Posts Tagged ‘Thor’

 

[NOTE: This was originally published in June of 2012, but is being re-posted to foster thoughts about the up-coming release of Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Yesterday we considered many thoughts that surrounded the movie Thor, centering on lust. Is it okay to watch a scene that highlights a certain actor’s – or actresses – physical attributes? Does it bump up too closely to lust? In my opinion, the scene from Thor was designed to make you do so, and other similar scenes do so as well.

These thoughts came about from a post I read on Facebook, the rise of female pornography addiction, and the release of Magic Mike. Here is the synopsis of the film: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. Classy! I promise to stick to some of the same concerns from yesterday and stay away from the question of, why Steven Soderbergh is continuing to throw away his career by making bad movies?

I guess this is the main question I have with the release of Magic Mike, is this a preview of what’s to come? Will films like this become common-place because of the rise in popularity of female porn?

I may be wrong, but I cannot think of a film that has marketed male nudity this explicitly, at least in recent years. The content says “brief graphic nudity”. Some may think, ‘at least it’s brief.’ Yes, but it’s still graphic. This film is dangerous for at least two reasons.

First, the cast is made up of notable actors. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are guys that have catered to girls idolatry of love in many romantic comedies. Now, they are going to be leaving little to the imagination in MM, but women will flock to the theaters.

Secondly, the story seems to follow your typical romantic-comedy plot. Rom-coms usually depict rank fornication, but do so in a cutesy way which sells tickets. And even though the story of MM follows male strippers, the added rom-com subplot makes this pill easier to swallow. It makes porn seem cutesy.

To me, a line from the film sums up everything. Dallas (McConaughey) is giving his fellow narcissistic strippers a pep talk and states, “You are the husband she never had.” This statement is wrong on so many levels, but let’s just pick one.

Husbands and wives make a vow before God that death will be the only thing to separate them. Because of this covenant, the man commits to the wife and visa versa, no matter what. In light of the current discussion, this means the wife holds the husband as her standard of beauty – not some stripper.

And this is the true danger of films like this, creating lustful covetousness of a fantasy. You see, many men and women can remain in a marriage, while fulfilling fantasies through movie stars and make-believe characters. The new, exceedingly popular, pornographic novels Fifty Shades of Grey have proved that. Walt Mueller, President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, recently wrote an article about the literary porn phenomena. Read what he witnessed at the book table at Costco one afternoon:

A younger woman was holding the book and pondering the purchase. She had an inquisitive and slightly guilty look on her face. An older women standing nearby happened to see the same inquisitive and guilty look and decided to engage the younger lady in conversation. . . . a conversation that pushed the latter to a tipping point. “Thinking about reading it?”, the older woman asked. “Yes, but I hear it’s a little dirty,” the younger woman replied. At that point, the young woman’s husband appeared behind her with their cart. Noticing her husband was now privy to the conversation, the young woman turned a little red and muttered something about her husband showing up. . . as if the conversation needed to come to an end. She looked like a guilty kid who had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The older woman. . . probably in her mid-60s by my estimation. . . looked at her, gave her a little wink, and said, “It’s ten dollars well spent.” With that, the young woman placed the book in her cart. . . . and I watched her exchange a sly little smile with her husband. That was an interesting mentoring moment that says a lot about who we are and what we’re becoming as a culture [read the full article here].

One can never point out the deceitfulness of our sin enough. Whether it’s Thor with his shirt off, Magic Mike struttin’ his stuff, Twilight vampires glistening in the sun, or new explorations in bondage from Fifty Shades of Grey, we must be cautious of toying with our sin. Remember, sin wants to destroy your marriage, lead you down a path of adultery, and, ultimately, drag you to hell, so be wary of the lie it’s telling. Should you go see Magic Mike? Will it help you appreciate your husband? Will it cause you to lust? You might not have to search your heart too long on this one.

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iron_man_3_official-wideIron Man 3 opens in the US tomorrow, but it has already made $195.3 million dollars overseas. (In other news, some celebrities have chosen to live off of $1.50 a day to raise awareness for world poverty.) It’s not like we need these recent box office figures to tell us that super heroes are a big deal. For starters, IM3 is the third film in the franchise, telling us that it has been successful. Secondly, the theaters will be graced with many other super heroes this summer: Superman, Wolverine, Kick-#$@ 2, & Jay Gatsby, just to name a few. So why exactly do we continue to dish out the big bucks for these heroes?

Superheroes Are Cool

There’s no doubt that superheroes are fun. It’s probably safe to say that we’ve dreamed of being a superhero at some point in our life. Whether it was on the playground at recess or taking our favorite blanket and jumping around in our room, we love to save someone in danger. Let’s face it, superheroes come off looking pretty cool because of all the saving and all the awesome feats they can perform. Which leads me to my next reason.

Superpowers Are Cool

If you could pick one superpower, what would it be? Flying? Laser Beams? Invisibility? There are many cool powers to pick from and we could get into nerd debates over which is the best, but the various powers bestowed upon these various heroes are pretty cool. Thor has super-strength with a flying hammer, Hulk is even stronger and turns green, Captain America can…throw a shield, and Tony Stark is super-smart leading him to build a super-suit.

Being Super-flawed Isn’t Cool

These are a couple of reasons why superheroes are so cool, but I don’t think they are solely what resonates with us. I think superheroes strike such a chord with us, because we are super-flawed. I think the coolness lies in the contrast of who mankind is because of the fall. Ever since we sinned against God, our bodies are now wasting away. They can’t move faster than a speeding bullet, they can’t leap over a building in a single bound. Truth be told our bodies are achy. The older we get we make more statements like, “I used to be able to do this” or “My back hurts.” Whatever the ailment, our bodies are vulnerable to more than kryptonite.

You see, it’s our deep flaws that illustrate the deep need we have for a Hero. Not only are our bodies, literally turning to dust; they are just a glimpse as to what is taking place in our hearts. Our hearts are dark and we are in desperate need of saving. We judge others, we gossip, we lie, we think sinful thoughts, we don’t serve others like we should, we don’t love others like we should, we think of self first, we don’t give God the worship he deserves, we hoard, we cheat, we still, we curse, the list goes on and on, but it illustrates the fact that we sincerely need a super Hero. Listen to Paul in Colossians 1:

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Enjoy the superheroes you see this summer at the local cineplex, but remember they are but a tiny glimpse of the True Hero, Jesus Christ.

Just a few weeks ago my wife and I watched the movie Thor – we were a little behind on this one. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t really wanted to watch this movie. It didn’t look all that great to me, but then I saw The Avengers so I figured I needed to see this one. As you can tell, I had low expectations going into this film but really enjoyed it. It had some fun action and a decent story, and even had some great biblical themes to discuss.

However, I don’t want to discuss any of those themes, I don’t really want to discuss anything that explicitly relates to the story. I want to discuss the actor, Chris Hemsworth and his Thorish physique – he must work out (name the movie quote).

If you’ve seen the film, or the previews, you know there is a scene that highlights Hemsworth’s muscular body. He has his shirt off, trying to appear nonchalant about looking so buff, and the character of Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) says, “He’s pretty cut for a homeless guy.”

Here’s what I want to get us thinking about today, and I will explore this a bit further in tomorrow’s post. Was that scene sinful? I believe the way the scene is setup is designed to create lust, which is sin. We know Hollywood typically employs the right lighting and makeup to highlight every actor’s physical beauty and minimize their physical weaknesses. Therefore, we could say they are trying to make women, young and old, lust.

When the scene came up, it created some good discussion between my wife and I. I asked her if she thought it was wrong. We came to the obvious conclusion that it was a heart issue. The scene could be sinful depending on what the heart does with that scene. I would easily agree that someone could watch a shirtless Hemsworth and not lust, but the movies can make it difficult when they are inviting you to do so. Plus, our sinful hearts are exceedingly wicked, and will deceive us into thinking the scene is harmless because there’s no explicit nudity.

Part of the reason I decided to discuss this today at Reel Thinking was because of a comment I saw on Facebook. A former youth from my church commented on the extreme beauty of Chris Hemsworth. Not only was she very passionate about how beautiful he was, but she communicated it to thousands of people on Facebook; i.e., no shame.

Now, it’s great that we can see and appreciate God’s creation as beautiful, and hopefully, give the Creator glory, but I did not sense this from her comment. I sensed sinful lust. Even worse, it was celebrated lust. This is a dangerous place to be.

I don’t want to get into the details of tomorrow’s post, but it will be discussing the issue of female pornography addiction. This has been a growing concern, because the amount of females looking at pornography has been on the rise over the past decade. And in this humble bloggers opinion, it is these types of scenes in film that are feeding it.
I have been shocked, and embarrassed, at the women who have spoken so openly and boldly about how incredible Taylor Lautner’s body is in the Twilight films. You don’t hear too many males speaking this openly about the females they’re infatuated with. Maybe it is because their infatuations are darker, so they don’t voice them. Therefore, the females thoughts may be somewhat innocent, so they feel a bit more comfortable to speak openly of them. I don’t claim to know what they’re thinking.

However, my concern is that these scenes are feeding the growing porn addiction among females. What do you think? Do I need to lighten up? Is this a nonissue? Is it okay to walk the tight-rope between lust and appreciation? Let’s consider this a bit more tomorrow.

Whether you are a Marvel comic book junkie (not me) or just a love a good action film (me), The Avengers promises to be be your flick. Check out the trailer…

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Captain America…Check. The Hulk…check. Iron Man…Check. Thor…Check. Hawkeye and Black Widow…Check?

Okay…well even if the Avengers team seems a bit random to me, they look poised and ready to take on Loki – who is bent on dominating the Earth with his evil ways (and his sweet hair).

Since he has already seen the film, Emilio will wax eloquently on the Avengers tomorrow – giving you a much more well-developed perspective on this film. Today, I will merely stir the pot a bit.

Watching that trailer again got me thinking. In the midst of the many explosions, Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) says, “If we can’t protect the earth…you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it.” (cue…awesomeness)

Violent action films (violence in general) have been the subject of debate for Christians over the years. Just how should Christians think about violence – especially the concept of vengeance? Some read the gospels and would like to say that Jesus was a pacifist. Violence is simply off limits for Christians. Others prefer to point to Revelation 19 – Jesus, the Rider on the white horse, bringing war upon his enemies. So which is right? WWJD?

Let’s focus on the concept of vengeance for a moment?

In the book of Romans we read, “17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary,“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21 – emphasis mine)

Seems pretty clear, right…no vengeance. If Iron Man becomes a follower of Jesus, he needs to find a new career. Or does he?

In the next chapter Paul discusses the role of the governing authorities. “1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer (Romans 13:1-4 – emphasis also mine).

I said I would stir the pot a bit. Here goes…

  • What do you do with these passages?
  • Is it okay for the Avengers to “protect” the earth, but not to “avenge” it?
  • Shouldn’t Nick Fury’s crew just leave vengeance to God or are they “God’s avengers” – acting on behalf of the governing authorities?

Oh…and…

  • Why do you and I love watching evil people like Loki get what’s coming to him?

I recently discussed these kinds of questions with some friends. It was interesting to hear the varied perspectives among Christians. So where do you land? Maybe you prefer to ignore these questions and would rather watch Avengers in blissful peace. It is just a story after all, right?

Yes, The Avengers is just a story, but every story must still come under the reign of Jesus Christ. Christians should be able to converse about these difficult things.

Well, consider the pot stirred…enjoy!