in a wheelchair as he had cerebral palsy and was very hard to understand. He kept trying to say he wanted to go in the box, and we didn’t think it would make the film… but the footage blew my mind,” Lang added. “He was somebody who had lived to defy all the doctors’ expectations and health standards, he doesn’t complain about his life or money, he has a smile on his face and is just so grateful. He is such a special person, and seeing him in there was a real transformative experience for me.”