"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Movie Musings

So, there is a new movie coming out in March, of 2014. I guess it’s supposed to be incredible in the way of photography and special effects.  Sorry, I’m not a movie buff, so I really don’t know what that is called. “Photography”, I’m sure, isn’t the correct word. Anyway, the new movie is based on ancient history about the flood. The movie is Noah I’m struggling with words here, too.  I can’t call it a “Christian” movie; I’m sure it’s not.  I can’t call it a "Biblical" movie. For neither is it that. Well, maybe I could say it’s based on a “biblical” setting with little accuracy about the real account. Therefore, I used the small “b”.  But sorry, when we are talking about things of the Bible there is no small “b”.

Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking about that movie. Not sure why.  It brings me a bit of sadness.  I read the reviews.  Of course, coming from Hollywood, it has a political agenda. And if you don’t already know this, don’t kid yourself…most all movies out of Hollywood do have a political agenda, or a politically correct statement that “Hollywood” is going to get into the script by hook or by crook. The movie industry, mostly controlled by the liberal left, wants to influence us. It’s the way of it.

Well, in this movie, for one thing, Noah is the first environmentalist.  Not really so bad, is it?  Caring for the world is good!  Why doesn’t God care? How dare He destroy it with a flood!   (In case you couldn't tell, I'm being factitious.)

I suppose Hollywood has made their fair share of Biblically based movies.  I know some have been considered to be pretty good.  I don’t know; I have never watched one.  And I pretty much mean never. Not The Ten Commandments; nor The Greatest Story Ever Told; nor any of those that the great movie star, Charlton Heston, has made.  Heston, by the way, is one of my heroes. 

Why haven’t I watched? Somewhere deep down inside of me I am not allowed. Now, I am not making a judgment here as to whether one should watch those movies or not. That is certainly up to the individual. I just have never been able. I never wanted what I knew, learned or believed about the Bible to be from a Hollywood movie…I didn’t want something from a movie getting into my thought process only to confuse me about what is really true. You don’t think that can happen when you know and have studied your Bible so well?  Wait until your 60 and suddenly you find everything starts to get muddled up there.  J

I really don’t know from where my conviction on this comes. I am not saying it is the Holy Spirit. That would put me in a judgmental position, now wouldn’t it, for those Christians that do choose to watch these Hollywood movies? And I don’t want to do that.

I absolutely do not want to be one of those Christians who projects my beliefs upon others; that is only for God to do. Besides, the minute I did that; someone is going to say: “Well, you listen to country music…all that drinkin’ and runnin’ around, and fightin’!” And I’m going to say: “Yeah, I do listen to country; always have and probably always will.” But country music isn’t distorting the context of the Bible and I intend for this post to be only about that!

No one would judge me for listening to country music or whatever, you say? Ha! This ain’t my first rodeo. Christians would do that. We do it all the time, with whatever thing we happen to feel holy about at the moment. I really do not want to be one that does.

So, anyway, I say that only to say this post isn’t about a judgment on anyone for watching a particular movie or anything else they do. I just felt like writing about my deep-seated belief about the accuracy of the Bible in movies; and now I will get to where I think that deeply held belief came.


My paternal grandpa was an old-fashioned, “holiness” preacher. He would not mind being defined that way. I remember as a youth, one day in Grandma’s kitchen, Grandpa was trying to find out where I stood spiritually. Now that was nothing unusual for my grandpa.  If anyone continually had the Gospel on his lips, my grandpa did. I don’t remember how old I was when he questioned me. But, I do remember my answer.

“Why, He’s my Lord and Savior, Grandpa!  I fairly exclaimed. And Grandpa, lit up with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye, like only he could.  In fact, to this day, I have never known anyone that shines like Grandpa. Yes, I guess I did say “shines” – present tense – he has been gone almost 30 years now I would say, but he has a heavenly home.

But anyway, I felt and understood his approval. I still feel it to this day. I also remember his next words.  “Get in a church that preaches holiness, Jan.” I don’t remember if he elaborated on that. I’m fairly sure I remember the discussion leading to him saying…”Well, I know He is your Savior, Jan…but is He your Lord?”  

Not sure how I answered that, but I should have said, “I’m still working on that, Grandpa.” 

As a matter of fact, I am still working on that to this day, 50 some years later. And don’t kid yourselves, you are, too; we all need to work daily on making Him the Lord of our lives. But that is for a whole other discussion, as well.
That’s all I remember of that day in Grandpa’s kitchen; But I have never forgotten that moment.

As a side note, (because I am musing here - see title; maybe it should say wanderings) another thing I remember about Grandpa’s holiness life style is that he absolutely would not shop on Sundays. When asked about that, he replied, “Well, if I shop, I am requiring someone to have to work on Sunday, now am I not? And I believe Sunday should be a day of rest.” 

I was reminded of Grandpa’s conviction the other day as I listened to the controversy among news commentators over whether stores should open up for Christmas shopping on the evening of Thanksgiving.  I heard someone say, “Well, people don’t have to shop! They can stay home if they don’t like it, but they shouldn’t prevent others from shopping.” And I thought to myself:  Wow, we have come a long way since the days when my Grandpa thought of others in his decision to not shop. What about forcing people to have to work on Thanksgiving evening, when they would probably much rather be home with their family. It appears that simple fact didn’t even enter the commentators mind. But there’s an example of the difference from then and now.

As I shared this story a couple of years ago, a man adamantly stated, "That's going too far!" Maybe. Probably; certainly by today's standards. But I'm not sure he fully understood the message. Certainly our faith isn't about do's and don't's. But that isn't what this was about either. It was about thinking of others first.

I suspect, though he never said it, Grandpa always wished my family would attend his church; instead my family attended the denomination that my mom’s family had always attended. But anyway, because of my dad’s upbringing, I was raised with an old-fashioned, “holiness” belief system to some degree. I suspect there-in is where my belief on watching Hollywood movies about faith came.

Not saying I don’t watch Hollywood movies. Of course, I do.  I’m just saying I don’t want to watch one about faith, or one that tells the story about the Bible from a Hollywood perspective.  I was raised with the belief, that if one isn’t a Christian, and they try to tell the story, they can’t possibly get it right. I absolutely believe that; and more than that, I believe when it comes to the things of God, accuracy matters!

I know there has been a time, and I don’t remember exactly when, but I remember one day as I scanned television channels, I caught a moment of Richard Chamberlain in one of the movies he made about the Bible.  He was portraying Jesus, and I happened to catch it at the moment when he was portraying Jesus sitting around the fire with the sinners as they drank while Jesus fellowshipped with them. In this movie, Richard Chamberlain was obviously portraying Jesus as a bit tipsy. Now, there were no words that claimed Jesus was drunk, there didn’t need to be. With the excellent acting that Chamberlain was capable of, he was clearly able to give the viewer that understanding without words. I don’t know; maybe he actually had to get a little tipsy himself to be able to film it with that much reality, but there was no doubt, he was drunk – either by his acting methods, or actually getting drunk in order to film it realistically. 

As I watched, I was furious. Jesus was without sin! Jesus would never have been drunk.

Granted, we have the controversy over the wine and whether Jesus drank. Whatever! There are also many that have done studies on this, (and my son is one; David Hocking, another) that can prove by Scripture using the Greek, that it was not fermented wine. But that is also for another post. And again I am judging no one; most Christians and I do mean most, drink, today and that is best left to one’s own convictions.
One more example of inaccurate movies, however, and I will get off this subject and back to the main movie I wanted to discuss - Noah.

Another time, and again I don’t remember exactly when or where, someone I was talking to was telling me about the movie they had just watched.  And I’m sorry, I don’t remember which Hollywood, “Biblical” movie it was.  But the person was telling me about how moved they were when the black man rushed from the crowd to help Jesus carry His cross when Jesus was no longer able. Well, I’m glad this person was moved.  But what was explained that happened in the movie simply wasn’t the truth.  The person that came to help Jesus with His cross would have been Simon from Cyrene. He was possibly black, but not certainly. He was a Jew, and he was from Ethiopia. There were Jews in Ethiopia, so he wasn't necessarily a black man. He also could have been a black Ethiopian who was a converted Jew. That doesn't really matter or Scripture would have told us. But what does matter is that, Biblically, Simon didn’t rush out in compassion to help Jesus. Rather, Simon was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. The Bible uses the word “compelled” and that means “forced”. In the Greek – “aggareuo” – which means “pressed to service” or the technical term for “requisitioned”. Either way, Simon did not do this of his own volition, but rather was untimely, ordered. As a Jew, he was probably humiliated and horrified, as this rendered him unclean for the upcoming Passover meal.

To me that matters! But it doesn’t fit the politically correct agenda today as well as Hollywood might like.  And it was Hollywood’s opportunity to make things look better, than they actually were. For me, if someone was forced rather than graciously offering help; I want to know that, don’t you? It changes the truth and therefore the meaning otherwise.

For those of you that are younger than me, there was a time in television and movie history, when Jesus would absolutely never have been portrayed physically on the screen. It was considered blasphemy to do so. And Hollywood pretty much honored that. The first movies attempting a Biblical theme may have used a voice from the background*, but they would never show Jesus physically. Next, they began with only showing His back, but never His face. Eventually of course, we all grew up, became more sophisticated and believed there was nothing wrong in portraying Jesus physically. (See sarcasm) By the way, when the theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar first came out, that was also considered blasphemy my many. Now, it is almost accepted as Biblical.

Just another side note, I’m glad that I remember the days when almost everything on Sunday was closed. And I’m also thankful I remember when even Hollywood wouldn’t portray Jesus physically in the movies. That may seem silly; but I'm just glad I know and remember.

So in this new movie, Noah, Noah is a man portrayed as even more loving than God. The Creator, rather, is a cruel enemy that only wants to inflict judgment on man. Noah cares for the animals, the earth, and mankind. He wouldn’t dare kill an animal for meat, and he certainly wouldn’t take lives that should be precious…just apparently not precious to the Creator.

Some may say, “Well so what? I know the truth of the Bible. I just want to enjoy the film.” Great! Enjoy! But I bet you won't. 

And for me, this is where those sad feelings come from that I experienced this morning. The feelings that led me to write this post in the first place. I simply miss those moments when everything was more simple. I wish the people that choose to see this film could know what I know about the way things used to be. You know, like Grandpa's days...Maybe that's wrong. I guess it probably is. Maybe it's a judgment, in a way, that is all my own.

Russell Crowe as Noah
But is this inaccurate movie really something that doesn’t matter?  Yes, we know the Truth, but what about those that don’t know the truth? What about the unsaved that are being misled by this movie? Haven’t we, in part, just undone the Great Commission by supporting something that isn’t true? The Biblical story of the Ark is a Typology of Christ – a foreshadowing of the New Testament in regard to how God saved us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the Gospel message; the Great Commission which we are commanded to share.  I would say by supporting this movie, we have just undone that…at least to some degree. Wouldn’t you?

Hmmm; it all makes one wonder if that’s why Hollywood picked on Noah in the first place…

So, all this rambling just to get us here. Somewhere, sometime, something has to matter…I simply believe keeping Scripture accurate is one.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
                                             ~ Revelation 22:18-19 KJV


*The Robe - Cameron Mitchell 1953 - Voice only
**Disclaimer:  In this post, I am referring only to those movies made in Hollywood apart from a Christian production. Those movies from a Christian production, is for another discussion/post as well as the others I've mentioned. Got lots of those! J


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