Archive for May, 2009

Da Vinci Code

May 29, 2009

What Is It?

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a Harvard professor and world renowned expert on religious symbols. When a Curator at the famous Louvre gallery is found shot, and having arranged himself with blood as Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”, Langdon is called in to help police. Soon, the police are joined by there own symbol expert Sophie Neveu (French actress Audrey Tautou ). Sophie, with a keen cell phone trick, informs Langdon that the police do not want his help, but in fact, he is their prime suspect.

The two, Langdon and Sophie, escape the police, then start on a quest to find out who killed the Curator, who happens to be Sophie’s estranged grandfather. When she was a child, he played games with her using codes and symbols. Now a string of them were left to start her and Langdon on a quest to find the Holy Grail of Christ. They need to solve the mystery before the police catch up with them, and before the albino monk from the ultra conservative Opus Dei kills them, like he killed the Curator.

How Was It?

Though most book snobs are going to hate it, The Da Vinici Code movie is much better than it’s source material. . The book describes the main character, Robert Langdon, in a way that would make you think of Harrison Ford, going so far as to describe him as “Indian Jones in a Tweed Jacket”. The stark contrast between that type of character and Tom Hanks, who plays Langdon in the film, will be troubling for many of the books fans. A story has to change to make the leap from book to film, but adaptations like a claustrophobic Tom Hanks, instead of Dan Brown‘s first choice, were just great. The acting is good, the script is methodical but punchy when it needs too be and the point is not over emphasized. In fact, when the movie’s Leigh Teabing’s (given the truthful voice of a “Good Wizard” by Ian McKellen ) is presenting his “proofs” about Constantine, Gnostic Gospels and Jesus being voted into divinity by the council of Nicene, it’s not as Joe Friday as the book. Instead, as he presents the info, Langdon gives a volley of healthy skepticism and almost snickers at the old man’s insistence on fringe history. Director Ron Howard and Screen Writer Akiva Goldsman seem to realize, what Brown doesn’t, that a point can be made, but over making can actually hurt it. All the pseudo history is not the point of this movie. (Even though fighting the pseudo history is a point that many Christian Ministries are using to get big sales of there own books.)

Not only is this movie more even handed then the book, the clues on the treasure hunt are scaled back to the one’s that make sense. For example, when the grave of the knight is the revealed, you don’t need a PhD in history to know “Hey, that is the right answer.”

There are also other nice touches like character development, and real suspense, instead of just saying “The answer is… oh never mind, I’ll tell you after lunch”

Is It Good For Children?

Most adults are going to be made a bit squeamish by the self punishing monk who whips himself while naked shown on screen) and puts chain chokers on his leg to share in the sufferings of Christ. There are also many glimpses of bloody faces, discussions and flashbacks of deaths and murders, and a brief religious sex ritual. (The latter becomes an aside, instead of the major point it is in the book.) Most kids will just be freaked out, and if not, they will get to contend with……

You can check screenit.com for a compleat breakdown of images on the screen.

What About Spiritual Issues?

Here is the crux of the film. But it’s not the proof of the Gnostic gospels, it’s not the idea that Constantine didn’t really ever convert to Christianity or anything else that you read in sensational pseudo histories. In this movie all that information is given it’s proper place. It’s just there to swirl around and offer “Reasonable Doubt” to bring you to the final conversation between Langdon and Sophie.

He explains that all we know from history is that Jesus was a great man, and we have no historical proof of anything more. This is offered as the reasonable alternative to all the wild conspiracy theories presented throughout the film. This is, of course, one of the biggest historical lies of the movie. (The non-Christian Jewish histories do not say Jesus was a man or a fraud but a Wizard who had powers and falsely attributed them to God.)

Then there is the following lie, which goes further, and becomes more destructive…”All that matters is what YOU believe”. Langdon himself once found some comfort in believing in Jesus, but ultimately, whatever makes someone feel good, is what they need to believe. If that is that Jesus is God, then that’s fine, but if that is that Jesus was just a great man and social orchestrator, then that’s fine too.

This is the lie about Jesus; that you can just decide for yourself who He is and that’s fine. The truth, is however, that Jesus is who He is, it’s not up to you to decided. It’s only up to you to accept or reject. This is the truth that the movie denies.

A lot of Christians are saying this movie is great anyway because it starts a conversation. I don’t think there will be a lot of them for 2 reasons.

1 Despite my best efforts, most people don’t like to “think” about movies and 2 The film pretends to present both sides of the conversation, so there’s nothing more to be said. Some one leaving the theater will think they know that Jesus is just a historical guy and what ever you want to believe about him is fine, so there is NOTHING to discus.

What Is Your Recommendation.

It’s not worth all the fuss. As entertainment it’s good, but it should (and mean’s too) offend anyone who believes in the true historical Jesus of the Bible. So that kills the entertainment value for me.

Is it worth checking out to counter it’s evil claims? Maybe. If you know people who are talking about it’s claims, then grab a debunking book (I suggest The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction: by Hank Hanegraaff & Paul L. Maier – The First half debunks the poor history of the DVC book and the second half explains historical Christianity. It’s short but informative) and see the movie. But when you talk to people, stick the important issue like the movie does…. Who Is Jesus!

Hey, you could always stay home, rent “Lady Killers” and watch a great comedy (with too much cussing to completely recommend) where Tom Hanks sides with the wisdom of man against the truth of God and (spoiler) God smites him for it!

One Last Thought:

There is a list given of reasons destroying Christianity would be a good idea.

One of these reasons in Christian’s suppression of women.

The stated solution: Romantisized Temple Prostitution!

For get all the Da Bunking Code books, Pick up “Amy Carmichael: Let The Little Children Come” and find out how swell temple prostitution really is, and read about Amy Carmichael, the Christian Woman who took girls away from there opportunity to be worshiped as the Divine Feminine.

Amy Carmichael

Lois Dick

The Da Vinci Code

Hank Hanegraaff

The Ladykillers

  • Hank Hanegraaff Speaks Out on the Gospel of Judas Read More Listen Here
  • Hank Hanegraaff Speaks Out on The Da Vinci Code Read More Listen Here
  • Bible Answerman Radio Show with Hank Hanegraaff and Paul Maier Talking About The Da Vinchi Code
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    Kids Books

    May 20, 2009

    My family includes people under the age of three. Therefore much of the entertainment I am questioning these days is Kids Books. In case you are in the same situation (or have an invitation to a Baby Shower or Birthday Party) Here is my selections of the best of our collection.  I look for books that my kids and I can both enjoy together.

    Time for Bed

    Mem Fox, Jane Dyer

     Cute animals all have there mom tell them it’s time for bed. (“Time for bed Little dear little dear, the very last kiss is almost here.”) The cool thing about this book  – one of the animal familys is snakes!

    A Child’s Garden of Verses

    Robert Louis Stevevenson

    Poems from The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    Nursery Rhymes 

     by Susie Lacome

    Tomie dePaola’s More Mother Goose Fa…

    Tomie dePaola

    Poetry Speaks to Children

    The Word & Song Bible

    Stephen Elkins,

    The Word & Song Children’s Bible cd SET 

     

    Once Upon a Parable

    Mack Thomas

    Through the Eyes of Jesus

    Mack Thomas

    Psalm Twenty-Three

    Tim Ladwig

    The First Easter

    Carol Heyer

    Princess & the Kiss

    Jennie Bishop

    Thank You, God

    P. K. Hallinan

    My Sister and I

    P. K. Hallinan

    The Spider and the Fly

    Mary Howitt

    I Like Myself!

    Karen Beaunmont/catrow

     

    G Is for One Gzonk!

    Tony DiTerlizzi

    I Know a Rhino

    Charles Fuge

    Leonardo, the Terrible Monster

    Mo Willems

    Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin 

     by Moss /Priceman

    Angel in the Waters

     by Regina Doman and Ben Hatke

    The New Baby Sticker Book

    Anne Civardi / Stephen Cartwright

    A Grand Old Tree  by DePalma

    Antlers Forever!

     Bloxam and Sollers

    Little Tom Turkey

    Frances Bloxam

    Fancy Nancy

    Jane O’Connor /Glasser

    I love you Mommy Harker and Stephenson

    Click, Clack, Moo 

     Cronin / Lewin

    Who’s Making That Smell?

    Philip Hawthorn/ Cartwright

    There’s a Monster in My House

    Jenny Tyler, Cartwright

    Bee-bim Bop!

    Park and Lee

    I’m a Manatee  by Lithgow and Hoyt

    Counting In The Garden

    Kim Parker

    Fox in Socks

    Dr. Seuss

    Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know…

    Mo Willems

    Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs?

    Coyle and Gordon

    Because Your Daddy Loves You 

     Clements and Alley

    Sitting Ducks

    Michael Bedard

    Seen Art?

    Jon Scieszka and smith

    Baby Danced the Polka

    Karen Beaumont / Plecas

    Wild Animals from Alligator to Zebra…

    Arthur Singer

    What Ever Happened to the Dinosaurs …

    bernard most

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

    Helen Oxenbury Rosen

    Mini Masters Boxed Set

    Merberg and Bober

    Blue Moo

    Sandra Boynton

    Philadelphia Chickens

    Sandra Boynton

    What Is Black and White?

    Petr Horacek

    Wild Animal Baby National Wildlife Federation

    Here Comes Darrell

    Leda Schubert,

    Baby Bug by Lady Bug

    The Curious Garden

    Peter Brown

    All in a Day

    Cynthia Rylant and McClure

    North Country Spring

    Reeve Lindbergh

    How Mama Brought the Spring

    Fran Manushkin and Berry

    Sugarbush Spring

    Marsha Wilson Chall and Daly

    Ox-Cart Man

    Donald Hall/Cooney

    Faint Frogs Feeling Feverish

    Lilian Obligado

    Lucy’s Christmas

    Donald Hall / McCurdy

    Lucy’s Summer 

     Hall / McCurdy

    White Snow, Bright Snow

    Alvin Tresselt Duvoisin

    A Little Bit of Winter

    Paul Stewart / Riddell

    The Mitten Tree

     by Candace Christiansen and Greenstein

     

    The Complete Tales and Poems of Winn…

    A. A. Milne and Shepard

     

     

    A Lovely Day for Amelia Goose

     by Yu Rong

    (OK, That last book is not that great, I jut like to read the author’s name) 

    The Secret Life of Bees Q&E Review Show

    May 13, 2009

    Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

    May 5, 2009

    What Is It?

    This is the final segment of the culture shaping saga that began 28 years ago. Here we have the linking of the past to the future. We also have an experience that has brought families together as kids discover what was one of the biggest events of there parents own childhood. Now all of us can once again take time out of our busy lives for important things.. Like saying your sentences backwards in a Muppet voice, trying to speak like James Earl Jones in need of an inhaler, or more to the point, perfecting our Wookee call…

    How Was It?

    First – Jar Jar is only seen once, for a moment, and does not even open his mouth!

    10pts right there!

    Laying aside the fact that since the 1970’s we have known how this film will end, and just focusing on the idea that getting there is half the fun…. This is the best of the three. The effects are slick and keep moving, though some of the planet “sets” seem just too busy. Lucas still can not write dialog, but here is more cunning in his writing. We often only need to hear plot points and the last ten minutes he lets us see all the characters and wisely drowns out any talking with John Williams’ stellar music.

    The opening battles and sequences with R2-D2 are some of the most fun you can have with these films. (Though in the next three films he has to be hoisted into his X-wing. Are his jets on the blink?)

    The end adds some paired up scenes with similar battles and similar struggles matched up. (Though I still keep the “half the fun” thing in my head… they spent far too long on two simultaneous “light saber battles to the death” when we know that all 4 participants are still alive in the next film.)

    Unfortunately the rise of the Darth Vader we all know and impersonate is rendered very cheesy with a shtick right out of Frankenstein followed by the standard Hollywood, discover your loved one is dead and howl NOOO as the camera pans up and away. Still for a huge budget amusement park ride of a film, with pounds and pounds of our culture’s mythology, this film will still deliver most far far away.. (And I find it an odd triumph that James Earl Jones goes uncredited here once again)

    When all is said and done, in some small way, I too want to join with Yoda as he tries to cram all the emotion of Casablanca’s air plane scene into the touching epitaph “Chewbacca, Miss you I will.”

    Is It Good For Kids?

    This will depend greatly on your child. There are a lot of deaths here, though most of them are not totally shown. There are the same level of weird creatures as there are in the other films. (Though not as bad as Return of the JEDI)

    The biggest disturbance here, (SPOILER) The Sith Lord sends Anakin, now christened with his famous pseudonym, in to kill the JEDI children that Yoda had been training. We only see him come in and menacingly ignite his light saber to the horror of the children, but it is talked about a lot, and we see other JEDI examining the children’s bodies. You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

    How about Spiritual Issues?

    There are plenty of good lessons here, most notably that your actions accumulate and make you who you are. If you build on evil you will be consumed by it. We also hear the difference of living selflessly for others contrasted to the evil of only serving self. We see the allure of evil does not give you what it promises, and the promise comes in much the same package that the serpent in Eden used to present his offer…. and with that the worthwhile messages are done.

    First these movies have been hailed as moral triumphs for there clear portrayal of good veers evil with its night and day distinction. If we go a little deeper into what it is saying, good and evil simply two sides of the same coin. It is personal strength and opinion that puts you on one side of the other.

    Though many will compare “The Force” to the Holy Spirit, they are drastically different. The Spirit is not an “It” but a “He.” and He can not be “used.” He has his own personality and power. He grants power to those who are willing to come in line with His plan. “The Force” is better compared to Electricity. It is huge and powerful, but has no will and can be used at the handler’s discretion to what ever end. In God’s economy the power lies with God. Here the power is all on self.

    Death is also a major theme in this film. Yoda gives a speech as he consoles Anakin who thinks his wife will die in child birth. He tells him (in his Yoda way) that we must not hold on to that which we are afraid to lose. Death is just a part of life. When people die they just become part of “The Force.” If we hold on to them, we only hurt ourselves with the attachment. This is classic Buddhism. Later on it becomes the “High Land” form of Buddhism when (SPOILER) Obi-Wan is told that Qui-Gon Jinn has learned to speak from the other side. Of course, both these views of death are very popular in our culture and many will latch on to them. Like wise they are both in direct opposition to the Bible’s teaching.

    This leads us to Anakin. Anakin is called the chosen one. As we discovered inEpisode Ihe was born from a virgin; implying a very strong resemblance to the Messiah of the Bible. Here, as Obi-Wan is attacking his former pupil, the man now called Darth Vader says “If you are not with me, you are my enemy.” This is almost an exact quote from Jesus who said in Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

    This line of reasoning is thwarted by the hero, Obi-Wan as he scolds “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” (So why have you been talking about Dark Side / Light Side the entire film?)

    It seems that Anakin’s belief in absolutes – this is never right, this is always wrong – is part of what leads him to the Dark Side. Thus, on some level unknowingly to the writer/director/produce, his hero has uttered the single most sinister line in the entire film.

    Bible scholars will also recognize a reference to Mark 15:31 and note Darth Vadors “Death” and “Resurection”.

    What Is Your Recommendation?

    Though the other films (Episodes IV, V , and VI) proclaimed a philosophy counter to Christianity. This set has gone on the offensive. Lucas created and owns who many consider to be the supreme bad guy. He had studied multiple cultures images of the Devil to create Darth Maul, but now he has used the same power to make Darth Vader into a substitute Jesus. You can label me a “Sith” if you like (God know’s I have been called worse) but when Jesus lays down the absolutes, I want to be “For Him.”

    proclaimed a philosophy counter to Christianity. This set has gone on the offensive. Lucas created and owns who many consider to be the supreme bad guy. He had studied multiple cultures images of the Devil to create Darth Maul, but now he has used the same power to make Darth Vader into a substitute Jesus. You can label me a “Sith” if you like (God know’s I have been called worse) but when Jesus lays down the absolutes, I want to be “For Him.”

    If Lucas had put this much effort into linking a positive character to Jesus, this film would be heralded as an evangelical masterpiece. As it stands, it gives us a philosophy that doesn’t work in the spiritual or physical realms. He then puts them in a context that will help most people just let themselves be amused and not think about the words that they are letting into there heads. How ever you plan to handle this cultural phenomenon in your household, Be aware that the following the hero of the film, in the real world, would be more equivalent to falling for the deception of the dark side in there world.

    Up Coming Films

    May 5, 2009

    I just put together a list of films we are considering for up coming Q&E review shows.

    We would love your input

    5/1 – Wolverine

    5/8 Star Trek

    5/15 Angels and Demons

    5/22 Night at the Museum 2 and Terminator Salvation (I don’t really care about these)

    5/29 Pixar’s UP (I just want to see this)

    6/5 Land of the Lost (Should we care?)

    6/19 Food Inc and Year One

     (Year one looks dumb but will have a ton of Bible References so it may be worth talking about.)

    6/26 My Sisters Keeper and Transformers 2

    7/3 Public Enemies

    7/17 Harry Potter

    8/7 GI Joe

    8/21 Inglorious Bastards

    9/25 FAME

    10/16 Where the Wild Things Are

    11/6 The Wolf Man

    Let me know what you think

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    May 3, 2009

    ABIGAIL ROONEYs jewelry from http://www.liasophia.com/abigailrooney