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Strange Confessions: A Fundamental Misconception of Purpose

Strange Confessions: I once chanted snottily a girl’s last name from a tree house at Wheeler Farm. I felt a firm hand on my shoulder from a larger, older boy who turned me around and told me, “Don’t make fun of people’s names.” I said sorry and squeaked meekly away.

I remembered this story after reading a chapter from “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” to my girls tonight. I stopped reading this to my oldest several years ago because I absolutely hate books or movies about prejudice and its many faces of hate, jealousy and fear. There is a scene where Mama brings her children to see a man burned by a store owner. Mama had been telling them not to go and had to take a different tack when circumstances brought them there. I slowly read the description of his wheezing and noseless face, burnt skin and the reason why Mama brought them there. I paused and my girls asked, “Why would someone do something like that?” I explained that we, as Christians, have the only answer to what is wrong with this world. We were watching the debate between Nye and Ham earlier and it seemed that Nye did not understand the fundamental purpose that Ham was coming from a different point of view. Creation is the only viable answer to the problems that this world has and the answer to the problems as well. I am not going to go into all the details of why, as many others do so much better, but I will say that if you are not a Christian, you will not understand. The prejudice that arises from jealousy, hatred and fear are a result of sin, and it makes me sick. Explaining this to my children in their terms is a difficult thing. We have to relate it things they may see, or things I have done. I once explained to you about how I sneered “No!” to a girl who asked me to skate with her. I didn’t know her. I didn’t ever participate in making fun of her with the exception of the skate incident.

Telling my kids I did nothing to stop injustice or jealousy or hatred going on around me is hard. We have a purpose in this world, many purposes in fact. But one unifying purpose: to glorify God. Part of glorifying God is proclaiming His kingdom, declaring the gospel, the good news that there is a new King in this world and He brings love and mercy and grace and hope and, what I’m talking about here: justice. There is so much injustice going on in this world and us standing by doing nothing, does nothing to glorify our God. Even if it is just someone making fun of someone else. We are to bring justice to this world as part of proclaiming His kingdom. It is a just and right kingdom. We have to do what’s right even if we are to be maligned, mocked, disdained, hated, hurt or even killed. We are so focused on this short time we have, on being comfortable, on taking care of the stuff we’ve acquired, that we forget our purpose. We forget what is right and what is true. A good friend sent me this video of Francis Chan explaining our life and the perspective we should have about it.

I love my children and want to raise them to recognize the complete and utter privilege we have to serve our God in the places He puts us. We see doing His will as such a burden, that we sometimes discourage our children from following His will, or so I’ve heard from many people lately. I hope that if and when my daughter comes and tells me that they are moving my grandchildren to the remotest place on the planet, I will thank God that I raised them right and not regret seeing my grandkids on a regular basis. Reading a book like this affords the opportunity to show the absolute depravity of the human race, but gives us a chance to again tell them there is hope that all will be made right, and we have an awesome privilege to do something of purpose here and now. Don’t let it slip away. This time of learning for me has been an eye-opener for me. May I not waste it.

~Stanger

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Warm Bodies: Predjudice, Christianity, and the Silver Surfer

Warm Bodies is one of those movies that probably most Christians would dismiss on the topic alone. I mean, it’s a zombie romantic comedy. Anything zombie nowadays is violent and bloody, shocking and stomach churning, embracing society’s cry for more death and world-ending concepts. Indeed I had reservations about seeing this, but being the type of Christian who tries to engage the culture rather than turn my back on it, and I saw that it received an 81% on rotten tomatoes, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did too. But, in the end it made me really sad, and that is the reason I felt compelled to write this review; but we’ll get to that later.

This film is rated PG-13 and for good reason, for it has the aforementioned characteristics and some harsh language. At the center of the story is heart: figuratively and literally. I’ve written movie reviews before and the ones I am always compelled to write about is those that seem rude, crude, or violent, but truly deep down, it reveals such a beautiful heart, whether it is a heart for compassion and/or relationship, I am a sucker for those types.

Spoilers ahead.

This zombie movie is unique, in that it takes the zombie’s point-of-view. We start out hearing the thoughts of the main character, a zombie, who wants to remember his name, communicate, have relationships, feel, move faster, and most of all dream. A disease has taken hold of many people, where they are basically animated corpses. Their heart doesn’t beat, they don’t feel pain, they don’t sleep and thus they don’t dream. Of course they have the blood lust to eat those who are living, but most especially the livings brains. This is where you have to suspend ideas of normal biological thinking, because the consumption of brains make them feel human again, because it gives them the memories and feelings of their victims; but only temporarily. So they keep searching out victims destroying the humanity they only want to be a part of again.

Our hero zombie, if you want to call it that, only remembers his name starts with an R. I have to assume time has passed and perhaps the “zombies” are getting better, seeking out the humanity they once had, for R is a collector of trinkets and record players, and lives on an airplane, surrounded by the things he has amassed. R sees a girl and immediately wants to have a relationship with her, not a typical relationship as you may see in a teen “romantic” “comedy” these days, but wants to reveal himself to her, and know more about her: you know, relationship. Her father is the leader of the resistance against the zombies and has built a huge wall to keep them out and the zombies leave them alone. He is the conservative figure in this movie, at least from Hollywood’s viewpoint. He just sees corpses and needs to destroy them when seen. The people need to get out of their walled city to find medicine and thus, runs into zombie factions. R and Julie, (Romeo and Juliet) bond in their time in R’s home and in their travels back to the city, but she leaves him. Other zombies have seen them holding hands and there is something that sparks a heartbeat inside them all. They are starting to live again. And here is where another type of zombie comes in: the Bonies. They are those that have completely lost all shred of humanity and will eat anything with a heartbeat. The Bonies sense a threat from the other zombies that doesn’t make any sense, but it leads the story along: some plot points just have to be let alone. Eventually you get to see the full exhuming of the dead corpses back to some type of humanity and humans and zombies unite to destroy the full-on threat of the Bonies. Yay!

It is a feel good movie, and I am frankly surprised that it got such good review on RT, because I felt that all wasn’t going to end well and that would be where the critics would applaud it. For it would have held a true vision of a dark and dreaded human future where those with prejudices will succeed because that is the dim view they’ve always held.

This is where I get into the prejudice of the film. Because John Malkovich represents the supposed conservative value that all evil must be destroyed. Don’t think of it, of what it means, just destroy it. I thought they wouldn’t redeem this character, because Hollywood sees his character as irredeemable. It would end where he and the zombies would end up destroying each other, and hope would end. It was easy, a little too easy for his character to change, but that is where they wanted a feel good ending.

I don’t talk much about politics on my blog, because it has backfired on me before. I really want to know what you think or feel about a certain subject and why you came to those conclusions. But in this society, it is almost impossible to accomplish a harmonious back-and-forth dialogue. We feel compelled to fight, argue, insult our way to victory. But this recent thing that has happened to our country must cease, on both sides. You know what I’m talking about, this verdict that supposedly brought back the whole idea that we are a country of vicious people who are just out to destroy those who are different. And then there are those who say, “look at this situation that is completely reversed and we don’t hear a thing about it.” You know people, it doesn’t help the situation any. I am of the belief that those who think that the others are evil and always will be, they just see the worst: “They are ALL this horrible!” We keep pointing it out, and poking it, and talking about it, and classifying, and name calling, and hating, and pushing. The more we talk about it, the more it will stand out in society. Stop it!

I see the father character not only as the prejudiced one, but I can look at him as one who can’t see that there is not what was suspected to be there. I mean those who are shouting “Racist!” can’t understand that they are not. You look that way, so you must be. Yes, there are those who hate, but I want to believe that these are few and far between. We all have some prejudices, why do we all have to be classified as all out violent haters who must be stopped. That is what made me so sad at the end: is that if we can just know each other on a one-on-one basis, and not assume things about each other as a group. These zombies did not see black or white, they saw potential to relate to something bigger. Humanity, as it is now will never reach this point in our world. It won’t get any better, at least while we all still lead our own lives. I mean that until God comes back and makes it all right, all new, all good. Thank God that He will.

As a Christian I also see this as an allegory for the Christian life. We all get together, but we don’t share our lives with each other. It will only be when we truly see how the Church was meant to be that our heart will grow again, for the love of each other and those who want to destroy us too. We may only see what we need to be by our supposed enemies. They will force us to unite in the way God has always intended. I yearn for that time in America, for it is seen around the world now. God may we grow closer and have that bond of You, here and now Lord, here and now.

surfer

The last thing I wanted to address about this movie was the whole guilt thing. As a zombie, R started to realize how horrible it was that he consumed brains, especially Julie’s boyfriends brains. It reminds me of my favorite comic when I was younger: Silver Surfer. There was a comic where Galactus gave back all of Silver Surfer’s memories and feelings about the worlds he fed to Galactus. Silver Surfer was made so that he could find worlds for Galactus to consume. Galactus made it so Silver Surfer felt no guilt or even memories about what planets he found, because many had life, that had to be destroyed for Galactus’ sake. In this comic the guilt, shame and horror all came crashing down on Silver Surfer after Galactus released them to him. It had a huge impact on me then, that I still remember it now. This is a complex issue, I imagine especially for R. The movie couldn’t explore those issues obviously because of time constraints, and since it was a comedy, but that is something a former zombie would be an extreme moral struggle. On the cover of that comic, Galactus is lifting out Silver Surfer from the blood and muck of all those memories. For that is what God does for us. He lifts us out of our death and shame to live again. We get a second chance to make things better, to live a life worth living. Just like R, we can forget where we came from, or remember all the horror we came from and be thankful for the life we’ve been given. Thank you God.

~Stranger

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