Confessions of a Superhero

If you’ve read this blog, you’ve noticed a few posts on my trips to Hollywood. And if you have been to Hollywood, then you know about the people wearing dirty, usually horribly done costumes, hoping someone wants to take a picture. One time I was actually saying to Leah that I would love to spend a week as a one of them to learn what its like to be them. I’ve had so much curiosity. Part of it is the fascination of watching a train wreck.

Some of these people are just horrible at what they do. You have a older man dressed up as Superman with a fanny pack. There was also a Picachu that looked like he hadn’t washed his costume in a few years. Within the last year, Chewbacca got arrested for assaulting someone. I found this one particularly amusing since I previously witnessed another exchange between Chewbacca on a lunch break and an older Asian tourist when I was on my way to the restroom. When I was walking the other way, a security guard had gotten involved. This whole culture is just fascinating.

The reason I bring this up, is that I found out that there has been a documentary done on these people. It focuses on four people, a different Superman than the one I was speaking of, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, and a porous Batman. It follows what they do, how they do it, and most importantly, why in the world they do it. It was released in the theaters in November, but is supposed to come out on video this month. It seems pretty under the radar, so don’t expect to find it in a video store.

Just as a disclaimer, I haven’t seen this movie, and it is rated R for language. I’m not condoning or recommending it, but just pointing it out because it has directly met an odd curiosity of mine. Now all that they need to do is release a documentary following one of those guys that drives around picking up ‘lost’ shopping carts.

Here’s the preview:

Here are some excerpts:

(Just a warning, don’t bother watching any other ones with this Superman in it, as there are a couple that are pretty inappropriate.)

Golden Compass- Movie Review

One of the great things about being in youth ministry is that you can take kids to have lunch, see a movie, and call it ministry! I know some people don’t like this idea, but I took whoever wanted to go in our high school group, and saw the movie, “The Golden Compass”. I made it clear it wasn’t a church event so much as it was just hanging out. After the movie, we walked to our apartment (we live less than a mile from the theater), and talked about the movie. More on that later.

As far as the movie goes, I thought it was fairly entertaining. It isn’t often that I see movies after I have read the book. Honestly, I’m not usually reading books that they make movies out of. So this was an interesting event for me. I always hear people rant about how the book was so much better, and those rants annoy me, so I’m not going to say that. That’s partly because I actually didn’t think that this book was the best thing since ink was put to paper, as most seem to think.

I thought that the beginning of the movie was pretty rushed, which I realize it had to be in order to keep the movie from being a ‘family’ movie that passed the two and half hour mark. At the present, it comes in at just under 2 hours.

The main beef I had with the movie was its unfaithfulness to the layout of the book. I was shocked when the director decided to switch two of the main conflicts at the end of the book. This decision, I thought, took away from the flow of the story, as well as removing some pretty tense scenes.

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Al Mohler on “The Golden Compass”

For those of you who know me, I absolutely love Mohler and always have my ears open as to what he has to say.  If you are wondering a Biblical reaction to something going on in our culture would be, chances are Mohler has spoken about it.  This includes the furor growing around “The Golden Compass”.  If you were wondering how big of a deal this movie is and how it has touched off many a debates, all you have to do is look at the popularity of the post I had on it.  To date, the post has received 256 hits.  That doesn’t even include people who look at the blog and read that post with others.  That is those who have individually clicked on the post, or found it through a search engine. And that is just since November 14th, when I wrote the post.

So, needless to say, the subject has become very popular, as I knew it would.  I wanted to include some thoughts that Mohler brought to his blog.  As he always does, he puts it much better than I could ever explain it.  Here are some blurbs:

This is not just any fantasy trilogy or film project.  Philip Pullman has an agenda — an agenda about as subtle as an army tank.  His agenda is nothing less than to expose what he believes is the tyranny of the Christian faith and the Christian church.  His hatred of the biblical storyline is clear.  He is an atheist whose most important literary project is intended to offer a moral narrative that will reverse the biblical account of the fall and provide a liberating mythology for a new secular age.

This point has been humorously debated by atheists, and even Pullman himself.  He denies that this was his motivation, but that is either an incredible case of denial of the obvious or he’s trying to cover his tail to silent some of the furor, in hopes that it does not detract from the success of the movies, which would lead to further success of the books.

The most direct attacks upon Christianity and God do not appear until the last book, The Amber Spyglass, in which Lyra and Will (a boy her age who first appears in the second book) eventually kill God, who turns out to be a decrepit and feeble old imposter who was hardly worth the killing.

I include this note, just because I didn’t read the last one, and I didn’t want to quote a source that I didn’t necessarily trust, but Mohler’s word can be trusted.

In response to the question, ‘Is Pullman’s attack on Christianity exaggerated by his critics?’ Mohler had this to say:

No — his attack is neither hidden nor subtle.  The entire premise of the trilogy is that Lyra is the child foretold by prophecy who will reverse the curse of the Fall and free humanity from the lie of original sin.  Whereas in Christian theology it is Jesus Christ who reverses the curse through His work of atonement on the Cross, Pullman presents his own theology of sorts in which the Fall is reversed through the defiance of these children.  As Pullman insists, Eve and Adam were right to eat the forbidden fruit and God was a tyrant to forbid them the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Mohler quotes Pullman saying a few things about “The Chronicles of Narnia”.

Put simply, Pullman hates C. S. Lewis’s work The Chronicles of Narnia.  He told Hannah Rosin that Lewis’s famous work is “morally loathsome” and “one of the most ugly and poisonous things I ever read.”  Narnia, he said, “is the Christian one . . . .  And mine is the non-Christian.”

When the first Narnia film was released in 2005, Pullman described the books as “a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice.”

Yeah, the whole ‘good overcoming evil’ theme is just loathsome.  (Now atheists, I know there are other things that Pullman would object to, but it just seems quite humorous that he finds them so despicable.)

In Mohler’s conclusion, he has some good points:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has enemies; this we know.  Christian parents must be informed about His Dark Materials and inform others.  We must take the responsibility to use interest in this film to teach our own children to think biblically and to be discerning in their engagement with the media in all forms.  We should arm our children to be able to talk about this project with their classmates without fear or rancor.

Philip Pullman has an agenda, but so do we.  Our agenda is the Gospel of Christ — a message infinitely more powerful than that of The Golden Compass.  Pullman’s worldview of unrestricted human autonomy would be nightmarish if ever achieved.  His story promises liberation but would enslave human beings to themselves and destroy all transcendent value.

Another thought:

This is about the battle of ideas and worldviews.  While Christians will not celebrate the release of this film, we should recognize the mixture of challenge and opportunity that comes with millions of persons watching this film and talking about the issues it raises.  When the movie is mentioned in the workplace, in school, on the playground, or in the college campus, this is a great opportunity to show that Christians are not afraid of the battle of ideas.

We should recognize that the Christian Church has some very embarrassing moments in its history – moments when it has failed to represent the truth of the Gospel and the love of Christ.  Authors like Philip Pullman take advantage of these failures in order to paint the entire Christian Church as a conspiracy against human happiness and freedom.  Of course, that charge will not stand close scrutiny, and we can face it head-on with a thoughtful response.

I couldn’t say it any better than Mohler, but this is not something we should run from.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting some thoughts and evaluations of the “New Atheism”.  I realize that these will be lightening rods for some Atheists, particularly those who have frequented this blog over the last few weeks, but so be it.  This New Atheism is not tolerant of Christianity, or those who tolerate it.  They desire to see it broken, destroyed, and obliterated, and they seek to shame those who would even dare to tolerate it.  I think this calls for some familiarization with some of the thoughts of the movement, who the personalities are, and some of the arguments that will become louder as the movement grows.

Blood Diamond

This past Friday evening the wife and I found ourselves with a free evening and a movie gift certificate to boot! So we made our way to our local Cineplex and checked out what we wanted to see. The wifey was interested in seeing ‘Blood Diamond’. I was somewhat hesitant because I’m a normal man who doesn’t really like Leonardo DiCaprio. But I saw it was about Africa and it appeared to have a good cast, including Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. For those who don’t know what the story is about, here’s a summary:

“Set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories and their circumstances are as different as any can be until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond, the kind of stone that can transform a life…or end it.”

While it was definitely not the most comfortable movie to see, it was very powerful and is good to be made aware of the social disasters that are occuring in countries that don’t threaten the U.S. or have oil. Anyone that knows me, knows that Uganda has a special place in my heart, as do the Invisible Children that are suffering. This movie shows the same thing that is going on in Northern Uganda, where children are getting kidnapped to build and arm the rebellion army. They are brain washed and made into child killers.

The movie is very bloody, but it never glorified the violence. They didn’t have anything in the movie that you thought was unnecessary, and I think they presented the illegal diamond trade in a very realistic sense. they show you the innocent people it affects and the process people will go through to justify their involvement. It was just a powerful movie that makes you think about what is going on in Africa where the governments aren’t powerful or honest enough to stop the tragedies. DiCaprio plays a brilliant role, showing that he has indeed become one of the finest actors around. He pulls of ‘Africans’ and a great accent throughout that doesn’t make you cringe like most actors who attempt accents.

this is the world we live in…

I’ve recently run across a few things that have surprised even me. The more time passes the more irrational people become.

Check out this story. Apparently talking about God makes a movie ‘dangerous’. but while i’m on this story, i don’t know if this is the bext example of God working in people’s lives. The description of the movie at the end might raise a false hope of God working in situations. just weird all around.

I loved the commentary on this story.

If you’ve ever wanted to run someone off the road, don’t worry. It wasn’t a sinful issue in your heart. It may have been Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

How much more people have to die or get raped before we deal with sex offenders differently? A sad ending to this story.

random thoughts

Glad we finally found out that Bush knew Katrina was going to be bad. He’s the president, he should have stopped the hurricane. Maybe if our army wasn’t in Iraq and Afghanistan it could have fought the hurricane. He at least could have said something ahead of time to let people know that they should leave the city.

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Seriously, though, I can’t believe Bush came out and said that the cartoons shouldn’t have been published. What is he expecting to gain by sucking up to the Arabs like this? They’re still rioting and burning him in effigy even though he didn’t print them. That got him nowhere.

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Did you hear about that Ferrari Enzo (a price tag of $1 million) that crashed in Malibu after hitting a pole going 162 mph? This German guy owned it and said that he wasn’t the driver and a guy named Deitrich owned it and ran away after the crash. Uh huh…. But Stefan the owner and purported ‘passenger’ was legally intoxicated and had a bloody lip. It seems that the passenger air bag lacked a spot of blood on it, but the drivers side did. So, Stefan, you’re telling us a guy got up and ran away after crashing at 162 mph? To make it even more odd, a couple guys showed up after the accident and showed police badges, claiming to be Homeland Security. It turns out they weren’t. Good luck, Stefan.

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Speaking of Ferrari’s, Dr Phil’s is on sale. And the license plate says ‘Dr. Phil’, just in case somewhat thought it was another tall, bald guy in a Ferrari.

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When did people start believing that the Bill of Rights gives them the right to say anything anywhere? Don’t people realize that if they are working for someone their employer can tell them not to say something? People get so upset if they get fired from a radio station or teaching job, but the employers set the rules. No one is saying you can’t say those things in your own time, you just have to follow the wishes of your boss.

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On that note, censorship. John Milton wrote a very good piece on censorship and I think that this word is being tossed around a bit too much. Censorship isn’t someone deciding not to run your movie, print your book, air your words, or remove your art. That is their freedom. Censorship is someone changing your words, editing your movie, or repainting your art. Censorship is a post-production change to your product apart from the artist/author’s wishes. Seems like everyone loves to cry wolf about someone not running their piece, but they don’t realize it isn’t their right.

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There are no good movies out. Beth called me the other day, saying she wanted to go to the movies and asked what was good to see. I said, “that’s presuming there IS anything good out.” She asked about ‘Transamerica’ and if that was good. I said, “Other than it being about a guy becoming a female?” I sort of wish I told her it was great and she needed to see it.

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