movie

Lost Episode: “the Moth”

(From the vault – posting some of my past journal’s best entries)

My wife and I recently discovered the TV series Lost. We “rented” the entire first and second season from the library and watched it all in the span of a few weeks. We got so involved with the characters that at one point I was so exasperated and frustrated at what Jack or Locke or Charlie had done that I threw up my hands and ending up knocking out a few lights in our chandelier.  There was one episode that really rocked my world. It was called “The Moth”.

Charlie_Pace_-_LostCharlie, a musician who was addicted to heroin, was trying to get away from the others (not the “others” but the others – if you know what I mean) to get alone so he could get a fix of heroin from the bag he was carrying with him. Locke, the ‘father figure’ of the show, observed Charlie’s behavior and knew what was going on. He confronted him and told him, “Your stash will run out sooner or later, so why don’t you just hand them over?  I want to help you through this.” After some thought, Charlie handed over his drugs. Locke then told him that if he asked him three times for the drugs back that he would give them to him.

Over time, and in the discomfort of de-toxing, Charlie broke down and asked twice for the drugs. Locke pointed to a moth that was struggling to free itself from its cacoon. He explained that he could help it in its struggle but that it was the struggle that made the moths wings strong and ready to fly. If it was freed prematurely without that necessary struggle it would be weak and unprepared to face the world. Charlie finally came the third time and said, “give me my drugs.” Locke replied, “you know this is the third time?” Charlie said, “I know. I have made my decision.” Locke gave it to him. Charlie, right then and there, threw it into fire. Locke said, “I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you.”

Wow.

So what does this speak to you about? I’m interested to hear from you – leave a comment!

——

Here are a few of my thoughts and reactions:

I usually process things that really move me, whether it is in a book, blog, TV show or a movie through the grid of my relationship to God. Like Locke was to Charlie, God is my father figure. He doesn’t just instantly resolve all our problems or give us a struggle free, pain free existance. Yes, we often wish he would, and we often pray incessantly to that end, and then when he “doesn’t come through for us” according to our expectations we often get bitter and dissappointed with God and wonder what good is God if he won’t do such and such a thing for us?

What if he did? A scene from Bruce Almighty just flashed though my mind where Bruce says yes to everyones prayer and bedlam ensues complete with riots in the street, etc…

Often the best thing God can say to us is no, or wait. Yes, God will say yes, in fact, I believe he loves to say yes! But are there people still asking or praying anymore? Are we all still bitter about the time he said “no” or “wait” and so like a spoiled child we don’t talk to God anymore?

So what if, in a moment, he freed you from the cacoon of that vice or that disease, or whatever it is that we are struggling through? What would have failed to happen in our lives? Would our character somehow have failed to be developed from that trial by enduring that temptation or pain? I think so.

It is true that God can and does free people instantly from a vice (be it a drug or porn addiction) or from our suffering (such as cancer), and perhaps this is exactly what he wants to do in your life right now, so by all means keep asking, but also keep fighting. (Paul talks about our fight for the faith – I think this is basically hanging on to the truth that God is love and good and kind in spite of all the supposed “evidence” to the contrary. In this broken fallen world, occupied by enemy spiritual forces of pure evil, all “evidence” is suspect. As someone once said, “Don’t confuse life for God”.

I believe that like a loving understanding father, he is here for us in our trial. He knows far better than we do about what is best for us. I believe God gives us the freedom and strength to endure, to stand strong in it and through it. This strength is something we would not have had on our own… but now we do. Not only that, he promises to never allow us to go through anything that we couldn’t bear, that we couldn’t endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version – NIV)

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Isn’t this amazing? Our Soveriegn God will never let us go through anything that we can’t bear. So if you are really going through it – he has great faith in you!

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Alice in Wonderland – Looking past the looking glass

Catherine and I finally got around to seeing that new version of Alice in Wonderland and we loved it! I am so glad that the writers and directors of this film shared such a positive message. It was a wonderful reminder to us all to have courage and faith to face your life.

I loved the bit about the sword. It reminded me about the reference in the Bible regarding the “sword of the Spirit”, which is the word of God. Alice was told, “the sword knows what to do. All you need to do is hold on to it.” How true that is in the battle we all fight against our own Jaberwokis (be it a sin, failure, depression, etc….) So hang on to the word of God! It knows what to do!

In my humble opinion, Alice in Wonderland was a cinematic masterpiece and redeemed all the past renditions, animated or otherwise.

So… I’ve been working on a song called “Looking Past the Looking Glass”. My little girl Ellie loves it when I sing it to her:

“Looking Past the Looking Glass”

Beauty’s what you are, Deep within your heart
It’s simply not what everybody sees
More than just a pretty face, It’s found in faith and inner grace
For beauty runs far more than surface deep

CHORUS:

I am looking past the looking glass
To see you smiling over me
My Creator, my Redeemer,
You look to the heart of me
So Jesus take me as I am,
I’m reaching out for your hand
I’m looking past the looking glass to you

Daily you will grow, one way or another
Closer to or farther from the truth
Under the watching eyes, of a love that fills the skies
Just know your every choice is making you

Thanks for listening,

Daniel

Ps. Have you lost your muchness?

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Knowing (a movie)

UnknownI just watched an end-of-the-world movie for the second time called “Knowing”. It really made me think. I mean, I grew up reading the bible a great deal and hearing every Sunday about God. So much so that I was numbed into complacency. I thought I knew God but in reality I only knew a thing or two about God. I had reduced God into a comfortable safe little box that I could somehow manage. How wrong I was!

Imagine being one of those Israelites seeing the actual blazing inferno of the Presence of God descend and engulf Mount Sinai. Or imagine being one of those saints who actually met an angel. Every instance of someone meeting an angel in Scripture leaves someone terribly frightened and sobered. I mean, the angel’s first words always have to be, “do not be afraid.” Just imagine meeting a terrible, fearsome, glorious, powerful being that frightens you so terribly you can’t help but fall to your face. Imagine actually seeing what Ezekiel saw as recorded in the beginning (and throughout) the book of Ezekiel! I kind of think that we really don’t believe it when we read it, ya know? We don’t “place ourselves there” when we read the Word. Some of us never even read the Word of God and have no idea what I’m talking about. Most of us no longer wonder at the mystery of it all. We have some sort of comfortable notion of who God is and have spent our lives reducing him to a warm fuzzy

Well, this movie “Knowing” (with Nicholas Cage) did a little something to snap me out of my comfortable and crazy ability to reduce the awesome otherness of God (df. of “Holy”) to little more than a children’s Sunday school story. The movie actually visually interpreted Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel chapter 1. It also portrayed these powerful and mysterious beings (angels) that could just as easily be confused for aliens. Isn’t that exactly what they are?

How it ended was amazing. The movie brought biblical eschatology (the study and theology of end time events) out of the hypothetical realm into the, “O my God, this is for real!” realm. It had me asking questions like, “Could the rapture be like this?” and reminded me of another sobering Scripture, “Many are called but few are chosen.”

Imagine one day having all your comfortable notions about God ripped away from you. You’re left standing naked before this awesome and even more terrifying than an angel God.

The Bible tells us that only those who know God will be saved. Only those who hear and answer his call. I am shaking in my boots realizing that up till now I have been pretty damn lazy in regards to knowing God. I have not pursued this with all my heart! I have been apathetic and lazy.

Here is an encouragement from Scripture:

2 Peter 1:3-11

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am truly sobered by the Scriptures. My response is this: keep God’s Word in front of your face until it changes you. In that passage Peter talks about participating in the Divine nature. One thing that the movie doesn’t really get into is that God is a person, and that God is love. Unless we are participating in that nature of Love, we cannot and must not delude ourselves into thinking we “know God”.

So let’s make a practice of those thing Peter mentions and connect to God’s love.  Scripture tells us that we can never be seperated from God’s love in Romans 8:

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God… but are we connecting to his love in the first place?

I am going to end with a prayer:

God, I know I’ve been avoiding you at all costs, sabotaging myself to keep me away from you. I’ve been a great fool. I step back into the spotlight of your love and trust that your love has something to say in all of my confusion, pain, and sinfulness. Please forgive me and help me to respect the “otherness” and the mystery of you God, while at the same time help me to realize that you are a Person and you are love and nothing can keep me away from that. Help me to connect to your love, and to love you in return, and to love the ones you love.

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