Sunday, July 29, 2007

What is secular?

I heard the term "secular" today. Used in the context that the "secular" world would not change by policies but only by heart change. My question is what is "secular?" Is it that which is "born again?" That which is wholly good?

If we are talking music: When I see Christian music (in the CCM sense), I see cliched lines and generic arrangements that offer glossed over glimpses of life.
If we are talking politics: I see a religious right pushing a select few "moral" issues while ignoring the poor, not taking care of the earth, and yelling rather loudly on Fox News.
If we are talking film: I see low-budget movies with B-level actors giving Sunday School lessons.
If we are talking literature: I see a lot of self-help (nonfiction) and Christians characters solving Full House type problems with a hug at the end (fiction).

When we come to the "secular" community, all these things still remain... but there are a lot more glimpses of hope (in my viewpoint at least). There are innovative musicians pushing the envelope both lyrically and musically, there are politicians with a broad perspective who really want to change for good, there are movies being released that show beauty or real-life in ways that don't hold back, there are authors who aren't afraid to challenge.

Thus far, I would voluteer to be a part of the "secular" community. Being known for sub-par content used to replace the dirty R rated content out there is not something I would like to be known for. Count me out of the "Christian" community.

I know I can't generalize for all of Christian subculture content and I also realize that I am not covering all of culture ... but I think there is some truth to the generalizations made.

David Dark writes in his book The Gospel According to America:

Madeleine L'Engle once helpfully observed that artistic expression is only worthy of the description "Christian" if it's good. And if it is good and therefore truthful, it is, to the believing mind, Christian, unless we believe there's some fragment of truth or beauty that doesn't belong to the Lord. We get to be people who are less concerned with whether or not they're offended, and more concerned with reorienting their sight to behold the good news of truthful storytelling. (pg 124)

What a mind-altering thought.
I suppose in conclusion, I want to be known for the truth. I want to be known for stuff that is good. There is nothing more Christian than that. Regardless of the label on it. Let's go that direction.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"The Cider House Rules" Commentary

I just watched The Cider House Rules. This move was made a few years back. Stars Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charleze Theoren, and a few others.

It's about an orphanage where Caine is a doctor and head guy (along with his wife and another nurse). He sees Maguire as his son and teaches him everything he knows. Maguire is reluctant to take over his position and goes off by himself for a while. There are quite a number of themes that run throughout this movie (I never want to strip a movie down to one issue). One of the main ones is that of abortion.

Now in the past year or two, I have changed my opinion on a lot of things. I would probably consider myself more of a pacifist now. I would be less harsh on homosexuals in this country than most mid-western, conservative Christians. And I would consider other issues besides the biggies (abortion, homosexuality, war, etc.) that the conservative side seems to focus solely on.

With all that said, I can't see any other way on abortion. Regardless of the circumstances, the possible crummy life of the child, or whatever else a pro-choice advocates would give, I can't see how the ending of someone's life could ever be justified. Cider House does a decent job of creating a situation where an abortion seems necessary and OK... but it's not. The baby is still a person. Correcting one wrong with another one is never OK.

The movie didn't necessarily push this too much but the quality of life for the baby is often used as an argument for abortion. To me, using this logic means we should eliminate practically every third world country, every person with a handicapp or disabilitation, or for that matter, old people. All these people are in dire situations in which there will not be a lot of happiness. Life should still be given a chance.

OK, I'm done.
I'm not big on writing opinion-esque blogs that most people (who might read my blog) will agree with but I thought it good to get my thoughts down. If you have any commentary or objections or whatever... comment.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a couple movies you may want to see if you have not already


couple movie commentaries.

the fountain -
visually stunning.
storyline seemed good but i was tired so i think a re-watch is going to need to happen.
more accessible than aronofsky's other stuff.

jesus camp -
documentary on a rather charismatic church camp for kids.
put together by either non-christians or more liberally thinking christians.
i think it's suppose to be a bit shocking... but the shocking thing to me was that there wasn't a whole lot of shocking stuff to me b/c i'd seen most of it before.
from a non-christian's perspective: the manner these people go about christianity, the extreme fundamentalist views they hold, and other disagreeable things are mixed with christianity and it's hard to see the difference.
i wish christians would be smart. thoughtful. humble. more liberal.
the doc is supported by the christians in it.

junebug -
despite ben mckenzie, i really liked this movie.
an affluent young couple go back to meet the parents (of the man) in the south (or midwest or something).
the man's younger brother has a wife who is very pregnant.
at first, the smalltownness seems outdated, dumb, ridiculous at times.
later, they show a caring side. a deeply spiritual side.
i like that eveyone has multiple sides.
and these signs are seen through family ordeals.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

three things

you know what bugs me? when people defend the american way. i understand how it's mind boggling to think that Jesus calls us to a different lifestyle... but why do we get so vehemently opposed to it? how can one deny the fact that identifying with the poor is to identify with Christ? this is what He did. he even says, "whatever you do unto the least of these, you have done unto me."

argument: "living simply is a calling."

my response: how bout we start with simplicity? if God calls us to be wealthy to bless others, He'll do that and we'll be on our way. why do we assume that God wants us all to have everything we could possibly want or imagine (in a material sense)?

let's be open to it.

i think my greatest fear is being successful.

please note: i am a walking contradiction. i say, "let's be poor" and then buy a new camera. i say, "i want to be holy like You are holy, Lord" and then screw up. i plead for action and then get stuck in inaction.
so yes, i by no means have it figured out and working... i know i need to be open to God and this is what i see of God.

another thought:
something on my mind has been love. loving the unloved. those who often get cast out (by people in general, by the american church, by college kids, etc. ... basically any group that i fall into that passes judgement)
but then i see the one person i have the hardest time loving. those who aren't for loving. those who see this inclusive love thing as bogus and want nothing to do with it. this is the person i have a hard time loving.... but they still need my love.

to quote numerous bumper stickers and other paraphenalia: LOVE WINS.

it amazes me how each summer, the movie peeps think up some movie idea, put in some moderately big stars, some visual effects, and a few hot girls and people come out like it's none other. i guess i like to think that i (as a self-proclaimed film elitist snob) am paying for the experience and not the movie b/c Speilberg knows i don't buy into his hype.
that said, if you like 2 hour GM commercials with great CGI and pretty girls, you'd like this movie.