Categotry Archives: movies

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Jesus At the Movies? (part 2)

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Categories: food for thought, movies

Last week, I started some ramblings about the new surge of “Christian” films that have been making it to movie theaters lately, and questioning whether we are once again missing the boat with our approach.  It was a discussion that at the time seemed very poignant, but may have actually been quite mundane. (Sometimes it’s hard to gauge when you’re just sending thoughts into the cosmic void known as the “blogosphere”.)

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More Thoughts on “Noah” (Now That I’ve Actually Seen It)

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Categories: food for thought, movies

So “Noah” came out this weekend, and true to form, religious-minded Christians are having a heyday with it.  Social media is ablaze over it, and not always in a good way. Even so, there are a few believers that seem to have kept a level head, and some have actually said some intelligent things about it.

Since I brought up this controversy earlier (see my post here), I figured now that I’ve actually seen the film, I might chime in one more time.  (I’ll try to avoid any spoilers in case you guys haven’t seen it yet.)

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Movie Trailer From The Director

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Categories: movies

So I mentioned I might be posting the trailer for The Director’s new short film, which my family has been working on all summer. The trailer just came out this week, so while I plan to continue my series on “The Path Toward Healing,” I just had to share this with you. Pretty stinkin’ proud of this guy.

Also, the music on the trailer is original, written by me. (Not bad for orchestra-in-a-box, or whatever you call it.)

 

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Well, This Doesn’t Happen Every Day…Not In Tulsa, Anyway

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Categories: movies, random stuff

So last night we caught a news clip that they were doing some on-location filming here in town for this movie. So today, we thought, what the heck…let’s go downtown and see if we can see anything. We honestly didn’t expect to see anything.

Turns out we were wrong.

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Historical Injustice

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Categories: food for thought, healing wounds, movies

As many of you know, I’ve been weaving a thread into this blog about the healing and restoration of women as part of the image of God, the honoring and releasing of their gifts–not just in church and leadership settings, but in life. There are still things that need to be said about this; I have about three posts churning in the incubator right about now.

One thing I’ve sort of harped on is the passive approach us guys (particularly in the church) tend to have toward this issue, where we don’t “officially” subscribe to the sexism/chauvinist vibe, but neither do we take any definitive action to make room for our sisters. Not realizing that there are many years of bad choices, Biblical misinterpretations and default mindsets to be undone, we tell ourselves that as long as we don’t set out to practice male favoritism, we are “in the clear”…thus allowing women to sort of fend for themselves in a climate that is still highly charged in favor of the male. So when someone shines the light on some subtle injustice in this area, the typical response is sort of, “What’s the big deal? Nobody was trying to exclude females…” …that kind of thing.

What we do not realize is that we cannot solve the root problem by simply “unsubscribing”, because we are actually coming from a long historical background of injustice, with many generations before us who have defaulted to sexist attitudes as the norm, and then passed those attitudes on. For most of us–both men and women–there’s an element of this that has been programmed into us, and we often default to it without even thinking. This is why the slope slants toward female oppression, and why we must lean against it purposefully. Although much progress has been made over the years, in reality, we still are fighting against the negative momentum of our own history.

Nothing could drive this point home to me more vividly than watching the movie The Duchess the other night on DVD. With these thoughts fresh in my mind, seeing this movie reminded me just how deep the injustice to women runs in the history of our Western culture. The movie tells the true story of Georgiana Cavendish (played by Keira Knightley), an 18th-century socialite whose primary expectation in her marriage to the Duke of Devonshire was to produce a male heir. How much of the film is historically accurate, I don’t know. But the attitudes and events depicted in the film were certainly true to form for the time period. There might be some spoilers here if you haven’t seen the movie, but here are just some of the examples of female injustice shown in the film:
  • Although adultery is considered immoral, married men have multiple affairs with little or no consequence; but if a wife is unfaithful, she is scandalized and punished severely.
  • When Georgiana asks the Duke to take in her best friend Bess Foster, who has been beaten by her husband and disowned, he takes her as a mistress, then refuses to remove her when Georgiana protests. The three live as an uncomfortable “family” until Georgiana’s death; then the Duke marries Bess.
  • Bess Foster’s explanation for becoming the Duke’s mistress is that she has been forbidden to see her children, and her only hope for retrieving them is for the Duke to wield his influence in her favor.
  • When Georgiana tries to “make a deal” by condoning the affair with Bess in return for permission to have an affair of her own…the Duke threatens her severely, then rapes her.
  • When Georgiana (in a desperate search for love) eventually engages in her own affair with an up-and-coming politician, the Duke threatens to ruin her lover’s political career and separate Georgiana forever from her children, unless she ends the affair. She concedes.
  • Early in the marriage, before Georgiana even has children of her own, the Duke takes in one of his illegitimate daughters when the girl’s mother dies, and demands that Georgiana raise her as her own. By contrast, when Georgiana is found to be pregnant with her lover’s child after the affair ends, the Duke forces her to go away into seclusion until the child is born, then give the child up to her lover’s family.
As you can tell, much of the story deals with various issues of sexual immorality, and the inconsistent treatment between men and women. But what is most striking here is not that the women weren’t “allowed” the same sexual privileges as men (because adultery was unilaterally considered immoral)…but that the men were not held to the same standard of faithfulness, nor were they ever accountable for sin. At no time, even after the rape, did the Duke ever take responsibility for his own behavior–and Georgiana, while being held under sharp discipline for her own errors, was never able to bring the Duke to account for his own misdeeds.

In other words, it wasn’t just that the woman had no rights. It was that the woman had no voice.

For those who have been tracking these discussions about gender on the blogs…doesn’t that sound familiar? Is this not at the very heart of what we’ve been talking about in recent days?

It’s not just about “women’s rights”–it’s about restoring the woman’s voice. Still–after all these years, and after all this progress, apparently we haven’t got the point yet. The root issue behind 18th-century sexism is the same root issue today. This is precisely what I mean when I say we are fighting against our own history.

When I watched this film, and the pain inflicted these women, I could easily see the correlation between that day and ours–the pain we men still inflict on the women when we respond to them with a cavalier, “What’s the big deal?” It may not be as blatantly oppressive as the culture of 18th-century England, but it is no less hurtful to the soul. Because when we take that “passive” stance, we are still sending our sisters the same subtle message: Your opinion doesn’t matter. You have no voice.

It hurts. It’s unjust. And it still reeks.

It is interesting that when talking about repentance, the focus of Scripture seems to be not so much on repentance for sin, but on repentance from it. (See Heb. 6:1) To repent means to turn around, to change the mind. This suggests to me that the heart of repentance isn’t just about not doing bad things anymore, but about reversing the mentality that produced the bad behavior in the first place. Repentance for sin only deals with the past, but does nothing toward the future. It isn’t enough to just stop moving in a negative direction; we must actually turn away and move in the positive direction, from the inside out. This, to me, is repentance from sin, because it sets a new course for the future.

By the same token, we can’t heal the gender wounds by simply thinking we can stop the outward behaviors of bias and oppression, because those behaviors come naturally from a long, deep-rooted history of injustice. To repent from the oppression of our sisters means we deal with that root directly–not just making politically-correct changes to the outward behavior, but changes to the internal mindsets, that subtle programming that has convinced us men for generations that our voice is more important than that of a female. It means that we actively (not passively) choose to live in a new reality.

It means we don’t just “learn a lesson” from the historical injustice of our past; it means we create a new legacy for the future.

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Dude, This Movie Rocks

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Categories: movies, Things that Are Amazingly Awesome

Don’t ask me why, but a theater in Tulsa showed the new Star Trek movie a day early. I live in a family of “Trekkies”, so we went to see it.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I won’t give you any spoilers. But despite the young Kirk, the young Spock, and the young other guys…this movie is not a “prequel”, and it is not a “remake” of the original Star Trek. It is actually a sequel. And it is done in a way that opens up a way for them to do future movies, if they want, without compromising the original story line.

How do they do this? You just have to see it to understand. All I will say is that it’s just about the most brilliant, ingenious story-writing I have ever seen.

One bit of irony I found that made me chuckle (again, no spoilers here) was in the credits.

The movie’s OUTSTANDING special effects were credited to…Industrial Light & Magic. Which, of course, is owned by George Lucas.

Yep. Star Trek…brought to you by Star Wars.

Awesome. 🙂

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Thoughts on Revolution, and Choosing Life

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Categories: food for thought, movies

Yesterday, I saw the movie Revolutionary Road. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give too many details so as not to spoil it for you; and a bit of caution–there is adult content in it, and it is NOT for children.

But I have to tell you that it was one of the most thought-provoking, powerful, intelligent statements about living life that I have seen in a movie.

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The Show Must Go On?

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Categories: changing mindsets, church, food for thought, movies

I’m thinking of old movie, one of those formulaic wartime entertainment feel-good musicals, called Diamond Horseshoe. The plot isn’t too memorable, but there’s an interesting standing joke throughout the movie. The Diamond Horseshoe is one of those old-timey nightclubs with the stage show. Early in the movie, the manager repeats the well-known mantra, “The show must go on!” To which one of the main characters asks, simply, “Why?”

“Why what?”

Why must the show go on?”

This question gets repeated several times through the movie, and it frustrates everyone because, of course, nobody really knows why the show must go on. It just has to. The show must go on, because it must. Because…it just has to.

It’s kind of funny. But if you think about it, it’s not, really. Because whenever you have a mindless axiom like this which no one can explain…it demands mindless obedience from everyone. That is, until some wise guy has the gall to ask why. And then it messes everyone up.

The show must go on. But…why?

Brother Maynard shared some thoughts a few days ago about some sad news coming from the Lakeland Revival. It appears that Todd Bentley has filed for separation from his wife. The following quote is from Charisma’s website:

The board of directors at Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries released a statement Tuesday afternoon that praised the “outpouring” in Lakeland led by Bentley, but also acknowledged “an atmosphere of fatigue and stress” that more than 100 daily meetings had created, which “exacerbated existing issues in [Bentley’s marriage].”

Just yesterday, Bentley’s Board of Directors released a statement on the ministry website revealing that Bentley “has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff” and will be stepping down from the ministry for counsel.

Now, I have mentioned some concerns about these meetings, and about Bentley, in previous posts, and I don’t really desire to use this situation to crucify Bentley on this blog. I am saddened, not vindicated, by this news. Blog-land is lit up with people discussing various aspects of this, including some healthy questioning of the so-called apostolic movement. But I want to look at it from a slightly different angle.

There will likely be those diehard defenders of the revival who will blame this on the devil, saying that Bentley was a target for spiritual attack because of the “great work” he was doing. But there is a different way to look at this. The key words are “an atmosphere of fatigue and stress.” That’s actually very telling.

If Bentley’s separation were an isolated incident, it would be easy enough simply to turn the spotlight on him and his personal issues, or to let it reinforce existing suspicions about his sincerity. But in fact, this story plays over and over again. Bentley and his family join a long line of casualties, a long list of ministers and their families who have suffered and/or fallen as a result of “the ministry.” From high-profile failings like Ted Haggard or Randy and Paula White; to the daughter of a nationally-known evangelist who was found wandering drunk and naked in the men’s dorm of the Christian college she attended; to the pastor whose children and ex-wife now want nothing to do with the ministry, or his version of Christianity…the list goes on. Countless ministers falling, countless marriages suffering, countless “preachers kids” being alienated, until we just consider it a normal pitfall of “the ministry.”

But is it? Should this really be happening? Perhaps it’s time we start asking the question: Why must the show go on?

Who said this kind of stuff was supposed to be “par for the course” where ministry is concerned? Do we find this in the Bible someplace? Where did we get the idea that revival should be an “atmosphere of fatigue and stress?” At what point do we stop blaming the devil for this stuff, and start asking honest questions about a religious system that puts a few high-profile people on pedestals for their gifts, placing on their shoulders enough super-human expectation to drive the strongest of them to compulsive behaviors?

I can’t help but be reminded of what Jesus said about following Him: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It seems to me that when our personal lives are collapsing under the weight of our spiritual responsibilities, we must be adding some stuff on that Jesus never intended.

And yet…we keep replaying the same situations over and over, with the same results. Because, of course…the show must go on.

I do believe there is a devil who tries to thwart us, and I also recognize that individuals are responsible for their own bad choices. But I also think it’s far too easy just to blame the devil, or to demonize the person who fell. I think this speaks of a much bigger problem. This might just be one man’s opinion, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s more than just a “spiritual battle”. I think the whole institutional churchy structure, by its nature, tends to over-exalt people, restrict true accountability, and stifle the healing process that we all need (including the guys and girls on the platform). And since so many aspects of our Christian culture are not even found in Scritpure, I wonder why we continue to fight so hard to maintain and defend them–especially if they are contributing to the damage.

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