Category Archives: Movie Messages

Built to Last

I love to read and study about ancient history, especially buildings and artifacts. Some of the greatest achievements of the modern age pale in comparison to structures like the Egyptian Pyramids.

Not to long ago I watched a documentary about life on this planet without people.  It was quite an eye opener. And I was not surprised that all of our skyscrapers and achievements wouldn’t last that long without people around to maintain them. All I have to do is look at my house and see how easy things fall apart if you ignore them.

I believe there is a spiritual lesson here. Our relationships, the things we do, even who we are can start to decay if we fail to maintain them. Even things that are built to last will decay and fail if we ignore them.

Take a look at this interesting documentary on the planet without people.

Life After People – http://www.history.com/minisites/life_after_people

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Doug Powell – Engaging the Music Culture

Doug Powell, a Christian apologist, came and spoke at my church this past weekend. He talked a lot about engaging culture instead of running from it. He pointed to the Apostle Paul who engaged the thinkers of his day at Mars Hill.

Sometimes we think the best thing we can do is create a hedge around our families to protect them from the evil influences of the world. But this seems to suggest that we believe the influence of the world is stronger than the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Is it better to insulate from within than guard from without?

While Christians should certainly be careful what they digest in terms of media. We also should be aware enough of popular culture to engage those around us. Powell said that we can use pop culture to talk about big life issues with friends and neighbors because music, movies and TV are filled with concepts that touch on the Christian Gospel.

One of the things he did was play the music video of John Lennon’s Imagine. Then he showed the lyrics of the song and merely asked questions about what kind of world Lennon imagined. What kind of world has no thought of an after life, no governing authorities, no countries, no posessions, no concept of god? This is a world where this life is all there is. This is a world where there is no ultimate authority to maintain order. This is a world with no cultural identity. If there are no posessions, then we own nothing. This is a world with no faith. This is a world where we are at the mercy of the brotherhood of mankind. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b7qaSxuZUg 

 

That’s not much of a world if you ask me. You can see video of Doug’s messages at his Web site below.

http://www.selflessdefense.com/

Hulk 2 – Are you really serious?

I recently saw Iron Man on the big screen and was surprised by the previews. It looks like Hollywood is ready to take the super hero bandwagon to new heights of shame. As if the first Hulk movie wasn’t bad enough, they are coming out with a second one. And they recruited Edward Norton, one of my favorite actors, to actually star in the film.

Then, I came across this news parody written “by the Hulk” for the Onion. I laughed so hard that I almost dropped my laptop. Check it out. http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33980

Modern Prophets

“Documentary filmmakers are becoming the modern-day prophets. They’re the people who are looking at the world and seeing that things are not right and asking the provocative and challenging questions we need to hear to deal with issues of modern-day slavery, sex trafficking, poverty, hunger and justice. Moves can help us understand the place in the world where God really grieves the injustice and the evil we see.” – Will Stoller-Lee of the Windrider Forum

I couldn’t agree more. That is why I have become a documentary junkie. Some people get addicted to video games. I love documentary films. I like them from a wide variety of viewpoints too. I even love to see short films and youtube videos. Some of my favorite film projects are short Internet videos. I especially like projects that take on current issues or social ills using humor and unique film techniques.

Here are two example of funny Internet shorts that hit current issues. These bits are somewhat edgy. But I think Jib Jab did a good job with them.

http://www.jibjab.com/originals/big_box_mart

http://www.jibjab.com/originals/drugs_i_need

So if you had one topic that you could make a movie on, what would it be? What social or life issue would you highlight? What would your message be?

More on this to come…

A Life Felt Throughout Time

“I have never doubted that there was a historical Jesus, that he walked the earth 2,000 years ago. But the simple fact is that there has never been a shred of physical, archeological evidence to support that fact until right now.” 

“There will be those who will say that in some ways we are attempting to undermine Christianity. That’s really very far from the case. I think that what this find does and this film does is it celebrates the real life existence of these people and this man who 2,000 years ago had a vision and communicated it in a viral way. It spread around the world over the subsequent centuries and it resounds down to us now in the present day in a way that no other human being has ever has the same kind of impact. My feeling is that his method of compassion and humility, love and forgiveness is every bit as much needed now today in our divisive, materialistic and war-torn world.”

– James Cameron, Hollywood movie producer and executive producer of The Lost Tomb of Jesus

The above statements were made by James Cameron during a news conference held a few months ago. Cameron, an Oscar-winning director was promoting a documentary about the discovery of the alleged tomb of Jesus Christ that he produced. The film, The Last Tomb of Christ, caused a lot of controversy by both religious leaders and scientists. Regardless of what you thought about the film, Cameron’s above comments hit on a key of Jesus’ life. He has impacted history in a way that no one else has. His message caught on, and the world has never been the same.

 

Not that I need Hollywood to validate Jesus. But it sure is nice to see that the world recognizes what many Christians have forgotten – Jesus’ life makes all the difference.

Lost Boys

“A crime with this many witnesses, should have never gone so far.” – movie site, Alpha Dog 

Alpha Dog, which is a movie based on the real life story of Jesse James Hollywood, recently came out on video. The story follows the young drug dealer and his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of a 15-year-old boy. In the movie, Hollywood is known as Johnny Truelove. 

Truelove and his friends grew up in the sprawling, privileged neighborhoods around LA. These teens were bored with too much free time and money. The movie site explained their world this way. They strung “one hazy day into another, looking for the next thrill doing suburban imitations of the thug life they idolize from rap music, video games and movies. When you’re living without any consequences, anything can happen.”

Johnny and his guys kidnap the younger brother (Zack) of a guy who owes them money. The kid began to like the party culture of the gang. Developing a bond with some of the guys, Zack felt part of it. They treat him kind of like one of the guys. The only exception is that he was not free to leave. As a 15-year old boy, he begins to idolize one of his captors wanting to be like him. It’s a strange story. But it rings true in light of today’s pop culture, broken families and warped sense of values.

Confused about what to do as authorities search for Zack, Johnny decides the boy has to die. Some of the gang are torn because they are worried if the boy talks. Yet, they genuinely like the kid. The unthinkable happens as one of the gang members carries out the order to execute Zack.

The movie is not for the faint of heart. It has horrible language and other inappropriate material, which unfortunately goes with the territory. When you make an honest movie about dark times, it is hard to sugar coat the sad reality. The language, pervasive drug use and sensuality reflect a generation that has lost its way. While there are many great kids, there are also many lost boys too.

The following is from a handout that I wrote on rite of passage ceremonies and the importance of recapturing Biblical manhood. All of this melds together because lost boys need markers to find their way. And you may just be one of those guides who can help save a life.

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Unfortunately, boys are so eager to find acceptance and brotherhood that they will even look for it in negative places if they can’t get it from good, honorable sources. This explains why so many young men turn to street gangs. Once they pass through initiation rites that can include violence and illegal activities, they are welcomed into the gang as brothers. Sometimes gang membership is more about survival than replacing familyconnections, but it is always about belonging.

The longing to belong is fundamental to human nature—a good longing that corresponds to being made for relationship. The desire to be competent and capable and to test one’s skills against another is also good. In a broken, sinful world, good desires sometimes turn to destructive ends.

Some young men run into a different type of problem. In today’s culture, youth is idolized. Growing old and taking on responsibility is not viewed with the same level of honor as it once was in Western society. Many boys, like Peter Pan, would love to stay young forever and live in a modern Neverland.

All you have to do is look at the 20-somethings who shirk away from responsibility andtry to enjoy the fruits of life without paying the price for them. Young men want sex, but they don’t want the responsibility that comes with it. They want a car without paying for it. They want respect without earning it.

Many aspects of pop culture today idolize people who demonstrate very little integrity.The less responsible someone seems, the more famous they can become. The heroes of a culture determine the destiny of a society because the things we esteem as valuable shape how we live out our daily lives. And our problem today is that many Biblical virtues do not play out well on MTV.

Teens are influenced to enjoy their youth to the max because many in society view growing older as moving backwards. The rewards of life don’t seem worth growing up for these days. But youth will eventually realize that time marches forward even if they want to turn back the clock. This reality forces them to a crisis of destiny. How they respond to this reality makes all the difference.

The above cultural realities only indicate how important it is for Christian men to help the emerging generations understand the value, dignity and worth of the call to Biblical manhood. Developing a series of celebrations and teachings that foster this reality will help future generations embrace the transitions of life. It will lead to a higher quality of life because none of us can stop time.

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Read the entire handout at http://www.organicfaith.com/RitesofPassageCeremonies.pdf

Only in Hollywood

Viral marketing is the “latest” thing for companies and media types. A friend from church was in this spoof that makes fun of Hollywood and viral marketing. This is some cleaver stuff.

See what I mean by watching the short called Hollywood Goes Viral at http://romeo.libsyn.com/