Friday, December 21, 2007

Any thoughts?

I read this today in a commentary on the book of Philippians by Stephen Fowl. I suppose, in light of his statement, my perception of "the result of ecumenism" is that it is a positive thing. But, it is likely that I am missing an aspect of ecumenism that influences his thoughts. Note his use of "Catholic." I assume that by capitalizing the word he means to imply Roman Catholics and, thus, non-Roman Catholics. If Fowl is a Roman Catholic then his statement makes sense according to his tradition (he teaches at Loyola College in Maryland so there is a good chance he is Roman Catholic). To be non-Catholic, thus non-Roman Catholic, is to be outside the church. I believe, however, this point is debated in Roman Catholicism. If that is what Fowl implies, then as a member of the non-Catholic category I would disagree with this statement. I tend to think under the assumption that to be Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, especially Nazarene, is to be catholic (small "c"), as in universal. If, however, my general assumptions are what Fowl means to imply, then I would agree with his statement because if ecumenism results in the fact that catholics and non-catholics are true Christians then the end result would be universalism. Anyways. Any comments?

"The problems of a divided church as we know it today are really the result of ecumenism. The more Catholics and non-Catholics, for example, recognize each other as true Christians, the greater the problem of their division, the sharper the pain of this fracture" (74).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Golden Compass

[SPOILER ALERT: Don’t even think about reading beyond this point if you don’t want to know anything about the books or film.]

I went and watched The Golden Compass last night. If you don’t know anything about this movie, it is based on the first book in a series by Philip Pullman called His Dark Materials (which I mentioned in my last post). I really don’t feel like rehearsing the whole tension surrounding Pullman’s atheism and how he is going to bring Christianity to its demise . . . blah, blah, blah. You can Google all that, or check out a conversation over at Faith and Theology (scroll down, the conversation took place on December 4, 2007). If Pullman was going to do that he would have done so eleven or so years ago when the first book came out, not last week through a movie!

Having read the first two books and being almost half way through the third, I found the movie lacking in a lot of ways (surprise) in terms of a what makes a good movie (granted I’m not specialist). Movies tend to lack when they try to stay close to the text, but maybe not. I’m sure there are examples of successful interpretations from book to movie (anybody got one?) The movie forced the relationships and moved too quickly through some of the character development in order to get to the next action scene. To be fair, I really enjoyed watching the action scenes and comparing them to how I saw them in my mind when I read the book. This allowed me to enjoy the film only because I already knew what was going on, as if I had an insider view. But movies shouldn’t work that way. The movie critic’s were right, though. Nicole Kidman did a spectacular job playing Ms. Coulter. While, the screenplay writers didn’t quite capture the whole character Pullman created in Ms. Coulter, Kidman did a remarkable job displaying the tension between a mom torn between the Magisterium (the bad guys whom she works for) and her daughter. The very first scene in which Ms. Coulter is introduced is a dinner scene at Jordan College where Lyra (Coulter’s daughter) lives. Mind you, she is only twelve. It captures Coulter’s captivating presence among the Jordan scholars as well as how she dazzles Lyra into her confidence. I was particularly impressed with how the background music just draw’s you into the tension. This was a remarkable scene! Also, Iorek Byrnison, King of the ice bears, and the witch, Serafina Pekala, rocked! They will be fun to watch later.

In the end, however, I would save your money till the movie hits the redbox. Read the books, they're way better.

Plus, I have a feeling you won’t get the full affect of the controversy surrounding Pullman’s “agenda” unless you read the books. I just don’t think the movies will have the juevos to say what Pullman said. I might post on Pullmans ideas later, but not now.

Friday, December 07, 2007

boycotting and the bottom line

I guess it was about a month ago when I first received an email from, for the sake of broad generalizations, a concerned conservative evangelical regarding The Golden Compass, newly released in the theaters today. This movie is based on the first book in a series called His Dark Materials by author Philip Pullman. Since then I have being trying to pay attention to how this will unfold. What has sparked my interest in all of this is really nothing new and that is the reality of boycotting. Does boycotting really do anything? I wonder how much one buys into a culture that determines value based on the bottom line (i.e. money) when one boycotts? In other words, if the Church basis its witnesses in boycotting are we not affirming a worldview that determines worth based on monetary value? Think about it this ways: should one ever come across a restaurant that publicly embraces some sort of racist exclusion, perhaps a boycott would be appropriate. On the other hand, if one finds themselves on the inclusive side one might want to stop by from time to time in hopes of persuading the restaurant owner to a different perspective. If the world determines worth based on monetary value then perhaps the only language the Church has to communicate the gospel is in boycotting. If this is true, however, then boycotting is never the bottom line because it is too negative, too destructive. If the Church feels that it has actually overcome the beast based on what it boycotts then we are truly deficient in our witness. True?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

they run for the sake of running

"It takes an adult to be immature. Children are new and full of energy. With the freshness of the renewed earth, their innocence is explosive. they know no doubt. In the gratuity of their being, they run for the sake of running, and not for the sake of arriving somewhere. They are pure elan. That is why they are irresistible."

Wyclef Jean, Nazarenes, and Amy Grant

I read this in the current Rolling Stone magazine.

Rolling Stone: As a hip-hop kid from Haiti, how did you get into rock music?"

Wyclef Jean: My father was a Nazarene preacher, and his English wasn't too good. He went all over America as a missionary, and one day he comes back with a cassette by a rock band called Petra, this Christian rock band. I'll never forget it. We started listening to Christian rock: Petra, Stryper.

RS: Stryper? Really?

WJ: Yeah, of course! I also had, like, Amy Grant. That was part of our church culture. Then I was like, "You, man, we got to start listening to some other shit." So we started listening to Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd. And my dad would accept it because he couldn't speak English. If I was listening to Metallica, he would say "What's that?" And I would say, "It's Christian rock!"