Archive for May, 2013

DHollywood

Starting with the blockbuster Back to The Future trilogy, Michael J. Fox made a film career out of pretty much the same role–a know-it-all punk who gets into trouble and then typically charms his way out of it.  I was definitely one of his biggest fans back then, since I grew up with his Alex P. Keaton character in the Family Ties TV Series.  But it was some time in 1996 that one of his movies impacted my life the most.  Yes, I’m not ashamed to say it: God used Doc Hollywood to crystallize my calling in ministry.

[Note: Doc Hollywood was actually released in 1991, but I didn’t see it until 1996 on television.  And it was a good thing too, since the edited version leaves out a totally useless nude shot of the lead female character.  So I would suggest waiting until it comes on TV!]

Doc Hollywood is about a young cocky Doctor, Ben Stone (Fox), who has a traffic accident on the way to an interview as a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.  To pay for his “crime”, the judge mandates community service as a doctor in the small town of Grady.  The townspeople, including the mayor, do their best to convince “Doc Hollywood” to stay in Grady permanently to replace the retiring Doc Hogue.  The small town of Grady symbolizes real community, while Beverly Hills (not surprisingly) is a picture of isolation, imitation, and plastic.

Just in case you’re interested, here are some of my favorite lines (since I’ve now probably watched the movie a dozen times or so).  In an appeal from the mayor to Ben Stone: “Give Grady a chance, you just might like her.”  Ben Stone’s love interest, Vialula, tells him: “You can’t poop in this town without everyone knowing what color it is.”   Life insurance salesman and rival, Hank (played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson), says about Doc Hollywood: “I’m not sure if I trust a man who doesn’t eat meat.”  Classic.  And one of the most important questions by Ben Stone himself: “Don’t you think a guy’s entitled to choose his own destiny?”

If Ben Stone was a Christian, he would have come to understand that God was calling him to stay in Grady and become a small town doctor.  From the very beginning of the movie, it was his destiny.  He just so happened to crash his sports car into the local judge’s fence, forcing him to stay and do community service.  The part for his car delayed his road trip, and later his repaired car was wrecked again.  He fell in love with the woman who only wanted to live in Grady.  He even started falling in love with the quirky people he was serving.  There is even great symbolism in one scene, where he has to tear up his Armani shirts in order to deliver a baby.  Gradually, “Doc Hollywood” begins to let go of his “big city” aspirations, seeing them as hollow and most importantly, lonely.  Ultimately, he had the “freedom” to leave, so he left Grady–but not for long.  Grady was his destiny.

So, I know you’re dying to know how God used this movie to shape how I looked at ministry.  Well, one scene did it for me.  After Doc Hollywood delivered his first baby, he was celebrating with old Doc Hogue.  Hogue opens up his antique armoire which holds hundreds of photos of babies stuck in there like post-it notes.  In his own crotchety way, he says:  “Over 700 babies I’ve delivered in this small town.  Saw them through every sneeze and sniffle, and sometimes even walked them to the gravesites.  Wouldn’t trade them for gold…well, maybe gold…or cash money!  Well, this is my PORTFOLIO…”  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  This is the sort of “portfolio” I wanted out of my calling.  No, not as a doctor–but as a Christian Education and Children’s Ministry director in the local church.  I wanted to see children born to families in our church, trained by God’s Word, make professions of faith in Christ, and grow up to serve the Lord all of their lives.  I know it may sound corny to some, but this movie sincerely changed me from wanting to just work to “move up” in the world, to wanting to spend my life ministering to a body of believers in the church.

To me, that is the message of Doc Hollywood:  We are called to community.  God calls believers out as individuals to put us together as the family of God.  The lure of this world is money, power, success–and independence.  The call of the Kingdom is for people to come together as the Body of Christ, serving, loving, and really knowing one another.  Whatever the size of your church, it really is meant to be a “small town” community experience in the Lord!

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Iron Man 3: Does the Man Make the Suit?

Posted: May 23, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized

IM3Christology has always been a point of heretical caution for the church.  In seminary our professors would stress the importance of Christ’s humanity, divinity and the unity between the two.  Whenever his divinity is given too much emphasis, we downplay his humanity and vice versa.  Little did I know, Tony Stark must have been in on some of those lectures because of his statement, “I am Iron Man.  The suit and I are one.”, in the 2010 sequel to Iron Man.

Even though Christology might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Iron Man 3, superhero movies always provide parallels for us in this sphere of theology.  Bruce Wayne is also Batman, Clark Kent is also Superman, and, in this case, Tony Stark is Iron Man.  We have the human and the “divine” in a single person.  Two natures, one being.  However, one of the best lessons we learn from all of these superheroes is how they fall short of the true Hero, Jesus Christ.  But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s look a bit more intently at Iron Man.

It has been three years since we last saw Iron Man flying solo.  Yes he battled alongside his super-friends in The Avengers, but before that he was fighting off the revenge-seeking villain, Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2.  As if Stark didn’t already have a god-complex, Vanko affirms this by saying, “If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in him.”  Vanko did indeed cause IM to bleed, leading to a symbolic death and resurrection for him before coming back and conquering his foe.

Fast-forward to 2013 and over $340 million at the box-office, it is easy to see that audiences were curious to see where the story-line would take this high-flying hero.  Even though this is the third film in the IM franchise, the story picks up after Iron Man’s adventures from The Avengers story-line   At this point in Stark’s life, he has battled many formidable foes, a fair share of criticism from the public, and various humbling scenarios, but has victoriously conquered each of them; leaving him to be the same arrogant billionaire audiences have a certain likability for.

However, if anyone could break through the pride of the “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”, it would surely be The Mandarin; Iron Man’s toughest villain yet. [Note: There will be major and minor spoilers ahead.]  Although Stark isn’t lacking in confidence, there is a certain level of humility he is walking around with in this film.  He begins by talking about the “demons” he’s created in his life.  The demons he created are rooted in the unloving ways he’s treated others, and this isn’t simply something the audience realizes but Stark also.  He even apologizes and admits wrongdoing throughout the film, proving that he has attained some level of humility.

Most of his humility comes from the mixed gift and curse of Iron Man.  In this third installment, one of Stark’s biggest foes is insomnia and panic attacks.  To cope with his lack of sleep, he spends time in his lab building new machines.  At the end of the film we get an idea of how much time Stark has spent in the lab by the dozens of machines that arrive for backup against The Mandarin and his crew of radioactive human soldiers.  These soldiers are from a program referred to as Extremis, allowing them to recover from crippling injuries.  One side-effect of Extremis, however, is that it causes people to explode (they should have read the fine print).  It is discovered that The Mandarin isn’t exactly who you think he is and he and he and his army have all been participants of this Extremis program rendering each of them nearly invincible to Iron Man and his fleet.

While Iron Man 3 was better than the sequel, it wasn’t that much better.  It makes for a fun kick-off to the summer and decent beginning for Marvel’s “phase 2” production of superhero films – Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are two more in this phase.  But, if your expectations are on a super-level, I would bring them down a notch or two.

An interesting theme of the story is Tony Stark’s struggle with his calling as Iron Man. One could easily assert that this film should be called Tony Stark 3.  I would be interested to know how much time Stark actually spends in the IM suit.  He very rarely appears as IM and even when he does, the suits are so banged up and malfunctioning, he is forced to fight sans suits.  Therefore, it seems that IM3 brings us to the conclusion that the man makes the suit and not the other way around.

However, the movie ends by Stark’s own testimony that there is no separation between the two.  His Malibu mansion is destroyed, most of his fancy cars, all of his IM suits, even his chest arc reactor [!], but he claims that even without all of this, “I am, Iron Man.”

Which brings us full-circle to the introduction of this article.  Superheroes are fascinating to most of the culture, because of the hypostatic union of the human and divine.  Just as the heretical assertions of Nestorius and Eutyches plagued the early church, we still see those in varying degrees through superheroes.  There are times in this film where we could draw parallels to the Nestorian controversy.  Just as Nestorius attempted to create two Christs by separating his humanity and divinity, there are times when Tony Stark is simply being Tony Stark and his Iron Man suit is flying separately from him.  However, there are also times we could say that Stark/IM are so “fused” together that the human and divine have created a new nature, like Eutyches claimed.

The helpful parallel for me is how these heroes highlight the beauty of Christ through their inadequacies.  Stark, at times, just like every other superhero, cannot handle being a hero.  In his case, his body is always under physical duress because of the shrapnel near his heart.  Not only that, but his insomnia and panic attacks are too much for him to bear.  These do, in some ways, help us grasp the similar sufferings of our true Savior.  We may think of the times when Christ was in Gethsemane, as well as, the constant accusations from the false teachers.  However, the weaknesses of these heroes show us the great strength of Jesus Christ.  He did not waver, he did not fail.  While he suffered greatly in his humanity, his mind never deviated from the love and desire to do his Father’s will.  He is the Hero that stands above all others.

 

 

clashoftitansMy children are big fans of Greek mythology, especially daughter number 4 (when you have eight children, you are allowed to resort  to numbers rather than names).  On two of our most recent road trips, we listened to a Percy Jackson and the Olympians book on CD, which is a modern youthful version of the classic myths.  So, it was about time we watch the remake of the 1981 classic, Clash of the Titans, the other night.  Other than missing Laurence Olivier as Zeus, it didn’t disappoint, and gave us much to talk about.  Greek myths are probably some of the easiest stories to use to direct young hearts to the truth of God’s Word.

Clash of the Titans  is the film adaptation of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster to save the Princess Andromeda.  For those of you who remember your Greek mythology, Perseus is a demi-god, the son of Zeus and the human woman Danae he impregnated.  He and his mother were cast into the sea in a wooden chest, but only Perseus survived.  Raised by a fisherman and his wife, Perseus grew into manhood and was thrust into the task of saving his people (including Andromeda) from the wrath of Hades.

Without giving the whole story away, the following are some great discussion points to have with your children and youth after watching the movie or even reading the original myth itself:

1.  Even though there are many gods in Greek mythology, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon are the main three brother-gods.  Zeus rules the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld.  They are frequently at war with each other, and each seek to rule humans in their own way.  For example, Zeus wants to have the humans love him, while Hades wants them to fear him.  Thankfully, the truth is that we serve a God who is ONE God is THREE persons, in perfect UNITY with one another.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all work together to run the universe in perfect holiness and righteousness.

2.  In the Clash of the Titans, Zeus becomes angry with the Greeks for not serving him, as they rebel against the gods and want to be free of them.  In a fit of anger, he foolishly unleashes Hades to bring destruction in order to make humans fear the gods again.  Hades uses this weakness of Zeus’ just to gain more power for himself.  Thankfully we serve a perfectly just God who is angry over sin, yet chooses to show mercy to all who are in Christ.  He doesn’t use Satan to make people fear Him, but is at war with Satan and has ultimately defeated the Deceiver.  While the wicked are destroyed, the righteous are eternally saved.

3.  Perseus is part god and part man.  He is described by his caretaker Io as “the best part of the gods and man.”  He chooses to identify with the humans rather than take his rightful inheritance as a god.  Thankfully, we serve Jesus who is FULLY God and FULLY man.  He is not a demi-god, but rather the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.  In a much better way, Jesus chose to humble Himself as a man and temporarily set aside his glory to live among us  in order to make a way to the Father–the only way of salvation.  And, Jesus was and is sinless and perfectly righteous!

4.  Finally, Perseus, because of his hatred for and distrust of the gods, wanted to save humans only as a man, using only his human strength.  He quickly discovered that he needed Zeus’s help as well as his god-like strength to defeat Medusa and the Kraken.  He really was an unwilling savior.  Thankfully, we have Jesus who is our perfectly loving and willing deliverer.  He only does the will of the Father, as opposed to rebellious Perseus.  Jesus conquered sin and death not in human strength, but as the perfect God-Man by His perfect life, death and resurrection.  He saved His people eternally, not just temporarily.

As we watch movies that are based on Greek myths, it’s essential to remind our children (and ourselves) that the Bible is not a competing set of myths.  It is the one true story of our redemption in Jesus Christ.  So, Jesus is also better than Perseus because the Word of God is true, and the stories of the Titans are but myth!

Goodbye to Reel Thinking (sort of)

Posted: May 16, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized

photo 3It is hard to believe that Reel Thinking has been around for nearly two years!  Time has flown by.  RT has provided each of us with a unique venue to contemplate film and theology.  All of the bloggers on this site have learned a great deal from this process and we hope you have as well.  One of the lessons we have learned is that blogging is very hard!  It has given me a deep appreciation for those, like Tim Challies, who can do this consistently.

All of this to say, RT is not saying goodbye, but we are going to be posting a lot less regularly.

As you know, John Kwasny, Josh, Emilio & myself have full-time jobs which require greater priority.  We also are married and have families to take care of and this comes before our jobs and waaaaay before this blog.  But, this blog has been so much fun.  It has sharpened our thinking, our writing (most of the time), and has assisted each of us in wrestling with the many complexities associated with this sphere of God’s creation.

That being said, there are times when this site can be burdensome.  Each one of the posts are deadlines.  Just like any other deadline, they can cause a certain level of stress and anxiety.  Because of that, sometimes the posts have been great and sometimes they’ve been not so great.  We apologize for those times when they haven’t been all that great and will be sure to give you a full refund.

But, this blog has provided us with a unique community (all over the world) who love God and love film.  The cinema is a unique, and often, confusing place so we’ve attempted to illuminate it through the lens of scripture.  We have heard from many of you expressing ‘thanks’ and some of you expressing ‘no thanks’.  To both we say ‘thank you’.  This community has sharpened all of us and, for that, we are truly thankful.  It is interesting to see this site reach the far corners of God’s earth and, by God’s grace, minister to people whom we will only know in the new heavens and new earth.  Like I said, each of us are in full-time ministry, so RT has been a unique way we could serve God’s Church beyond our typical scope.

We pray that God has used this site to bring people to a saving knowledge of his Son, Jesus Christ.  We pray that it has deepened the level of thinking you do as you watch film.  And, we pray that each of you have a deeper love and appreciation for God’s gift of film that he has blessed us with.  Therefore, we hope that you check back from time-to-time and see what films we discuss.  It is our prayer that this site continues to be a resource each of you consult and we hope it continues to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world. [Psalm 19:1-4]

Stepford 2004My daughter and I caught this on TV the other night (really the only way to watch it do to some language and rude humor.) This film has sparked a great series of conversations about self-image, what a perfect woman looks like and how the world’s view of womanhood is the total opposite of the Bible’s.

Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) is a successful TV producer who loses her job and has a nervous breakdown. To help her recovery, her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) moves the family from Manhattan to Stepford, a quiet suburb in Connecticut.

Stepford turns out to be THE perfect town in America from white picket fences, lovely neighbors, community events and centers of entertainment. Who would not love to live there? Joanna. How would you like to live in a town where every woman looks like Barbie? (Sorry Barbie.)  And you don’t. Oh wait, we already do.

Working with the young ladies at church has made me realize that many of our young ladies have bought the media lie. You are only beautiful if you look like ______________ (you can fill in the blank.) I feel like I have done a bad job at tackling this issue with not only my own daughter but the girls at church. Some girls REALLY believe that beauty is only skin deep and they are will to go to extreme lengths to change everything and anything necessary to fit the world idea of beauty.

Like Joanna, they too feel like second class citizens because of the way they look. Should Christian girls judge themselves by the world standards? Is the Bible silent on this? No, God’s Word is not silent. We read in Proverbs 31 that the “perfect woman/wife” has many character qualities but all we read about her appearance is a warming “charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30.) Did you read that part? Beauty is vain. We all wrinkle. We all go grey. We are all too fat, too thin, too tall or too short. Should our imperfect frame dictate how we feel about ourselves? Should we punish ourselves because of our imperfections?

Joanna found out that the women she was comparing herself to were robots. Imagine that! Trying to compete with a machine, trying to compete with something that has been airbrushed and re-shaped to perfection. Oh wait, we are doing that.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Psalms 139:13-15 (ESV)

Snapshots

Posted: May 13, 2013 by jperritt in Snapshots
Tags: ,

snap·shot – a brief appraisal, summary, or profile.

Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here.

Erased – An ex-CIA agent’s files are erased and he must fight for his life as he attempts to expose a conspiracy. Genre – drama, action; content – violence and language.

Star Trek: Into Darkness – “Beam me up, Scotty…again.” Genre – sci-fi, action, adventure; content – intense action and violence.

In honor of the release of The Great Gatsby, this is the second of two posts on the theme of GREATNESS in the movies.  Today, I will use two popular Mel Gibson movies (yes, I love that crazy man) to illustrate how great warriors fight for freedom: Braveheart and The Patriot.  Braveheart is a classic epic and The Patriot pales a bit in comparison–yet they are equally compelling in their stories of personal sacrifice and great tragedy for the cause of freedom. 

braveheartBraveheart (1995) tells the story of the legendary William Wallace, a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace’s father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones (his secret wife), William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all.

As a lover of Scotland (spent a wonderful few weeks there in 1985) and Scottish history, this truly an amazing story of the leadership of one man in the quest for freedom.  This film, as well as the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. actually prompted me to write my Scottish Sleuth VBS series for churches (yes, a shameless plug: click here for more).  Even if you somehow missed this film, or are just afraid of men in kilts, you probably have heard someone speak a portion of this classic quote with a poor Scottish accent:

Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

 These words of Wallace truly sum up the natural human longing for freedom from tyranny and oppression!

PatriotIn the same vein,  The Patriot (2000) is centered on peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin who is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolutionary War.  Martin was a supporter of the King and was against revolution, until a sadistic British officer murdered his son.  Unlike William Wallace, Martin is a fictional character loosely based on Frances Marion, also known as the Swamp Fox, who led a rag-tag group of men in ghost-like attacks against the British during the war.  His victories had a big impact on the U.S. gaining its freedom.

As I said, there are many similar themes in these two movies, prompting some critics to call the The Patriot  just a poor-man’s American version of Braveheart.  Both men experienced extreme tragedy in the deaths of a wife for one and a son for the other.  Both men were reluctant to engage in the fight until these tragedies literally dragged them in.  Both men fought with all of their heart and soul for freedom.  Both men inspired others to take up the cause of freedom alongside of them.  In their own ways, William Wallace and Benjamin Martin represent the greatest warriors of all time who almost single-handedly change the course of history.

I know, you regular readers of Reel Thinking already know where I’m heading.  Wallace and Martin are just pale representations of the greatest warrior who ever lived (and still lives), Jesus Christ.  While these men were reluctant participants in their battles for freedom, Jesus willingly came to earth to die for our sins.  While these men helped to bring freedom to their respective nations, Jesus brought spiritual freedom to every nation, tongue, and tribe.  While Wallace and Martin defeated some pretty formidable armies, Jesus alone conquered the armies of the kingdom of darkness that enslave men’s souls.  Jesus is the ultimate freedom-fighter!

When you watch these films, you can’t help but cherish your own freedom.  But as you consider what Jesus did for you on the cross, always grab hold of your true freedom in Christ!  As the Apostle Paul wrote: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).  Our slaveholders are not the British, Longshanks, King George, or any other human–it is our own sin from which we need to be freed.  And when we are free in Christ, we are free indeed!

This weekend, the new and much heralded adaptation of The Great Gatsby will hit the theaters.  Even though I have read hundreds of novels over my lifetime, somehow I missed one that is well-known to be the “great American novel.”  I blame my literature teachers in high school!  Thus, with this embarrassing hole in my literary knowledge, I will leave it to someone else to review this novel-based film.  But in honor of The Great Gatsby, I will present two posts that focus on GREATNESS in the movies.  Today, I will use three movies that illustrate the greatness of our sports athletes in the breaking down of the sinful barrier of racism.

42

42 is the most recent film that chronicles the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.  Robinson broke the baseball color barrier when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.  As the first major league team to play an African-American man since the 1880’s, the Dodgers virtually ended racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades.  The example of Robinson’s character and incredible talent challenged the whole basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life as well.  Enduring much persecution, he truly broke down the barrier that now enables countless African-American men to play professional baseball.

Glory RoadGlory Road is a 2006 sports drama which is based on the true story of Texas Western College’s remarkable men’s basketball season leading to the winning the 1966 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship.  First year coach Don Haskins led a team with an all-black starting lineup–a first in NCAA history.  What was even more incredible was that the team beat Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats, also known as college basketball royalty.  It was truly a David vs. Goliath.  This majority African-American team had to endure the racism and hatred of the 1960’s, as well as the belief that black players were not intelligent enough to play championship level basketball.  After the historic victory, even the great University of Kentucky recruited its first African-American player, changing the entire face of the sport.

Remember the TitansFinally, Remember the Titans (2000) was another fine sports film based on the true story of African-American high school football coach Harold Boone as he tries to integrate a racially divided team in Alexandria, Virginia in the early 1970’s.  He replaced a long-time hall of fame white coach, as the area high schools were being desegregated.  Conflict broke out repeatedly among the black and white football players until they finally unified under the leadership of two defensive linebackers.  Not surprisingly, this story also includes racial hatred from the board and the community, until the team wins the state championship.

So we have three movies illustrating similar themes in the three major American sports–baseball, basketball, and football.  And, in three separate decades (40’s, 60’s, and 70’s) we have great athletes who in their own ways break down a racial barrier, thereby changing their respective sports and leagues forever.  And, even though the racism of white Americans is clearly on display, all three movies have a white man who also sacrifices for the cause of racial reconciliation: Branch Rickey (GM of the Dodgers), Don Haskins (Head Coach of the Miners) and Bill Yoast (Defensive Head Coach of the Titans).  It can be argued that without these “mediators” and “advocates”, the athletes could not have broken down the racial barriers.

Now before I make the connection to the greatest BARRIER-BREAKER of all time, I’d like to make just one slightly cynical observation.  As much as I love sports, and nearly all sports movies ever made, it’s kind of sad that it takes a winning sports team to make people “less” racist.  In all three situations, many of the white people relaxed their racist sentiments only when the athletes brought them victories.  I guess that’s human nature–the idolatry of racial segregation was just overwhelmed by the idolatry of sports championships.  So, if we are honest, these barriers weren’t broken out of a love for God and for other people of all races, but because of sheer idolatrous pragmatism.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ, the greatest barrier-breaker of all time, broke down the barrier between God and us, and between Jew and Gentile out of perfect love, not to win a meaningless game.  As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:13-14, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and BROKEN down in His flesh the DIVIDING WALL of HOSTILITY…”  As great as it is to see racial barriers come down, how much greater for believers of all tribes and tongues to be unified in Christ Jesus our Lord!   

 

Wednesday’s Weekend Poll

Posted: May 8, 2013 by jperritt in Uncategorized
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This weekend audiences will see the remake of the classic, The Great Gatsby.  This got us to thinking, what other classics should be remade?  Some of the below list have various remakes, but you tell us which one you think should make its way to a theater near you (you can add to the list).

5 Best Films about Easter

[Note: This post was submitted prior to Easter, but was unable to be fit into the schedule] With Easter just around the corner, it is a great time to revisit some of the best films that have explored the importance of this special holiday. You can watch these films with your children to explain the significance of this important holiday, or you can watch them yourself to mediate on the themes and what they mean for your faith.

Though there are many great films that have been made about Easter, we narrowed them down to just a few of our favorites. These are movies that focus on the events commemorated in the holiday itself — the crucifixion and the resurrection — as well as those that explore the life of Christ, leading up to and including the crucifixion and the resurrection. Here are our picks for the 5 best films about Easter:

The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson’s controversial film is an emotionally wrenching exploration of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. The movie provides a brutally honest depiction of the crucifixion, including the harsh treatment and beatings that Jesus endured leading up to it. Many feel that the film brings home the weight of the suffering that Jesus endured and the great sacrifice that he made.

Jesus of Nazareth

Originally a television miniseries, this film depicts the full life of Jesus, using accounts from the gospels. From his birth to his crucifixion, the film explores all of Jesus’ life and ministry. The movie is critically-acclaimed and is considered to be one of the best about the life of Jesus.

The Robe

After participating in the crucifixion of Jesus, a tribune wins Jesus’ robe in a round of gambling. The man, named Marcellus, is then haunted by visions and nightmares and is wracked by guilt. He goes on a quest to learn all he can about Jesus, and he changes his whole life in the process. It is a moving account that will help many to renew their faith.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Max von Sydow stars as Jesus in this critcally-acclaimed film that tells about the life of Jesus. The movie, nominated for five Academy awards, takes its cues from information found in the Gospels, choosing a literal interpretation of the story.  An all-star cast includes Martin Landau, Sidney Poitier, and Janet Margolin.

The King of Kings

This silent but powerful film explores the life of Jesus, with a focus on many of the miracles he performed and on the relationships he formed. The story starts with the repentance of Mary Magdalene and it ends with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It was directed by legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.

There are many other great films about the life of Jesus and the sacrifice he made that you can watch with your family to reflect on the significance of the Easter holiday.

What are some of your favorite films about Easter or about the life of Jesus? Share your picks with us in the comments!

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Chloe Trogden is seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as grants for college students. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and playing her guitar.