Sunday, June 29, 2008

Through The Editor's Eye to End All Wars

I just finished one of the most inspiring biographies I have ever read. I picked up Ernest Gordon's true story of his experiences as a POW in a Japanese Internment camp during the building of the death railway in Thailand during WWII. What a story! It is the same circumstances that spawned "Bridge Over the River Kwai".

Originally entitled "Miracle in the Valley Kwai", the book is now sold under the title, "To End All Wars". The book is a master piece- Ernest Gordan writes his story with a warm humility and honest truth that is stark and troublesome at the same time. He tells a journey from skepticism to faith and shows how the Christian faith overcame the most severe of human conditions.

I will have many more posts on the book in later blogs.... it is now time to address the movie. I had my doubts that hollywood could tell the story as it is written. I rented the 2001 release that included Keifer Sutherland and made under the title "To End All Wars".

Positives: the movie did attempt to keep the themes of redemption and forgiveness. It did weave a storyline of endurance of good over evil.- But in the attempt to globalize the message- it lost all the power.

The directors had to do a few things to make the film more politically correct.

First, they had to elevate the Japanese. In the documentary included with the DVD- the director explains that he had to show a more sensitive side to the Japanese and tell their side. He had to do it to secure top, authentic Japanese talent- it would have to be sold to Japanese audiences, and I am sure has Japanese financing in the structure.

They did this by inventing a soft, warm Japanese guard who speaks english and sympathizes with the POWS. The book did have a Columbia trained guard in it- but Gordon mentioned his utter hatred of them. Gordon had no warm fuzzy about the Japanese at all in the book. He saw their religion and worldview as false. He saw their tactics as barbarian. His hardest step of faith was to follow Christ down a path of forgiveness... which he did slowly- but make no mistake, the Japs were true enemies.

The movie shows a real life meeting with Gordon and a Japanese captor that happened on the site. The movie tries to point out that Gordon became a Presbyterian minister and the Japanese man became a hindu priest- like they found two sides of the same coin. I will point out later that Gordon saw an infinite abyss between Christ and the other religions. It was only the real Jesus who addressed the atrocities of human suffering. The real Christ, the one who hung on the cross and suffered was the only one who causes Ernest to forsake skepticism and make reason be ruled by his savior and Lord.

The movie removed this Jesus and replaced Him with Plato. Yes, there was a school started at the concentration camp- but only after the real Jesus was discovered. It was Jesus who was the reformer, not Plato. The education was a gift from the Lord- but it was not the Lord. There was a resurgence of service and the arts at the camp- but it was a result of worship of the Creator. The movie elevated deed over Creed, which is our biggest sliding point. We pervert the gospel of grace into a social service. The greatest testament to God's grace in the book was Christmas in the camp. Never mentioned in the movie.

Finally, America had to be pushed down in the movie. Keifer Sutherland's character, "Yanker", was never in the book. The first American we see is almost at the end and it is a paratrooper who confirms the end of the war.

Yanker is invented to show greedy American capitalism and bravado. He is the barter, the stealer. Yes, Yanker is converted... but only through suffering and humility. Do we have to play that message over and over. Is it so important to tell that we actually place a fictitious character in a movie based on facts?

So Hollywood took one of the best books I ever read on the reality of human suffering and the glory of the cross of Jesus Christ and.... cut Jesus out, lifted the Japanese up, bathed in a pool of multi-cultural feel good, took a nice slap at the Americans, paid lip service to redemptive themes- and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

I am beginning to grieve more and more that we are being pulled away from any chance of truth and revival by the single eye of media world view. There is an editor- and his story is often not the truth. How can we get through? When the son of man returns... will He find faith on the earth?

“I See Through the Eyes, Not With Them.” William Blake

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Freedom and Fear

Well, I have been having to fight the fear factor lately. My oldest daughter is driving. She got her permit and has been on the road. On top of that, she just left this morning for a 10 day short term mission trip in Central America- her first time out of the country.

Whether I am next to her in the car or watching an airplane icon travel over the gulf of Mexico- the feeling is the same....HELPLESS.

All I can do is give her to the Father- she is His. When she was a tiny baby, I used to rock her to sleep and pray so hard as I held her 'Lord, put Your angels over her- please protect her' and that prayer has not changed in 15 years.

I just tremble a little more now as I say it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Subtle Sin

“Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”Isaiah 6

G.K. Beale does an excellent job in pointing out that 'sensory organ disorder' is the language that Scripture uses in reference to idolatry.

In all cases- we become what we idolize. In this case, the Israelites had become the same as their gods. Eyes that could not see- Ears that could not hear- Mouth's that could not speak- spiritually inanimate- a form of godliness with no power.

His phrase is "What we revere- we resemble- either to ruin or restoration."

I am guilty of idolatry. It is when I run to anything but the Lord Himself for comfort and security. I take good things and cling to them.
It leaves me powerless and prayer less.
My gods can be a simple as food and complex as my children. I use a smorgasboard of gods to numb the pain of living in a sin sick world.
When god becomes silent, I get angry at Him. But it is not His fault- it is the betrayal of my false idols.

Lord, help me smash my idols of this world. Teach me to be more aware of their consuming power. Let me stay empty and long for You. Let me long more for heaven.
Nothing in this world satisfies....... this is not a morbid statement- it is the reality that leads to true joy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

McCain and Ellen

John McCain appeared on Ellen’s show recently and had to answer questions regarding his opposition to Gay marriage. Whether it was a good decision to appear on the show will be left to the pundits. I wanted to comment on his answers- He really gave no reasons for his stance.

Part of the problem in this post-modern relativistic anti-absolute age is we just say “this is my belief” without compelling information for ‘why’ we believe this to be true.

As the debate continues about homosexual/lesbian issues- we must pray through and reason through (with Scripture as our guide) why we believe what we believe. It is the measure of truth itself that causes some arguments to stand while others fade away.

We must also be ready to attack the pre-suppositions and arguments of those belief systems that are contrary to the truth.

Ellen portrayed McCain’s view as an antiquated dogmatic and unenlightened. She respectfully compared her plight to those of who struggled through women’s suffrage and discrimination. She sees homosexual rights as equal to the civil rights battles of the 60’s.

As Christian’s we applaud the removal of slavery, racism, and sexism. Scripture approves of those who stood on the truth and prevailed. However, no sincere reading of God’s Word gives any allowance for a lifestyle that is characterized as perverse, not progressive.

One question for society is always where to draw the line? My question for Ellen would be what type of behavior is legitimate and what behavior is not? If we are in a civil rights type of battle for sexual preference- what type of sexual preference is taboo? Sex with animals? Sex with children?

There are a number of good reasons for supporting the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman- the number 1 reason is for the stability of our culture.

When you allow rights based on behavior and not birthright, you open up tremendous problems for society. To categorize or legitimize someone based on sexual preference presents several ethical dilemmas.

One Christian social commentator defined “worldly” as any culture’s attempt to make sin seem normal and righteousness seem strange.

I know this view is seen as mean and archaic…outdated. But I must say, in love, that there is no way I can compromise on this issue.

If I did have that ability- I often wonder- If I said, I will accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle IF the gay community would make a commitment to monogamy, I doubt I would get any takers.

Ellen has such a warm personality- but the message for her is the same for all of us. Without the covering of Christ- there is a terrible judgment coming. The time for repentance is now.

Homosexuality is a sin as is adultery and covetousness is a sin. But we have lost the fact that God hates sin. The best proof of this is the cross of Christ.