Monthly Blog Archives for
His Master's Voice
|Copyright © 2006 - All rights retained by author|
|Written by: C. W. Booth|
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The White Rose
On Sunday evening past, our family attended the play, The White Rose. This community performance of the world famous play was produced and acted by members of the church of which we are part. It was a highly professional and touching play.
In 1943 six German citizens were executed by the Nazi regime for publishing anti-Nazi literature in Munich. Most were university students, some of whom fought on the Russian and French fronts under Hitler. They detested the civil and war crimes they observed propagated by the Third Reich.
Literally risking their lives, and ultimately forfeiting them, these people believed the common wisdom expression (whose inspiration is often attributed to Edmund Burke), "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Rather than to witness gross wrong and merely do nothing, these people saw the need to speak against it, publicly. It was a costly moral decision, as all members of their tiny "White Rose" protest group were beheaded.
Speaking out on behalf of righteousness and on behalf of God's Kingdom, is not a simple thing. It is frightening to contemplate what one might have to forfeit on this Earth if one chooses to be accountable for what they observe and for what they say. Yet, love, love for God and His kingdom will compel so many Christians to risk all daily, especially in countries hostile to the Gospel.
Anything truly valuable does not arise from ambition or a mere sense of duty, it stems rather from love and devotion. - Albert Einstein, 1947.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. - Romans 12:1-3
Friday, May 19, 2006
The Da Vinci Code – One Christian’s Movie Review
Never having read the book, I did view The Da Vinci Code movie in the theatre on opening day, here in the USA. Until the final fifteen minutes, this was an excellent mystery / who-done-it.
While filled with historical references, this movie was entirely fiction. While not an historian myself, it was reasonably easy to identify numerous references to "events" that have long been proven to be hoaxes (e.g. the Priori of Sion) or mythology. Historical sounding "facts" are simply invented (such as the allegation that Constantine created the Bible). Simply having many references does not mean the events themselves are accurately retold, placed into their proper context, or that the details and interpretations imposed on them are correct. This movie was, in all aspects, a work of pure fiction, historical fidelity does not appear to have been attempted. As a work of pure fiction, simply as entertainment, this was a fun movie.
This movie also seems to actively seek to accommodate everyone's religious beliefs, so as to not offend anyone. It buffers the Catholic Church from the excesses of the fictional characters by noting that this secret council of bishops would be excommunicated if their existence were ever made known to the papacy. It buffers protestant Christians by pointing out that the "Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus" myth changes nothing with relation to Jesus' mission on the planet. And it panders to postmoderns and atheists with its ideal that men recognize their own potential divinity.
Lacking entirely within the movie is any understanding or retelling of the genuine gospel. Absolutely no mention is given that Jesus died on the cross as the payment for men's sins and that He rose again from the dead. To my memory, no actual Scripture was recited, rather, a heavy reliance was placed upon the works of fiction written between 170 a.d. and 300 a.d., known as the Coptic Gospels. Jesus is reduced to mere man while Mary Magdalene is elevated to a near divine status. Of course it was necessary to the storyline to excise genuine Scripture because, in truth, it contradicts all the major plot elements of the movie throughout, and would ruin the illusion of historicity the moviemakers were attempting to generate.
The plot is consumed with murder mysteries and secret councils, and as with any good mystery, betrayals and double crosses. Core to the intrigue is finding the sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene. Homage to action films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade can also be glimpsed if one looks for them. As a murder mystery, this was a good one, until the pontificating near the end. Onerous, long winded speeches about man being divine within himself were simply unneeded in this fictional drama, and proved to be quite anti-climatic.
Should a Christian go see this film? It could confuse a person who does not know the gospel, Scriptures, or history well. Mary adoration, pagan folklore, fractured history, the women's rights movement, and religious symbols all collide to create a new vision of world and church history which never before existed.
On the other hand, it is also yet one more vehicle by which Christians can witness to their confused co-workers and neighbors. It is a simple thing to say, "Yes, I saw the Da Vinci Code, and thought it was a lot of fun. Too bad the real gospel was left out. I thought it would have helped focus the story line to explain that Jesus came to save sinners by living a sinless life, dying on the cross, and then rising from the grave, rather than what the movie said, which was that He came to get married and raise children."
It's your choice. See this movie as fiction and entertainment, or ignore it entirely. However, if you do see it, intentionally plan on ways to work in the gospel and to use it to glorify God when you talk about the movie with your friends.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Hypocritical America: Postmodern Sexual Dilemma
Since the "free love" revolution in the 1970's, America has been in love with undisciplined sexual activity and hedonism. For decades school authorities have sanctioned handing out condoms to children, tacitly approving of whatever deviant deeds the kids might have in mind (except "unprotected" sex). Individuals from some gay groups have been lobbying for the legal right to have sex with consenting minors.
Television shows simply assume that all unmarried adults are having regular sex (e.g. soaps, Friends, Seinfeld, Grey's Anatomy) and glorify youngsters having sex with each other and with adults (e.g. Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson's Creek). Television writers also relish denigrating religion and religious morals by making the cleric the murderer, rapist, or tyrannical dad. Tolerance is beaten into every corporate employee via mandatory training classes; tolerance of sexual activity, tolerance of sexual orientation, etc (the only thing not tolerated in corporate diversity programs is a Christian calling something morally aberrant).
As a result, we have seen public school teachers seducing their students (even intentionally having children with them), the priest-sex-abuse scandal, and an explosion of internet predators. All the while Americans act as though they have no shared culpability in this outcome.
It cannot be both ways. We cannot, as a society, teach that sex outside of marriage must be tolerated and at the same time disown those who swallow such swill. We need to return to public biblical morals. Sex outside of marriage is sinful. Gay sex is evil. Rape is heinous and ought to result in execution for the rapist.
Yes, this is the first decade of the 2000's. And yes, postmodern philosophy is the johnny-come-lately mindset where everyman gets to define words as would suit him, implement only rules that "feel right" to him, and ignore religious systems that impose morals he does not personally wish to follow.
Postmodern philosophy is not a valid basis for culture when it contradicts Scripture. God does not deem the word "commandment" and "obey" to be bad, but very good. God also says His Word will last forever, not because the terms can be redefined at whim, but because the words have eternal meaning and eternal value. Assurance, or certainty, is not improper when the assurance is in God and His Word. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, and John all said many times, "that you may know." That we may be assured and convinced that the Word is true, that God is Lord, that His commandments are worthy to be obeyed, and that we have eternal salvation.
America, and American Christians, must stop being hypocritical. Sex outside of marriage, promiscuity, is a sin and ought to be treated as such and decried as such. Postmodernism be damned, God's rule is absolute.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Photograph by C. W. Booth, copyright.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
This statue is called "The Spirit of American Youth."It depicts the soul of a dead soldier as he rises from the waves at Normandy France to meet with God after being killed during the D-Day Invasion.Behind this memorial statue, the colonnade lauds the sacrifices of those who fought--in the photograph, the word "sacrifice" can be seen.
Why do men die? Why do they sacrifice themselves during war? Some die in a vain chase for greed and power. Others, because men having been created in the image of God still bear the imprint of their Creator, however imperfectly, which causes them to love. To love one another, to hate evil, and to oppose oppression.
We honor all those men who loved us, their fellow countrymen, so much so as to put their lives at risk, and even to give their lives so that we may live in freedom.A few photographs of the American Cemetery in Normandy, France (let us not forget).
Select this line to continue reading into the next month's blog archives.
To read the current month's blog postings, or to read the comments from the public regarding these posts, go to His Master's Voice.