The Loudmouth Protestant

January 20, 2010

The Moral of the Story: The Book Of Eli

The Book of Eli

If you’ve read this blog for a good length of time you’ll know that I always have great ideas for recurring sections, but hardly the time to keep them coming. So, as I always do, I introduce to you yet another recurring section that I am hopeful will occur again. “The Moral of the Story” will be a review of recent movie release’s spiritual relevance to the body of believers. Nothing more, nothing less. So, let’s get right into it.

This past holiday weekend I had the opportunity to see “The Book of Eli”, the Hughes brothers post-apocalyptic flick about a man who is carrying the last known Bible and risking his life to protect it. Denzel Washington plays the title character of the film, which comes as no big surprise since he is pretty vocal about his faith in Hollywood. The movie follows Eli’s journey as he navigates the grayish lands of the post-apocalyptic world in search of cat meat, nice boots and clean water. In between all of this he carries with him the precious treasure/weapon of the last King James Bible known to man. He guards it with his life, participates in a little bit of Christian fundamentalist violence to protect it and does all of this while remaining just as cool as he was in “Mississippi Masala” with the gangster edge he had in “Training Day”. He is a man’s man endeavoring to be God’s man.

When I first considered writing this review, I was going to talk about all the awesome messages about faith that are packed in the nearly 2 hour film. But then, in a conversation with a friend, I realized that not only is about a faith, but faith from a perspective that men can actually grasp, comprehend, and be changed by. Far too often, particularly in Christianity, men are turned away because they feel like the church caters to the emotional whims of women. The Christian church is filled with more women than men, so men can hardly find a connection there except through the pastor, and even then, he is too distant. But “The Book of Eli” does well to deliver a message that men can find themselves in because it embraces the masculinity of the faith. It draws attention to the one area I believe most men have a problem with when they are navigating the faith, walking by faith and not by sight. It hearkens back to the notion that men are logical creatures while women are emotional ones and thus it is simple for us to get wrapped up in a relationship with an unseen God because our hearts are moved by all that we read about Him. Most women don’t need much proof to be swayed to worship the only wise God. I mean, think about it, we are the ones that go in droves to see romantic comedies and buy Harlequin books because we are wired to desire love. This is not to say that men aren’t looking for love, but they have to go through a process before they even begin to be ready for love on the level that I feel we were born with.

Nevertheless, back to the point at hand because I am no expert on the matter. In my conversation with my friend she mentioned that a guy friend of hers said that the movie changed his life because of the concept of walking by faith and not by sight. This is all Eli did throughout the movie. He possessed the great faith to walk around with a book that others wanted to possess for evil and were willing to kill him for and didn’t bat an eyelash. He was tough, but still weak enough to realize that He could do nothing without God. He knew how to be chivalrous and cavalier in the midst of a bunch of brutes. He could wield a bow & arrow, a machete or a gun, but he knew his way around the Good Book with ease and cunning. He was just an awesome example of masculine faith in a marketplace sometimes too dominated by women of faith. He was Denzel Washington for God’s sake, toting around a Bible, reading a Bible and reciting the 23rd Psalm and there was nothing femme about it.

I don’t really want to belabor this review any longer suffice to say that if you have a man in your life that is teetering on the edge of his faith, this is the movie for him to see. I’m not going to guarantee you that he will walk out of the theatre a changed man, but what I can say is that any man with an iota of a heart for God will be moved by this movie’s message, walk by faith and not by sight.

August 7, 2009

Rest in Peace John Hughes

Filed under: entertainment,movies,recent news — nickisym @ 12:30 pm
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I’m not huge on knowing directors by name and to be honest, when I found out John Hughes died yesterday, I wasn’t entirely sure who he was. That is, until someone told me he was the director of every single awesome 80s movie saw and loved. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Pretty in Pink”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Weird Science”, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and my absolute favorite, “Sixteen Candles.”

So now that I know him by name and have apparently always known his work, I do know he will be greatly missed. He ushered an entire generation into the 80s in pop style. I wanted to be a teenager in the 80s because of him. I loved Matthew Broderick because of him. I thought Ducky should have a chance because of him. I wanted to go on ridiculously random family vacations because of him. I wanted the fairytale ending of sitting on top of a table with a candle-lit cake and my crush in front of me because of him. I wanted to be left “Home Alone” because of him. I wanted this 80s life that I couldn’t otherwise have because I was a little black girl growing up in Laurelton/Rosedale/Jamaica, New York because of him.

John Hughes made the 80s cool and this 80s baby loves him for it. Rest in peace John Hughes and blessings of comfort to your family in their time of mourning.

A trailer from one of my favorite John Hughes’ films:

June 1, 2008

The Charlotte York Principle

Filed under: christians,God,life,love,movies,relationships — nickisym @ 9:49 pm
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Most people have a perfect idea of the qualities they want in a mate. For me, he must be tall and the perfect complexion of buttercream, butter pecan, milk chocolate or dark chocolate. He must have all of his teeth and they must be blindingly white and perfectly straight. He must have the body of a Greek god and be able to hang a suit well. I’d love if he could write poetry and prose. He should read–books not a sports page, not a magazine, but a book. He should appreciate fine dining but also be able to respect that sometimes all I want is chicken wings and french fries from the Ghetto Chinese Spot. He should at least have his bachelor’s degree , be gainfully employed and have real hopes and dreams for his future that he is actually motivated to achieve. He should love to travel, love his parents, love life and most importantly love God. My list of my future husband’s prerequisites could go on and on but what happens when the list that we have made for ourselves has nothing to do with the one God has sent for us. Do we close our eyes to what could be the greatest love of our life because we are searching for our version of perfection or open our arms to the true love that God created specifically for us although he might not be exactly what we planned.

I was confronted with this dilemma this weekend when not one but two of my friends admitted that men who didn’t look like their intended are not the ones who they intend to be with. Based on the cut of these men’s jibs they decided that those men couldn’t possibly be the man that was to be the love of their life. And their statements gave me pause. Why, particularly as Christians but I won’t even limit it to just Christians, do we insist on clutching our own list tight instead of just letting love rule?

Case in point, our dear Charlotte York from “Sex and the City.” For years, the WASPy Charlotte was bound up tight by the list of perfect characteristics her man had to have and in being enslaved to that list she ended up with Trey McDougal, an insensitive “mama’s boy” who was an inadequate lover and not necessarily anything she had planned for when she was writing her prereqs. And then came Harry Goldenblatt who totally turned everything Charlotte had on her mental prereq list on its arse. He didn’t come in the package that she expected, he was Jewish and a bit unpolished, but he was everything that she needed.

And it doesn’t stop at Charlotte York, there are many real people who threw their lists away and awaited true love unrestrained. I myself am learning to let go and welcome what God has in store for me because I know it will be way better than anything my little mind can contrive. 

My mother once told me, when we were shopping for a dress for one of the many homecoming dances I attended, “Everything that looks good to you is not good for you.” When she told me this I rolled my eyes because at that moment it meant that I was getting a Jessica McClintock dress that I didn’t want, but in the end it was a beautiful dress and I looked way better in it than anything I could have picked out myself.  So if my earthly creator knew what was best for me, how much more would our heavenly creator know what is best for us.

So it’s my challenge to everyone-myself included–reading this is to let go of your preconceived notions and let love come to you the way it is supposed to. Stop making the list and checking it twice everytime you meet someone and go on a date. Rather, let God do His thing in making it happen for you.

May 31, 2008

Reflecting on Sex & City

Filed under: life,love,movies,relationships — nickisym @ 10:55 pm
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As some of you may remember, I wrote about Christians and “Sex & the City” a few days ago based on this theory that there are Christians that exist that believe it is inappropriate for other Christians to watch. So here I am, post “SATC” eating a Magnolia cupcake to give you the rundown on exactly how the movie moved me…To tears even…

You see, while “SATC” the show was largely about four single women–for most of the run of the show–having premarital sex, drinking Cosmopolitans, buying expensive clothes and messing up just about any semblance of a good relationship, the movie was about so much more and certainly had some redeeming qualities. It was about the pursuit of true consuming love, reconciliation, miraculous happenings and self-realization. It was about four women who we have watched over the past ten years actually come to grips with who they really are and what they really want out of life and to me that was real.

Yes I fully recognize who I am in Christ and how some of the things that they did throughout the course of their fictitious lives would surely not line up with what I know to be true according to the word of God but I also recognize who I am as a single woman. That movie resonated so deeply with me because I saw a part of myself in each of those women, the hopeless romantic in Charlotte, the realist in Miranda, the minx in Samantha and carefreeness of Carrie. We all have a little bit of those women in us.

And seeing such a closely knit group of friends makes me remember how important our pursuit of love is not only when it comes to pursuit of a soulmate but the pursuit of girlfriends who will be there through thick and thin. Those friends and family are part of the foundation of our building healthy love. Those friends are the ones who God sends into our lives to be his earthly angels.

I don’t want to get too carried away, but I say all of this to say that this is a phenomenal movie for the single and committed woman alike. There’s so much to learn if you would only step beyond what you think you know about “SATC” and see if you can glean more than you ever have before.

Enjoy!

 

May 20, 2008

No ‘Sex’ in Christian Ghettoes

This afternoon a colleague leaned over and told me that she had a friend who said she couldn’t find another girl to go and see “Sex and the City” with. Her friend remarked “I hung out with too many Christians in college and goody two shoes.” My colleague tried to convince her friend that you don’t have to be non-Christian to like “Sex and the City” but I worry that her friend probably may think there is something wrong with her watching the show. Even my colleague admitted to sometimes feeling strange watching these grown women run around, loose and as fancy-free as they want to be. And this isn’t new thought.

There are many [Christian] men and women that believe it is wrong for Christians to watch “Sex and the City.” Somehow they’ve gotten it in their minds that one 2 hour and 30 minute moment of cinematic time will forever change the trajectory of one’s Christian walk. Maybe we will go from saving ourselves for marriage to sleeping with the first man we see on our way out of the theatre. Maybe we’ll start consuming copious amounts of Cosmopolitans. Maybe we’ll stop tithing in favor of buying a pair of Christian Louboutins. Maybe we will convert to Judaism because we found the man of our dreams—would it be so bad if he were Messianic? (I kid, I kid.)

Now on one hand I can say, “I get it” to the people that would find it harmful for Christians to watch the show or the movie. I can see how the mature adult themes, sexual content, strong language, and other rating prerequisites would give some Christians pause. Everything that happens in any show and possibly the movie could leave an indelible impression on some Christians. But in that case I wonder if the burden of responsibility should be on the viewer and not those who vehemently oppose it. I am saying what I need to hear too because I know I can be very intense and imposing upon people that do things I believe are contrary to the Christian faith. But what I also acknowledge is that some of us can watch “Sex and the City” and not be tainted and some of us can’t. We are all wired differently and equipped to handle things differently so who am I or anyone to judge. I think the biggest lessons any of us can learn about the dangers of secular entertainment in the life of Christians is that it is our responsibility to hold our brothers and sisters accountable and at the same time encourage them to look deeper for themselves. It is our job to alert them to the possible dangers. It is our job to share with them something God revealed to us about the music, movie, TV shows, books, magazines, etc that the world at large consumes but that we need to be much more cautious about.

So I say all of this to say it is important that we activate our discernment radars on everything that we consume and be sure to follow God’s lead. It is great if our friends can clue us in to something we were blind to but it is of utmost important that we be tapped into the ultimate source to discern what may be right or wrong for us.

And lest I be remiss, for anyone that may come upon this post, I want to know if you think it is right or wrong for Christians to indulge in “Sex and the City?” And that means the show, not the concept—even though I know there are definitely some Christians getting there sex in the city on.

That’s all.

November 11, 2007

Christmas Time Is Here…

Filed under: christianity,christians,movies — nickisym @ 10:52 pm
Tags: ,

So let the spending or commence–or not. The latter is the point of view of the Rev. Billy and his “Church of Stop Shopping.” He is the star of the new Morgan Spurlock-produced documentary entitled “What Would Jesus Buy?”

The WWJB crusade went across the America trying to convince people to repent from their wicked ways of consumption and think about the true meaning of Christmas. Though my biggest problem with this film is the fact that they capitalized on the showmanship of charismatic Christian preachers and choirs to get their message across and they failed to let people know what the true reason for the Advent season is, they hit the nail on the head in regards to America’s problem with over-consumption. We focus on the quantity of gifts instead of the quality. The recieving instead of giving. The spirit of consumerism before we focus on the Holy Spirit. We have surely been decieved by the god of this world.

Many tried to answer the question, “What Would Jesus Buy?” Some said he would buy a yarmulke, some said he’d buy sandals, others said he’d buy socks, but I dare to wonder if he would bother with any of that. I want to know, what would Jesus do on Christmas? It seems like a crazy question written out, but I feel that it would certainly put things into perspective.

For those that are so inclined here is a trailer of the movie:

If you liked “Super Size Me” you will love this movie. Lack of references to the true father of the season notwithstanding, this movie can surely convict the comfortable. It will be in limited release starting this week at NY’s Cinema Village.

October 24, 2007

On Horror: A Pastor’s Thoughts

As a continuation to my post about horror movies, I found this bit of information written by arts pastor, W. David O. Taylor on Christianity Today Movies:

The Question
So I now come back to my original question: Is the horror genre redeemable? Can Christians make use of the form? Should they? I think of evangelicals like Scott Derrickson, director of Hellraiser V: Inferno , whom I first met at a film and theology conference at Fuller Seminary, and I see that in the hands of a sanctified imagination, the horror form, in light of all I discovered in my quest, yes, can become a vehicle for redemption. With films like his, and others, I begin to understand the God-givenness of the form, how it works, why it works.

So what would I tell a member of my congregation if they expressed interest in horror stories? I would probably tell them the following.

One, the form is neutral. Like fantasy or the detective story, we’re dealing with conventions and types, devices and symbols that together make up the system that we recognize as a romance or a comedy or any other artistic form. The “natural man” can of course corrupt the horror story, but that does not automatically render the genre immoral or unserviceable to our meaning-making endeavors. We need to understand it before criticizing it.

Two, a lot of horror movies are senseless, stupid, and self-indulgent. No secret here. It’s a large canopy, involving everything from a Disneyesque The Others to the gruesome Freddy vs. Jason. In some cases, you don’t need to waste your time. In other cases it’s goofy, cheesy fun. In still other cases you’ll want to be careful. Saint Patrick’s phrase, “the knowledge that defiles,” applies equally to the movies that we watch as to the rest of our lives.

Three
, some of it is dangerous. Evil is real, and the extent to which horror movies deal with evil, whether supernatural or natural, we want to be careful not to treat it lightly—or behave like deists who dismiss it as “just a movie.” This doesn’t mean we cannot watch it, it simply means we need to be wise and discerning, and in some instances prayerful.

Four, to each his own conscience. What is appropriate for one person in one season of life is not so for another, and we need to give each other permission to respond to the grace we’ve been given. For some, all horror movies are too much. For others, it’s not as much of a challenge.

Read more about horror movies and Christians, here

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