Is a house really just a house? I have moved several times over the last two years... *shrug*... *sigh*.
And each house I have lived in I've seen full of furniture, pictures, clothes tossed on the floor, dog toys spread on the furniture, and all kinds of things a normal house would have. Each house has been homey, and I have loved each one for its unique traits.
But strangely enough, there is something I loved more about the houses, and that may be surprising.
When you've moved out the last of your stuff (and yes, it is just stuff) and you take that last walk through it, something about that moment is almost poetic.
The house is empty. Naked. Raw. Exposed.
And when you look intently you can see its bones.
In those moments when the sun is shining through its windows, and the dust flakes are dancing on air, those are the moments that make me take pause. And in those moments I realized this house wasn't part of my life. I was briefly part of its life
And, oh, the stories it would likely tell.
There is a difference between a house and a home. I do know the difference. A home should be filled with people, joy, laughter, family, and its never made of 2x4's.
But to be part of that house's story...that's a privilege.
Our very first movie review!
Okay, calm down, calm down, and let's get down to business. I'm so excited to be reviewing this particular movie as our first featured film.
The movie begins with a freshman college student, Josh Wheaton, registering for classes. Seeing the cross and Newsboys t-shirt he's wearing, the staff member warns him away from Philosophy 150 with Professor Radisson. "Think Roman Colosseum. Lions. People cheering for your death." But Josh sticks with the class and within the first ten minutes finds his faith challenged by the preacher of atheism. The professor asks everyone to write "God is dead" on a sheet of paper, sign it, and turn it in.
Josh refuses to do so.
The professor then challenges him to support his position that God is alive by teaching the next three classes. If he can prove that God's alive, he passes. If not, he loses thirty percent of his over-all grade right off the bat.
The movie deals heavily with the component of Christianity being challenged and ridiculed, particularly in secular universities. If viewers stay and watch through the end credits, they will see numerous cases listed of Christians/groups vs. universities where freedom of speech and religion were threatened to the point it was taken to court.
But I don't want potential movie-goers to think they'll be stuck in a philosophy classroom for over two hours listening to a professor and student debate. Numerous spin-offs occur throughout the film that deal with the questions of sickness, relationships, death, and multicultural perceptions of Christianity.
For the non-Christians that are likely to write this film off feeling it will be too preachy- too forceful and abrasive- I challenge you to see this film. The producers did an excellent job of approaching many of the issues addressed from the perspective of non-believers, atheists, and agnostics alike. Many of the questions and mindsets posed are identical to those of my own prior to becoming a Christian.
Some of the issues addressed include "where is God when bad things happen and why would He allow it," scientific reasoning behind God's existence (including excerpts from Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking), and the consequences that are faced in several other cultures by choosing to be a Christian.
Sexuality: None (Unless you count the general overview shot of campus showing several girls in semi-short-shorts.)
Substance Abuse: None (Unless you count the philosophy department sipping wine.)
Violence: Minimal **spoilers** A young woman is drug out of the house by her hair and struck several times by her father. A man is hit by a car and his body is shown being thrown through the air. This happens quickly and there is minimal blood or lingering visualization.
Other Elements: Obviously the spiritual content is high. The purpose of the movie was to delve into the common debates surrounding spirituality. But the essence in which this is done is appropriate and the motives are pure. No complaints there. Also, some more strictly rigid Christians may have objections to the presence of a contemporary Christian band's presence in the film. Also the fact that the movie is currently playing in a movie theater....
Wrapping It up
Some surprise elements I loved: I had no idea that Willie and Korie Robertson guest starred for a short cameo. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Duck Commander pop up on screen ya'll.
Also I had no idea the Newsboys had a cameo. And a decently long one. As evidenced by my yelping out loud in the theater, "Duncan!...and Frankenstein!"
One of the huge reasons this film struck so near and dear to my heart is that I experienced something similar to what Josh went through while at the state university I attended. While the experience was nowhere near the magnitude of what he faced, I had to answer some very difficult questions on the spot, my first semester, in front of easily one hundred classmates, and found myself gritting my teeth at some of the ridicule Christians received in my humanities class. And again, at the end of my baccalaureate career, my nursing class was told we were not allowed to say the traditional nursing prayer at the end of our pinning ceremony due to a parent being offended the semester before. Thankfully, the class came to a unanimous agreement and was able to sway the dean by all signing a petition requesting the prayer to continue.
My school was in an isolated rural area. And this is still an issue.
The last thing I'm going to leave the audience with is the answer to the question, "How's the quality of the film?" There's no secret in the fact that many Christian films leave much to be desired in the way of filming and production quality. Let's face it, most of these independent companies simply have not had the revenue or time in existence to build up that kind of silver screen sterlingness (I'm aware that's not a word. I was going for alliteration, k?).
This movie is hands-down the best I've seen in aspects of quality. The filming is crisp and clean. And the settings are diverse. Some of the inexperience is still evident in the dialogue of the script. As the great Cherith Plesscher whispered to me in the dark of the theater, "They're a little extreme with the personalities sometimes, hey?" Yes. The good people are good. The bad people are bad. And the art of subtlety still has some room for improvement. But the quality has improved in leaps and bounds and the progression of Christian independent films in the last 5-7 years amazes and excites me. The acting has improved immensely as well.
And you know how we can keep this trend going? By supporting them when they come out. So go!
We are giving this film a 9.75 out of 10 star rating. And telling everyone to go!
Has anyone seen it yet? Want to see it? Have an opinion on Christian films?
Let us hear it!
Picture Credits: www.charismanews.com
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
“The trouble is you think you have time.”
"How did it get so late so soon?"
- Dr. Seuss
I remember being 18, not really having a clue what I wanted, or where God was leading me. People said you're young; you’ve got time to figure it out.
By twenty, I had tried my hand at a couple of things. Still didn’t know. I would worry, but people would say you're young. You have time.
Now I'm twenty-four. I have a general idea of where my life is going... at least I think I do. And I think people were wrong.
Allow me to use money as an example. If you ever listen to Dave Ramsey, he will tell you to spend your money before you get it. For example: say you get an extra five hundred dollars out of nowhere, and it sits there in your account. Eventually you go to a store, see something you want, and there goes thirty bucks. You buy something every time you go to a gas station… You run into several of these situations and, before you know it, five hundred dollars is gone. You can’t really remember what you spent it on. You feel like you wasted it. If you had paid off a credit card or put it in savings, at least you’d feel like it served a purpose.
I think all of us “young people” treat life similarly. A little time here, a little time there, before you know a year is gone. I remember thinking, "What did I do with that year? It's gone." Just like that $500.
When you are young, you do have time to figure stuff out. There is a period of growth and self-defining that is acceptable. But start. You don’t want be twenty-eight and just getting your life in order. You don’t want to spend a year laying around on the couch or just hanging out. Make that year count for something.
I see so many twenty-something year-olds already having been out of high school for a few years. And where do we find them? Stagnant in their own life.
They are frozen.
Put thought into what you pursue. Don’t watch thirty episodes of Criminal Minds, decide you want to be an FBI Behavioral Analyst, and then spend five months in school figuring out that’s not what you really wanted at all. Research. Figure out if you even have the ability or desire to make it in that particular field. Maybe job shadow. Decide if the work is worth it to you. Then make your decision.
Don’t fall in love with the idea.
For example: Photographers. They get to make their own schedule, be their own boss, spend all day doing what they love, take pictures, and brag about their fabulous life on their blog. They’re liars.
Their house is a mess, they spend most of their time at the computer editing, and on the phone setting up appointments and trying to get payments and appointments. Sure they are their own boss, but when crap goes wrong it’s all on their shoulders.
Don’t fall in love with the idea of something. Fall in love with the work- whatever that might be.
Make a plan.
There's nothing wrong with a plan. No matter how boring it sounds. Sure it may change twenty times before it all plays out, but it gives you something to head towards. A finish line.
This is something I had to learn firsthand. My freshman year of college I was an English Major headed into journalism. Then I switched to pre-med to become a pediatrician. Theeen I switched to creative writing. THEN I switched to paramedics. I changed my mind constantly, never finishing anything I started. If I had made sure what I was starting was worth it to make the finish line, I could have saved myself a lot of time (and a lot of money). It is so important to do stuff the right way, not the easy way, and finish what you start.
You don’t have to make those mistakes
Please, please don’t be stupid. I feel like “young people” think they have to find things out for themselves. You don’t. You’re smart. You can look at someone and see how their decisions are working out for them without have to make the same ones. If Sally's partying and binge-drinking her way through college clearly isn't working out for her, you should be able to figure out that it won't work out for you. You should never have to test those waters. Learn from the mistakes of others.
Don't be too serious
If you take joy in what you do and the people you work with, it will feel a lot less like work. So have fun, make jokes, pull pranks, stay up all night once in a while.
You are probably reading this and thinking, "But, Cherith, this is so much more complicated then that. I am trying to figure out what God wants me to do."
Hold the phone. I use to be scared that if I surrendered my future to Jesus (this is different than getting saved) that I would be called to the mission field, or to be a preacher's wife (not that there is anything wrong with being any of those things. But admittedly they aren't the path we are all called to.).
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
God wants to give us the desires of our heart. He doesn't want us to be miserable. You know a funny thing happens when you give your life over to God and you are in constant communication with Him. His desire for your life becomes your desire and it all plays out full circle.
So the big question is- what are you going to do with your five hundred dollars?
We love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! Thanks for reading.