Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Message Behind The Movie (A Book Review)

When I first read the title of the book, “The Message Behind The Movie” , my initial response to the title was, the message behind all the movies made today is bad! Now I don't claim to be a movie critic, but I do admit to being very critical of the product put out by Hollywood these days. It is not an opinion I have had all my life, fact is until a I gave my life to Christ I was more of an agnostic when it came to my opinion of movies. Like many Americans, I was oblivious to the influence movies and television had on the way I looked at the world. Whenever I heard others complaining about the bad influence movies had upon society I would shrug my shoulders and consider them a bit too critical for life. I mean, after all, it was just entertainment as far as I was concerned.
When I gave my life to Christ, those rose colored glasses I saw the world through cracked, and the truth began to seep into my consciousness. I began to see the world differently as I started to realize how much of my life has been influenced by the movies I have watched through the years. Eventually I became so enraged by the way Hollywood movies had become propaganda films for leftist political agendas and immoral lifestyles that I not only stopped going to movies but I also gave up on television. So when a friend asked me to read a book about the movies, I hesitated until I read the title, “The Message Behind The Movie”. While it was the title that grabbed my curiosity, it was the smoothness of the way the book flowed and the value of its message that made me eager to write this review.
Before I embarked upon my task however, I wanted to know what those whom this book is targeted towards thought about today's movies. In a recent poll of 2513 people, 71% responded that many movies are bad and some are good, while 17% said that all movies are garbage. Interestingly, only 10% thought movies were either harmless entertainment or mostly good. Here is a sampling of some comments I received as to the question I posted on &;, “What's Your Opinion of Today's Movies”;
Libby (PS) “The current penchant for remakes is kinda creepy. The youngsters have nothing of their own to say? ”
Jim (PS) “Let me clarify my thought about bad movies. It's a lot like fast food, most of which is unhealthy junk. However a lot of people are willing to pay for this junk, so these companies stay in business.”
Jack (PS) “I believe that movies today are designed for people with a low IQ or low education, since they mostly appeal to prurient interests or things that go boom!”
Petronski (FR) “At least two, maybe three, films per year are really quite good. ”
robomatik (FR) “good movies are rare, but Hollywood does put out a few good ones from time to time.”
demshateGod (FR) “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1) That pretty much rules out all movies.”
RoadTest (FR) “My opinion of today’s movies is that they are unfit for human consumption.
Check6 (FR) “Much worse than worthless. ”
Tammy8 (FR) “I don’t watch many movies- I hate to spend good money and be disappointed.. it takes the right kind of movie to even interest hubby and I. ”
TheOldLady “Movies are one of the ways that the left has taken over the country.......... If it’s too much propaganda and not enough entertainment, we just hit “eject”.......
Then there was this comment by a Freeper named, 3catsanadog that pretty much summed up my take;
3catsanadog “There are not too many movies made anymore that will inspire me to get out and watch them in a theater. I also don't feel like spending my hard earned money on some lib propaganda and lib movie star.”
My feeling towards movies put me with the 90% who find very little, if anything, redeemable in today's movies. When considering those the author is trying to reach, I must admit that I would be a prime candidate to see if reading his book proves valuable in the task that he proposes.
Douglas Beaumont, the author, is an instructor at Southern Evangelical Seminary where he is also pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion. A self-proclaimed movie junkie, Doug wanted to unite his interest in theology, philosophy, and apologetics with his love of film. In “The Message Behind The Movie”, Doug attempts to help the reader do a better job of interacting with the secular culture by understanding the movies that shape and reveal it. By introducing various aspects of how a story is told the reader will find himself better equiped to steer non-believers into discussions about faith, a process the author calls cinevangelism. It may seem strange and almost heretical to mention secular entertainment and evangelism in the same sentence, but in Acts 17 Paul himself used Greek philosophical arguments from creation to lead pagan philosophers to Christ. It is these kinds of eye opening methods that Doug leads the reader through while providing a foundation of Scriptural truths that will help a believer properly evaluate a movie.
The Message Behind The Movie” is written in three acts much like the ancient structure of plays were divided by Aristotle into three acts. Each act is then divided into chapters that explain how stories and characters develop along established patterns that have been followed since Syd Field wrote his landmark book, “Screenplay”. These lessons are significant when you consider that most moviegoers don’t usually think in terms of character or structure while watching a movie. The book will inevitably bless even the most experienced of movie buffs.
Act One, the author explains how movies communicate through various means and how to understand the way stories are told. The reader is introduced to such characters as the protagonist and the herald, along with how to pay attention to the sights and sounds. The first section closes out with a discussion of the way the story is told, its supposition presented, and how to put all this information into practice so you can properly understand a film. By the end of the first section you have a better understanding of how to let a movie speak for itself without distractions interfering with its message. I was unable to set the book down at this point, as I was eagerly awaiting the next section and the lessons I would glean from it.
Act Two gives the reader a lesson in how to properly discuss and evaluate the different aspects of a movie, whether that be religious, philosophical, theological, or Scriptural. It is no secret that Hollywood either portrays Christianity as an outdated religion whose followers are narrow minded, or it presents a false gospel that leads people away from the truth. This section was my favorite in that Doug shows off his apologetical skills by presenting various lessons on how to defend the faith and by pointing out negatives and positives of the movie's message, without getting into a deep religious discussion that would turn off non Christians.
In the final chapter, Act Three, the author discusses the issues that Christians raise about the value of movies and introduces principles that can be applied when choosing which movies to watch and which ones to avoid. Many Christians, in defending their stance for or against movies, will use various verses from the Bible. The author takes these Scriptures and puts them in their proper context to help the reader better understand his take on the value movies can have for cinevangelizing. As I finished reading this last chapter I must honestly say I felt better equipped to not only understand the message behind the movie, but also how to use the message as a tool to defend and proclaim my faith as a Christian. It is my opinion that Christians who enjoy going to the movies should read “The Message Behind The Movie”, before they see their next film. I understand Sandra Bullock has a new movie called “The Proposal” playing at the theater; I think I'll take my wife to the movies.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Question of Hermaphroditism and Choice

by Chuck Ness

To all who may ponder the question, how does a hermaphrodite feel and think about the way the world treats them. This is a Christian woman’s walk through life as she came to grips with the deformity known as hermaphroditism, she was born with. Today the growing use of the term “Intersexed’ is replacing the word hermaphrodite. I present this only because I desire truth and open discussions about the things in life that can make all men stumble. Whether that stone we stumble upon is our reaction to the choices of others, deformities some are born with, or the way we perceive what God would want us to be like.
It is no secret as to where I stand upon the question of homosexuality, but I was asked about the deformity of the hermaphrodites, and how I would determine what is right or wrong for them when it comes to sexual preference as to the discussion of the gay lifestyle. Allow me to present a story I found that will make everyone think.
As I said this is a story of one woman’s struggle with her deformity.

A Private Little Hell…
Growing up I thought I was the only one who suffered the way I did. I had not even heard the word hermaphrodite let alone understand I was one. All I knew was that some thing was wrong…dreadfully wrong. With the advent of the internet I found just how many other people out there shared my private little hell. Society treats us two ways…they, like most of our parents, usually pretend we don’t exist. If they do think about us we are the bearded ladies at the circus…the strange little freaks with one breast in old circus advertisements they have seen. The problem is that we are real people, with real feelings and we are being torn apart. Mostly by society…but even worse by ourselves. There, as Shakespeare once said, lays the rub. When society is confronted by the reality of the situation they usually find themselves floating down the river Nile/Denial. We are perhaps the only segment of society that are denied our right to our most basic identity…our gender. There are so many different reactions to this that they are too numerous to mention. What the result is, however, is that all hermaphrodites, no matter what the form, share one thing in common…a private little hell that few people who are not born this way can entirely understand. It is also a private little hell that only the hermaphrodite can find their way out of…as my dear sister so recently pointed out to me…
Tragically, most hermaphrodites share one other thing in common…the reaction to the private little hell. We all reach our breaking point at different points in our life. I once met a woman (a hermaphrodite) who reacted to her inability to cope with the hatred society hurled at her on a daily basis by sticking a shotgun in her mouth and pulling the trigger…it didn’t go off. Another close friend, also a hermaphrodite, tried to kill himself five times. The last time he almost succeeded…almost. He had a purpose in life that only the Lord Jesus Christ knows. It was the process of digging my own way out of this private little hell that finally brought me to an understanding of the true path God had in store for me.
Here is the rest of her story, you will find it about 1/3 of the way down the page titled; A Private Little Hell…

The Attempted Destruction of a Self Made Woman

by Chuck Ness
I have never been a big fan of the Huffington Post, but I do believe in watching the enemy, so you can just imagine my shock when I read this article that took the left to task for attacking Sarah Palin as savagely as the left has.
Heather Robinson writes that in the aftermath of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s announcement last weekend that she plans to resign from office, pundits have been scrambling for an explanation. Personally, the whole matter has left me feeling a little like I did at the end of seventh grade, after a year spent passively watching bullies ostracize and pick on one of the only black girls in the school: sick, and embarrassed for all of us.
Whatever your passionate opinions, whatever your disagreements with her views, this woman and her family were savaged in a manner that went beyond any reasonable standard. She is a public figure, but her husband and children are not. That did not stop certain members of the media and blogosphere from ridiculing them in vicious fashion, even long after the election was decided. President Obama, to his credit, spoke out against it. Would that more of his supporters had shown the same level of decency. You can read the whole article here called, “The Savaging of Sarah Palin“.
Personally I knew the day would come when more and more women would wake up to what has been happening. And yes, even liberal women are coming around to the fact that the overwhelming savage treatment of Palin and her family is just plain wrong.

The very things liberal feminists have cried about for decades- objectification and beautification- are the very things they are now using as sticks to beat a woman, who if she had a D behind her name, would be hailed as an historic feminist icon. Women writers, both liberal and alleged conservatives, have done nothing more than reveal bitter jealousy over Palin’s looks, and quite possible, her happily married life. Sure, they’ll scoff at that notion. But Palin represents everything they preach about but can never attain due to self-inflicted lack of self-worth and shrew-like self-loathing.
Strong women, who still disagree with her politically, know that Palin has been treated unfairly. And as I predicted not too long ago, they will start looking at her as a seriously icon for women, and quite possibly as a candidate for President.
It sounds ridiculous, but the person to thank for this is Hillary Clinton. The way she was treated by her own party opened the eyes of many women and revealed the dirty secret of Democrats- women are only good for EOE and diversity statistics, but certainly not for President. The borderline misogyny from Democrats left many liberal feminist’s jaws on the floor. The part ‘for women’ had become the party that used women, just like it uses blacks, gays and everyone else it needs to appeal tolerant and inclusive.
From a strategic standpoint, these continued attacks are also proving to have the reverse effect and are making Sarah a sympathetic figure. When Bob Beckel not only admits on Fox the treatment of Sarah has been over the top, but that having been a part of it, he now realizes it was wrong, you know liberals are scared because their plan of marginalizing Palin has backfired badly.
I am not saying I totally agree with all her points, but just a cursory look will show that the alliances on the left that joined forces in an attempt to destroy Sarah are beginning to fall apart. As I look around at the many feminist blogs I watch I can see the handwriting on the wall already. One such place site is called the “Reclusive Leftist, and it is a pro feminist blog, but the July 4th article called Feminists and the mystery of Sarah Palin , is an article that was devoted to trying to figure out why feminists have such a rabid hatred for Palin.
Even since then they have softened up to Sarah and are beginning to like her. The lady in charge over there seems genuinely confused as to why feminists are attacking another woman who is strong, accomplished, smart, and holds a position of power. Many of the comments are in the same vein, and ask why are they trashing this woman and repeating lies that have been proven false or could be with a bit of research? why the vitriol? Many of the commenters say they would not vote for Palin due to political ideology, but they are giving her the benefit of the doubt and researching the facts. I find it interesting the way feminist women are beginning to wake up and smell the Marxism, misogynist racist mentality and anti-Americanism of the left.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Socialism, A Return to Feudalism and the Dark Ages

by Chuck Ness
As I read the article on the Reformation, I was struck by the way the Muslim in the White House and his socialist buddies in congress are trying to return us back to the feudal days, where everything including the people are owned by the government. As good serfs, we are to just shut up and follow the rules and regulations set in place by today’s church (which is the church of environmentalism warming and other earth worshiping entities), the nobles (congress and bureaucrats put in place by congress), and the monarch(Obama and any other Democrat President the media loves). Then if the government or the new church needs more money, we have the media playing the part of Johann-Tetzel, running around demanding we give more or we will all go to environmentalism hell.
In order to get us where they can completely control us they will need a new “Dark Age”. Do you remember the “Dark Ages’ from your history class? Well, those centuries were called the “Dark Ages” because it was a time when not much was accomplished. You could say it was as if someone had turned off the lights, because there was no new achievements in science, art, or literateur. The economy was so bad that men would literally be walking around naked because they were so poor. For protection and sustenance people looked to those who could provide for their basic needs because they could not do it for themselves. Well, we now have a situation in America where our enlightened leaders have all but destroyed the great job producing economy that we had. And as if things were not bad enough, they are ready to pass the cap and trade legislation, begin a value added tax, and they are working overtime to give us a nationalized health care system. Soon we will again be living in the “Dark Ages” that they need to keep us under control.
Once we are there they will need to continue the fear to keep us in check, and that fear will be what has already worked for them. The fear of rich capitalists and private entrepreneurs. They will continue to use the public education system to promote their religion of earth worship as their John Tetsels in the media help to spread their propaganda. These media yes men will convince the masses that our beloved monarch and his nobles only want what is best for us and that we need to let them have more of our money to do it. We will be constantly reminded of how the evil capitalists only want to destroy the planet, starve old people and force children to work in sweat shops. So to protect us from the horribly mean entrepreneurs they will ensure that every business is unionized and that the owner does not make exuberant profits off the backs of the hard working serfs.
Then to make sure all the serfs do not have time to think about their loss of freedom, they will just continue using the same mode of anesthesia the Romans used, entertainment. Hollywood, and sports heroes will continue to be allowed their million dollar paydays as long as they keep amusing the public so they won’t realize how miserable they really are. As the years pass by, anyone who has not sold their estates to the government through inheritance taxes will be demonized and forced off their lands. In return for helping to control the evil capitalists, the union thugs will be given more control of businesses as the owners will be forced to capitulate at the whim of the feudal lords.
Through all this we will see the usual suspects (liberals zombie voters) defending this unholy trinity of church, state, and media. All the while us, the people, slowly become serfs working for our keep and being told that we should be happy with our lot in life. Question is, are you just going to just sit back and let this happen or are you going to start speaking up and taking a stand for democracy before it is too late and we are again living in a feudal system of the new “Dark Ages”?