Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Gone Girl and The Imitation Game

I'm initiating a blogging blitz. I have a dozen+ subjects that have stacked up over the month or two past, and if I don't get them out of my system, it'll be too distant to write about. That sadly happened with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is still in the back of my mind but I never got the chance to write anything for. So the next several posts will be short, or so I shall attempt.

Gone Girl

Could have also been called, "How to Frame Your Husband for Murder and Get Away With It."
Synopsis: A cautionary tale against marrying a psychopath.

Verbatim from my notes:
"Other than being original from the standpoint of plot, there was really nothing to take away from it that would make it worth seeing, especially for the Christian. The nicest thing I can say for it is that it very effectively serves as a cautionary tale against marrying someone you don't know, or having extramarital sex. And for the aspiring murderous female psychopaths, it will come across as a documentary on "how to stage your own murder and get someone else to take the blame."

More worrying is perhaps the instructions on how to fake evidence for rape. Just another in the list of hundreds of reasons why the Biblical model for relationships is superior.

At the bottom line, you'll have many young women concluding "she was justified, he deserved it," in much the same disturbing way that I've heard people try to sympathize with the fictional character Saw in the horror franchise of the same name. Why do they rationalize this? Because they sympathize with the main character, and therefore don't want to see their actions as wrong, or because they can't comprehend how "good" people could experience such suffering. They fail to realize the truth, that not only does everybody deserve far worse than that, because none of us are remotely good, and at the same time, none of us deserve to be treated that way by our fellow human beings, because all of us are image bearers of God and therefore deserve to be treated with dignity by others, no matter how despicable we happen to be. There! A Christian comparison.

Conclusion: Do not watch, on account of unnecessary (and gratuitous) sex and cursing

The Imitation Game

I have very little to say about this, save that for once there was a film without female nudity, though it does deal with sexuality -- however it's done maturely, perhaps influenced by the time period it seeks to portray, and likely wouldn't be comprehended by young children. There are references to sexual relationships but not in a graphic or vulgar way, so -- unless you're British -- there shouldn't be anything to overtly offend the senses.

Aside from the unnecessary plot holes/additions, as mentioned here, it was well done. Probably one of the safer award-nominees to allow yourself to watch.

I have little to add that wouldn't be a plot spoiler, and since the movie's worth watching for how the producers dealt with the subjects I have in mind, I will leave it here and not go into more depth.

~ Rak Chazak

The Texas Floods: Awe Reprise

I was "minded by the sight I saw" on the news concerning the Texas flooding, to recall a portion of the poem Awe that I wrote late in 2013.

If nature so strikes awe in men
That they revere it, even when
It proves itself an unfit king,
Then what of Him who made all things?

Should not the God of nature too
Strike awe in hearts of men like you?
And unlike nature, God does not
Consider us a ‘pale blue dot’

It’s true He wants you to feel small
When you are deep in nature’s thrall
It’s so that you’ll depend on Him
Since power comes not from within.

~ Rak Chazak

Further Reading:
I Won't Say the Words "Mother Nature."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poem: We Are the Judges

This is my first attempt at a non-rhyming poem. Not having any formal education regarding poetic structure or styles, I've attempted a little bit of antithetical parallelism.

A queer thing is afoot in America.

We no longer individually judge,
but we collectively heap condemnation.

We abhor the death penalty for murderers,
but transgressors must never be allowed to forget their past sins.

American forgiveness is expressed as legal clemency for felonies
but losing your job over your personal opinion.

The Court of Public Opinion is an unfair tribunal,
where the judges are unelected and their verdicts abide by no law.

There is no statute of limitations,
because restraint is one thing Americans do not have.

We eat, sleep, drink, speak, buy, keep, and excuse ourselves in excess,
and we admit to knowing it's wrong when we criticize others for the same.

Everything must be done to our liking,
because we like ourselves most.

When someone does something bad,
we contrast them to ourselves.

That way, everyone different from us is wrong,
but we never are.

If someone should tell us that our standard is not correct,
we say that judging others is wrong, and judge them as being wrong.

In these days, there is no king;
everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

~ Rak Chazak

PS The Bible verse cited in the final stanza is repeated frequently in the book of the Judges, for example Judges 17:6 . But rather than refer to want of gubernatorial jurisprudence, I am indicating the lack of God's lordship in the hearts of the people in this country. Far fewer follow His precepts -- whether believer, nominal professing believer, or unbeliever alike -- than did in the past, and their actions and opinions are unruly, not being in submission to the Judge of the universe. I'm not talking about lawbreakers, here, I'm talking about those who attempt to pursue or impose punishment on others. Romans 1 describes the unregenerate as unmerciful and unforgiving. Can anyone deny that this is an apt description of our popular culture?

Despite not following God's law, our countrymen insist that there are rules that must be followed, and in so doing fulfill Romans 2:14 -- they "are a law unto themselves," revealing the knowledge, in their conscience, that certain things are right and wrong. But because they do not submit to the revelation of Scripture, their conclusions about what those things are, and what a suitable remedy is for them, is way out of wack. They do what is right in their own eyes because they do not honor the King. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Did God Die For Everyone Who Ever Lived, or Just Some?

If some people are in hell, and you believe that Christ died for everyone,
* then Christ died for those in hell. Then His sacrifice was insufficient to save them.
* then God is unjust, committing double jeopardy, because a person's sins are judged once at the cross, and then again in hell.

If no people are in hell,
* then you reject what the Bible clearly teaches, and have asserted the Universalism heresy.

Your only logical choice is to believe that
* Jesus died for all the sins of some people.
* Those not included in the category of "those He died for" are they who populate hell.

Christianity. The thinking faith.

~ Rak Chazak

Monday, May 18, 2015

Personal Life Update: Flying Colors

Last night as I drove home from work, "Fireflies" by Owl City became my life, for the space of about 5 minutes. 

I remember reading somewhere that Adam had a certain summer night in mind when he wrote it -- whether he was on vacation or if this was in Minnesota, I'm uncertain of, but using the context of his early music's many references to various states that he'd like to visit but never had ("Hello Seattle," "Alaska," "West Coast Friendship" etc), I suspect it was in his home state that he witnessed a swarm of fireflies one night, in the tens of thousands, somewhere in the country.

I run across fireflies on any given summer evening out by the road next to the field opposite my house. But I'd never before seen so many in one place that they resembled elaborate winter holiday decorations. Their rhythmic lighting resulted in what appeared to be waves of strobe lights undulating out from the trees on one side of the road, into the field opposite and back and forth in ways that made it look like the lights were on wires and carrying electric current.

It was really quite spectacular. If you focused on a single light source at once, you could tell that it was a bug, either stationary or slowly flying over the farm field looking for a mate. But when you scanned across the whole landscape, the simplicity of the mating call scaled upward into a much more complex, grander view that provokes you to marvel at how the simple things of earth that God has created can come together in spectacular arrangements so that the big picture of everything is so amazing that the only thing you can do is stand amazed, and give God glory.

It's reminiscent of this:
"By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." Hebrews 11:3

And in a similar way, the small things make up big things. I've always been fascinated by how the macroscopic, microscopic and telescopic views of the world hang together. Ultimately, the bigger stuff has to be explained, in some way, by the smaller stuff. Economics and politics has to be explained by individual human interactions. Culture shifts have to be explained by psychology. Physiology has to be explained by cell theory. Computers have to be explained by electricity and mechanics. And on it goes. Being able to bridge the divisions between fields of study, in one's mind, does wonders for how one is able to understand the world, and marvel at the interconnected nature of reality. Perhaps that's why I'm in the field I'm in. Biology is the connection between chemistry and physiology. History is the connection between how things happened in the past, and why they are the way they are now. Philosophy is the connection between absolute revealed truth and sincere human questioning.

Rightly understood and pursued, of course.

I hope I'll have the opportunity to see a lightshow like that again, maybe with my bride.

Flying colors today doesn't only refer to the lightning bugs I stopped to stare at, but also to the fact that I checked my spring semester grades today and made straight As. And the journey continues!

~ Rak Chazak