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Avatar Movie Review

January 31, 2010

Neytiri

I was hesitant about this movie because of the Avatar cartoons out there that my son had seen on television years ago.  In the cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang has a spirit guide.  This spirit guide died a long time ago and helps Aang from the spirit world.  I have no doubts that there is a spirit world, but based on the Bible, taking direction from a familiar spirit is a no, no. 

Jake Sully, Former Marine now in a wheelchair

The movie Avatar is not the same as this cartoon.  In fact, there is a different movie made based on this cartoon called The Last Airbender.  Because the word avatar was in both of these shows, I figured it was the same concept.  It wasn’t.  Avatar, according to thefreedictionary.com, is “a movable image that represents a person in a virtual reality environment or in cyberspace”.  The movie Avatar is more in line with this definition than that pertaining to the Hindu religion.

The Avatar World

The Avatar World

What first alarmed me about Avatar, the movie, was when my son mentioned that the natives on the planet Pandora worshipped other gods.  This gave me the red flag, so when he asked to watch it, I didn’t jump up and say yes.  First, I did the usual.  Read a few reviews online, asked my son a few more questions, then tried to decide. 

I had read some bad reviews from non-believers saying that the script wasn’t great or that they expected more out of the movie, but I’ve read bad reviews on movies that I enjoyed, so I didn’t pay too much attention to these.  I came across positive reviews from Christian standpoints, but one bothered me.  The person gave it a positive review, and said, “There is no mother earth, and their way of praying was not correct.”  This sentence told me not to see the movie.  Then a few days later, my husband took me on a suprise date to see the movie.  Curious to get the facts, I went.  I pondered over how I would explain to my husband why I walked out on the movie.  I didn’t, though…walk out. 

I was excited to see Avatar in 3D on the big screen.  People raved about it.  It didn’t make sense to me because I had worn those flimsy 3D glasses made out of paper before, and they didn’t work well at all.  Maybe my head just didn’t fit ’em right or something.  I’ll tell ya, I was blown away by the visuals in this movie so much, that I had to refocus so I could be in tune with hearing the movie, as well.

During the movie, when the Na’vi’s prayed to a female god, Eywa, my reasoning went something like this: well, they pray to one God, come to a temple-like place to pray (which happens to be a tree), and it seems that the plant lives on that planet are more connected and able to communicate with each other to a point, more so than on Earth.  After the movie, my husband made the comment that the planet Pandora was a living organism.  His understanding was that the Na’vi’s were simply talking to the planet through the tree.  To me, this reasoning made it sound like the Na’vi’s were praying to the planet.  Although, I did see his point. 

In the Bible, no one comes to God but through Jesus.  In this movie, the Na’vi’s go to the tree to pray to Eywa.  As taught in the Bible, we don’t try seeking the dead.  In Avatar, you can sometimes hear the prayers of those in the past through the tree (I see this as the tree recording their prayers versus hearing the words of the dead).  In the Bible, God is the Father.  The Na’vi’s see Him as a female.  From this, I could only assume God hasn’t shown up in Pandora the way He did on Earth.  Or that they hadn’t actually had a visitation there from God the way we had on Earth.

Here are some things I heard in the movie that involved spirituality:

1. “They are seeds of the sacred tree.  Very pure spirits.”

2. “She’s the spiritual leader, like a shaman.”

3. “Eywa is their goddess, a deity.”

4. “She keeps talking about the flow of energy, the spirit of animals.  Like a network of energy that flows through all living things.”

5. “All energy is borrowed.  One day you have to give it back.”

6. “There’s something going on in the trees biologically.  It’s not pagan vudu.  There’s an electro chemical connection, like neurons, between the roots.”

7. “The tree of life…a place for prayers to be heard and sometims answered.”

8. “The Na’Vi can upload and download information at these locations.” (referring to the glowing trees)

8. “They live within Eywa.”

9.  “She must pass through the eye of Eywa.”

10.  “It is a demon in a false body.” (referring to the avatars)

My recommendation is to watch it if you want, and if I’m wrong, God will give me more wisdom in the future and He will for you, too.  I am going to let my son watch it, but asked for us to talk about the film afterwards.  In the past, I’ve asked him why a movie might not glorify God, and he would reluctantly give me reasons why.  The reasons out of his own mouth, helped him understand why I wouldn’t let him watch that particular movie.  From this experience, I learned a new way to help my teen apply Biblical principles to everyday life.  By simply asking him how it lines up with the Bible.

God bless.

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Haiti Orphanage Crushed in Earthquake

January 13, 2010

An earthquake with magnitude 7.0 hit Haiti Tuesday afternoon causing possibly more than 100,000 to perish, according to officials.  Schools and hospitals were crushed with many dead.

The orphanage above in Jacmel, Haiti was also crushed, but the children are okay.  They have no place to sleep and are working on making a lean-to for shelter.  If you would like to help, please contact Cherie Cecil for more information 641-919-1745.

Sponsor a child in Haiti Orphanage  at $32.00 a month for a partial sponsorship and $64.00 for a full sponsorship.

Fireproof Movie Review

January 13, 2010

Fireproof was not a movie my husband wanted to watch with me, but he did.  Though he had his doubts about it, we both got something out of it.

Fireproof is a story about a young couple, Catherine and Caleb, who are on the brink of divorce due to their differences.  She nags about him not helping out during his days off (she works 2 jobs to help her sick mother), she nags about him looking at pornography online, and she nags about him saving his money for a boat instead of paying for house repairs and upgrades.

He complains that she nags all the time and doesn’t respect that he works hard to save people’s lives as a fireman.  He believes he should be able to save for his boat because he started saving for it before they got married.  And he reminds her that they agreed her second job was for her to spend how she wanted, so that’s how the upgrades to their home should be paid for.

Ahh, the bickering.  When watching it on the screen as a third party observer, it hits home to many.  As she nagged, my chest tightened up and I could feel myself hold my breath as I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I nag too.

Events unfolded and Caleb’s dad gave him a Love Dare.  He dared Caleb to love his wife like he said he did and go through each day doing something for their marriage.  Caleb’s dad gave him a journal with what to do each day.  Day one was to be positive, or to purposely not say anything negative to his wife.  She was unresponsive through Caleb’s experiment, but Catherine did notice a change in her husband.  In the end, Caleb gave her what she wanted most; what proved to her that he really did care.

I thought about the difficulties in a marriage that Fireproof brought up.  Sometimes we have to love others even if we felt at one point they didn’t deserve the extra effort.  We have to trust God enough that even if we open our hearts up for rejection, that God will bring something good from our efforts.  In Fireproof, Caleb took the dare and reaped the rewards of forgiveness in his marriage.

As I walked the aisles of Walmart, I came across a book, “The Love Dare“.  God had been urging me to be more loving towards my husband and others around me, even my complaining customers and unfair bosses.  God wants us to forgive and not carry the burden of having to change others.  Like the movie, Day 1 of the book, “The Love Dare“, also says to be positive and don’t say anything negative to your husband.  It can also apply to the other people we come in contact with throughout the day.

Fireproof helps us see that there is hope in a failing marriage.  Reconciliation is possible, even on the brink of divorce, if we just dare to follow a few steps, just to see what happens.  It’s just a dare, no biggy.  But the rewards of this dare can change the course of our hearts.  We all want instant results, and we can get that by changing ourselves first.  We just have to take the chance and see what happens.

God bless.

“Once An Arafat Man” Book Review

January 7, 2010

Once An Arafat Man By Tass Saada

Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life

I’m not the type of person that likes to read about war, or even watch the news because there is so much bad news out there that it can sometimes be overwhelming.   This book is different.  It’s not just a report on war in the Middle East, it’s about the journey of a former PLO sniper who learned to love instead of hate.  It reads like a novel and gives you compassion for two peoples at war over land. 

Once An Arafat Man” reminds us that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, who was loved by God.  Although Ishmael and his mother were eventually rejected by Abraham, God did not forget His promise that Ishmael would also be blessed. God did not reject Ishmael, nor does He reject Palestinians. 

Taysir (Tass) Saada begins his story showing us how he learned to hate.  His family migrated from Israel to Saudi before he was born.  In Saudi, the natives regarded him as a refugee  even before grade school. He felt very rejected by how he and his family were treated all around.  He recalls one event when his father was beaten half to death by police called mutawwa because he was working on a Friday, Islam’s holy day.  Tass felt he did not quite belong.  He resented that his family was not able to go back home to get back what they had lost.

Many years later, Tass became a new man.  He still had struggles along the way, like the rest of us do, but he learned to love Jesus, a Jew, and learned to love the Israelis that he fought so hard to destroy.

Many of us struggle with resentment, bitterness, anger, and rejection.  This book will soften hearts and move them to work towards peace.

God bless.

(Tyndale House Publishers has provided a complimentary copy of this book.)

Christian Fantasy Novels

December 22, 2009

Circle Trilogy

I do believe you have to watch what some Christians recommend, because good versus evil is not the only basis of what makes something Christian.  In fact, I was talking to a fellow Christian the other day who said they don’t see anything wrong with books like the Harry Potter series because she thought it was just a part of growing up.  Christians who have never dealt with occult practices may not even think twice about witches or vampires.  Maybe to these people, the spirit world isn’t real, just fantasy.

Reading a few excerpts from the Bible (like Acts 16:16 where the lady had a spirit of divination cast out of her and Acts 19:19 where people burned their books on spiritism and other books of this sort) tells me something different.  It tells me that the spirit world is real and that some are affected by things they cannot see.  God is supernatural, so it should be no suprise to people that the supernatural exists.  I’m not saying that we live in a fantasy world where we could suddenly grow wings and fly, unless God made it so, but that there is more to these novels than some would want to believe.

War in Heaven

Author, Theodore Beale wrote, “In my opinion…the only characteristic which serves to identify a book as Christian is one that is written from the foundational perspective that the resurrected Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of humanity.”  Without being schooled in the Bible as a young Christian, it wasn’t too hard for me to figure this out.  So things like Tarot cards and trying to contact the dead were not a good thing to do.  Being a fictional character in a book does not change this. Showing that occultish things happen is different from saying it’s okay to do.

Finding reading material and tv shows/films that we can watch with good conscience can be a problem.  Recently, I came across a website recommending Christian Fantasy books, but even with that, the first book I purchased from the list showed one of the good guys doing a form of witchraft in the first 10 pages. Hopefully they took that book off their list and are not okay with these types of practices.

Curse of Spider King

In my search, I did come across a few Christian authors who have written fantasy books: Wayne Thomas Batson (Curse of the Spider King, The Door Within, The Rise of the Wyrm Lord), Thoedore Beale (Rebel Moon, The War In Heaven, The Wrath of Angels), and Ted Dekker (Thr3e, Red, Black, Elyon).  I haven’t personally read these books as of yet, but based on reviews and reading exerts from their books, I don’t believe any of the heroes/heroins practice any witchcraft in these books. 

These authors give Christians an alternative to temptations like Harry Potter and the Twilight vampire series.  There is a wave of popularity with authors who are Christian, so hopefully, for those of us looking for forms of entertainment in line with our beliefs, we will see more  Christian authors writing in this genre.

God bless.

Stealing Gifts at the Church Function

December 15, 2009

 

Christmas Tree

Click here to enjoy the pics.

The title is a little misleading, but really, we were supposed to steal the gift. Third time it got stolen, the gift found a home. I was a newbie to the Women’s Christmas dinner, but it was fun. Here’s the rules: pick a number, pick a gift, or take someone else’s.

I nominate the winner of the best gift to the crackers for Haiti! 2nd runner up, the foot and a half snowman. 3rd runner up, the angel that lit up like a tree. She found a good home.

The best gifts on the A-Z gift list you’d give to Jesus was the W for Wii, U for Ugg boots, R for Rosetta Stone, K for Kilt, C for Christmas Tree. There were more, let me tell ya.

It was all fun and games. At this gathering, it was okay to let loose and be a little silly.

Click here to enjoy the pics.

God Bless.

30 Days of Peace: Friction – Day 3 & 4

December 14, 2009

God’s nudges to do what is right may not be as strong as in the beginning, but it doesn’t mean He wants us to back down and compromise. He wants us to practice being a peacekeeper even though our souls still want to override what the Spirit is saying. Like an athlete, we are practicing new habits. Soon, by making a conscious effort to keep the peace, we’ll be able to hold our peace without forcing ourselves to.

I noticed irritation almost comes hand in hand with lack of sleep.  If you’re on autopilot, it’s even worse for those  whose temperaments don’t lean towards being a peacekeeper.  Friction from unexpected attitudes or situations can get your blood pressure rising.  Personally, it starts from from my shoulders, to my neck up to my head.  Normally, at this point, things can get cloudy and my decision making isn’t always the greatest.  Making a conscious effort to be more peaceful has changed all this.  In the back of my mind, the Holy Spirit reminds me to hold my peace.

Although it all seems unrelated, Bible studies on forgiveness are related to holding your peace.  I think the tools each person needs to use may be different.  Instead of calling it forgiveness, call it being thankful, being positive, or simply being peaceful.  Each has a different take, but produces similar outcomes, being happier.

God bless.

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