Les Miserables

Ken took me to see Les Miserables last night – WHAT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT. I am so in love with this movie!

lesmis poster scifidrive

The story is set in the early 1800’s in France, where the division between rich and poor is blatant and painful. Jean Valjean is a prisoner – a slave – who, after serving nearly 20 years of hard labor for stealing bread and escape attempts, receives parole from his antagonist, Inspector Javert. Unfortunately, his passport (used in day-to-day life as identification back then) shows that he is a parolee – and no one will give him work or lodging. Homeless and cold, he is taken in by a church – and in desperation, he steals the church’s silver. He is promptly caught by the police and brought back to the church.

What happens next is amazing – the priest says, “my brother, in your hurry to leave, you forgot the candlesticks!” He bids the police to leave – and then bids Valjean to use this opportunity to get right with God. He has an amazing encounter with the Lord, repents, and becomes an honest man – yet he breaks parole and begins a new life under an assumed name in another city.

The story weaves through life, death, redemption, adoption, law, grace, grief, joy and demonstrates what can happen when grace is given and sinners are redeemed… and when redemption is rejected.

I will admit, it was a little bit difficult for us at first to get used to the fact that there’s virtually no spoken dialogue – the entire movie is songs! It was also a little bit difficult at first because neither of us knew much about that portion of French history (ironically, because we’ve learned a lot about the Napoleonic period just before this)… but after a few minutes, we were completely drawn into this epic story.

And epic it is – which, I believe, is one reason the story line is so appealing, millions and millions of people world-wide fell in love with first the novel, then the musical, and now the movie. There is a longing within the human heart to love and be loved – to see the face of God – for adoption – for justice and for true justice – and for being a part of something much bigger than us… to play a part in an epic story.

This movie is a must-see.

I’m sure I’ll be asked if the movie is appropriate for children, and I’d say it depends a lot on the child and on the parent… there are many themes that will be disturbing to children – poverty, slavery, prostitution, violence, the death of a child, suicide, and more. These things were so disturbing to me and other adults in the theater (even the men) that sobs and gasps could be heard at points. However – because this is an epic story rooted in history, it can be explained to children as such. If properly done, I believe that kids over the age of 10 or so can see it and come away not only unscathed, but with a powerful illustration of grace and redemption, and a real draw to playing their own part in the epic story that we live in.

2016: Obama’s America

Wow.

In a word… wow.

A bunch of us went to see 2016: Obama’s America last night. It’s true – “Love him, hate him… but you don’t know him.”  See the trailer here: http://2016themovie.com/trailer/

I highly recommend that every American should see this movie, regardless of political leaning, regardless of ideology or party. It scares the pants off the ultra-left, and it should, because the film exposes a lot of things that the far left would rather have remained hidden.

Dinesh D’Sousa is one of the good guys – super smart (he’s a college president and best-selling author), Christian (and has written extensively on biblical scholarship and apologetics in a similar vein to Ravi Zacharias and Norm Geisler), unflappable and honorable. He also can relate to Barack Obama in ways that most Americans cannot, because in some ways they share similar backgrounds.

D’Sousa makes an excellent case that many of Obama’s policies stem from the anticolonialist ideology that his Kenyan father embraced. Once pointed out, it’s very easy to see this ideology in Obama’s foreign policy – why he supports some countries and abhors others even to the point of offense or severing long-standing alliances. Unfortunately, many of those who are anticolonialists in today’s world are not the sort of folks our founding fathers were. It’s true that in some cases bad men may be running a country; however it does no good for badder men to overthrow those currently in power.

Over the course of the film it becomes fairly obvious what will happen to America if Obama is re-elected… and it goes against everything this country has built since its inception. Quite frankly, quite seriously, without hype or hyperbole, America as we know it will cease to exist.

I greatly appreciated that the movie brought disagreement and raised concerns without dishonoring the man or the office. A fine line to walk, indeed! It also did not make an issue out of religion (other than to correctly identify Obama’s former pastor as a liberation-theology guy).

The one thing I wish that D’Sousa had addressed more thoroughly was the issue of the birth certificate and citizenship. He glossed over that in about ten seconds, leaving the viewer to assume that BO is in fact constitutionally qualified to be our President. I suspect that he side-stepped it because it’s SUCH a polarizing issue and, at this point, a moot point.  We should be far more concerned about other constitutional crimes and offenses being openly committed by the man in the office – and we should be focused on getting him OUT.

See the movie – and pray – and vote.

I would even urge Democrats to see this movie and vote against Obama this election. I do understand that he espouses (or at least gives lip service) to some of your ideals… however, I do believe that he stands against more than he stands for. Great harm will come to all of us – even to the system that allows us to disagree and to vote our conscience – if you allow him to retain that high office. Either vote for Romney or write in a candidate if you feel you can’t vote for Romney (I get that he doesn’t fit your values – but I’m telling you – Romney fits your values better than Obama).

Again – see the movie – pray – and vote.

Chick-Fil-A

How is it that mayors of cities can say, “Chick-Fil-A, you are not welcome here and we’re going to block you from coming in.” … um… Where’s the First Amendment? Oh yeah… the Constitution is, seemingly, against the religion of those mayors… so they get to force their religion on everyone else in the name of tolerance.

Glenn Beck – conservative Christian champion? No.

I posted this on facebook, and my friend Abner Suarez came along and said I should blog it, too – so here goes:

I love Glenn Beck. He’s a great guy, I agree with him on many political issues, he’s a media master and quite brilliant. I’m glad that somebody is standing up and doing the things that he’s doing, and I support him in that. Would have gone to the restoring honor rally on Sat if I could have gotten there…

But I see a growing danger as he calls for “God and country” – media and evangelicals are painting him as a “Christian conservative.” Conservative, yes. A good, moral man – undoubtedly. But here’s the rub: he’s not a Christian. He is a Mormon. While the differences are small on the surface, scratch that surface and you’ll realize that Mormons are most assuredly NOT Christians.

Beck can be a champion of the conservative moment – and even of those of us who are Christian and conservative. But he cannot be champion of a conservative Christian movement, unless he surrenders his heart to Christ.

Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now

The publisher sent me a review copy of Present Perfect by Gregory Boyd. It’s about finding God in the “now”, living mindful of His presence at all times.

Any time I get a book, I do a three or four minute “skim”, then usually a half-hour “read”. Books that are especially good end up being read word-for-word (very few authors make the cut). This is a speed-reading technique that I learned in first grade that has served me well my whole life. I test virtually all reading mater

I really hate to say it, and they probably won’t like it, and maybe won’t send me more books to review… but I cannot recommend this book. Sorry. 🙁

The author had an experience with God, which was very cool. But he lost me on page 15 when he called those sorts of experiences, “rare”.  God wants to have those experiences with us and we can have them… even initiate them!  If a person’s perception of encounters with the manifest presence of God is that they are (and should be) rare, they need to chase after God instead of writing books. If someone is having a hard time encountering God or realizing the need to, come hang out with us for a few days with a heart open to encounter Him  😉

One paragraph after he calls these experiences “rare”, he said something that made me smile – then frown. Then almost refuse to continue my three-minute skim:

“God is the God of the living, not the God of the already-past or the not-yet-present. He’s the great “I AM”, not the great “I was” or the great “I will be.” He’s been present in every moment in the past, for which we can be thankful, and He’ll be present at every moment in the future, which gives us great hope. But He’s only alive and active now, in the present — which is, once again, the only thing that’s real.” (This is not an exact quote. I have capitalized the pronouns relative to God because I feel that this should be done as one small way to give Him the honor and glory that He is due. Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine, to the point that I really have problems reading a book (or Bible translation) that does not capitalize pronouns that should be capitalized. And I will change the capitalization in a quote.)

Boyd is right – God is the God of the living. He IS the Great I AM, but to say He’s only alive and active “now” is really an attempt to diminish His greatness.

Then later on in the book, he shows a whole lot of ignorance about revival…so much that I put the book down.

Nope. Can’t recommend it. Sorry 🙁

You can read other reviews from other Blog Tour reviewers (below) — I do admit to a great deal of militancy in my beliefs regarding the Kingdom of God, His nature, and revival. If you’re less militant about these issues, check out the reviews or get the book & read it.

About dreams and broken glass
AKA Theodore Lewis
Bell Whistle Moon
Bible Dude
Blame it on the Loud Mouth Gene
Blessed
Blog Tour Spot
Book Story
Captain’s Blog
Deus E Fiel
Heading Home
Healthy Spirituality
Hurdling Hurdles
iamhealed.net
JohnnaPostic.com
Lighthouse Academy
Musings
Musings by Lynn
Net’s Book Notes
Ponderings by Andrea
Ragamuffing Scrap Craft
Refresh My Soul
Scraps and Snippets
Sherri Woodbridge
Catholic View
Sunflower Faith
Tattered Couch
The Christian Naturalist
The Friendly Book Nook
Uma Pirralha Na Universidade
Word Up Studies