Footloose (2011) – Review

Footloose2011Poster

I’ll be honest, I was biased when I pressed play.

I recorded it weeks ago, but with nothing else on TV, I decided to finally put it on.

Remakes in general drive me nuts, so I wasn’t too enthusiastic about this one – not to mention they removed the best part: Kevin Bacon!

From reading this review, you may think I’m some old fogey. No, I am almost 25 years old, and am honest enough to admit that I do not agree with the kids in this movie at all. Instead of my usual review format, I’ll just do bullet-points.

The Good

  • The acting. I didn’t know most of them (with the exception of Miles Teller, Dennis Quaid, and Andie MacDowell), but all of them played their roles well.
  • The dancing featured some of our favourite moves from the original, while incorporating modern actions.
  • They kept to the idea of the original, not trying to make it something different. After all, what makes movies like the original Footloose a great movie, is that it can be timeless.

The Bad

  • Rules make kids rebel – No, idiot kids do that just fine on their own. It’s like saying laws like ‘No Murder’ are responsible for people wanting to murder. Of course ‘no music’ is ridiculous, but indulging in underage sex, drugs, and alcohol aren’t intelligent decisions. Until we are ~25 years old, our brains are still forming, and the last part to form is the long-term effects of their actions. As adults it is our responsibility to ensure those still developing aren’t making the decisions they cannot make. If they think it’s unfair, tough luck.
  • Church and State – The world isn’t going to follow God and doesn’t believe in Him, but that doesn’t mean He’s not real. There is no real separation of church and state, God has laws and they are above all other laws. Most of the time, where do you think they got the laws?
  • Dancing in the Bible – Yes David and the worshippers danced, but no where in the Bible does it have them rubbing up against each other in a Holy way in celebration of God.
  • At every step of the movie they show how right the laws were. These kids didn’t want to do things the right way. When there was no law against music, they still acted like idiots. If they didn’t have alcohol and drugs, and didn’t let their dance movements lead to underage sex, then there wouldn’t be a problem.
  • Adults may play these roles in the movie, but the ages are 15/16/17 years old. They are children, not adults. They have barely been alive, and yet they think they know everything. News flash, they don’t.

I’m sure there are many more reasons I can name, but I’ll leave it there for now. Let me know what you thought of the movie.

To finish on a lighter note, here is the amazing Kevin Bacon doing his famous dance in 2014.

 

3 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Isaiah 25:6

Biblical-wisdom_350_210_90

Every night I do my Bible reading, but there was a verse that had caused me some trouble. Obviously I know that every document – especially historical – must be read in context, so I set off on my task.

The Verse:

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
ISAIAH 25:6 (NIV)

red_meat_red_wine
Photo found HERE.

The Problem:

In this verse, Isaiah is talking about the feast that will be had in Heaven. Regardless if it is an actual, physical, feast, or not, it is the use of the word ‘meats‘ that confused me.

Death is an enemy. Nothing died in the Garden of Eden, because death could not exist in the presence of our Holy Lord. This means that when we are together in Heaven, there will be no more death, and that includes animals.

So, how are we then eating meat?

Numerous times throughout the book of Isaiah’s prophecies, he talks about peace from death in Heaven, so why is this different. Isaiah was such a God-loved man, and Jesus often referred to him, so how could I reconcile this?

I was puzzled.

dc9Kd9Lzi.png

Researching:

I emailed a friend and my brother, but didn’t get an answer that satisfied me.

I tried assorted Google searches, but no one seemed to be talking about it. Everyone spoke of Isaiah’sproclamation‘ of vegetarianism in Heaven, so I knew there must have been a clear answer to my query. I just had to keep looking.

There is a fantastic website called Bible Gateway, which has a multitude of translations of both the Old and New Testament. The default one seemed to be NIV (New International Version). It read as above.

My friend is a HUGE fan of the King James Version (KJV), so I thought I would see if that phrased it in a clearer way.

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts
make unto all people a feast of fat things,
a feast of wines on the lees,
of fat things full of marrow,
of wines on the lees well refined.
ISAIAH 25:6 (KJV)

Here we can see it is a bit different. Instead of ‘meat‘ it says ‘fat things full of marrow‘. Granted it’s not very different, but maybe it can give some clues.

As I said before, we must always read in context. One site I visited said that marrow is not only very good for you to eat, but is a delicacy. It is opulent and rich, and not something a lot of people can afford. At the time in which Isaiah was writing this prophecy, they were at war. What was something that was unattainable and would be seen as a great luxury in Heaven? Meat and wine.

While you may be able to read through Isaiah like one chapter after the other, it is important to note that the book is a collection of his prophecies, and each occurred at a different time. What he may have said in one context in one prophecy, would be totally different in another.

I had one last look at the list of Bible translations, and found exactly what I was looking for.

On this mountain AdonaiTzva’ot
will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food and superb wines,
delicious, rich food and superb, elegant wines.
ISAIAH 25:6 (CJB)

This translation comes from the CJB Complete Jewish Bible – and, I think, would be closest, as it is for the Old Testament.

Here we can see that what was translated as ‘meat‘, was previously translated as ‘delicious, rich food‘.

The Solution:

Isaiah was saying that, in Heaven, there will be no more death and fear (like they were experiencing with their ongoing war), and they would be free to eat the best food and drink the best drink.

The use of meat was not literal, and was the context of the time of what they considered a “delicious, rich food“. They would have known it would not have been actual meat, because Isaiah (and others) had said no more death would occur in Heaven.

1487956_578189608954001_406531588799181633_o
Photo found HERE. It is actually titled ‘Wedding at Cana’ by Paolo Veronese. Though not the feast in Heaven, Jesus always likened it to a wedding feast, and it was at this wedding that Jesus miraculously transformed water into wine.

So, I hope you liked this little research trip. I wanted to write it in case someone else stumbled upon the words.

If you have anything else to add, please do so in the comments below!

Why I Am A Christian

I’ve been talking to a lot of people because of this blog. Some are Christian, some are from other faiths, and some are atheists.

80xNxchat_twotone,P20,P281,P29.png,q1373482340.pagespeed.ic.T9YLcmShBm

The majority of the time, the atheists are militant, aiming to only proclaim their own faith (in themselves – a foolish option). I tried to answer their questions and spread God’s word, but I was left wanting. I felt broken inside. Over and over again I would answer questions, until I realised that these people didn’t want answers. They only wanted to fight. They never listened, and I felt like I was letting God down.

Then God put a  single verse in my head.

For everyone who asks receives, the
one who seeks finds; and to the one
who knocks, the door will be opened.
MATTHEW 7:8

jesus-knocking-the-door
Image found HERE

These people weren’t atheists because I hadn’t answered them. They were atheists because they WANTED to be. If they would truly seek God, He would reveal Himself to them.

During this time, I asked myself: Why am I a Christian?

CHILDHOOD
My mother raised me to believe in God. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know He was up there. But with early childhood not being an easy time for my family, I could have blamed God. I didn’t. I understood.

Biblical-wisdom_350_210_90
Image found HERE

RESEARCH
It was when I entered university that I decided I needed to learn more about God. I wanted to know the TRUE history of the world; I wanted to know why I was created; and I wanted to know how I would be spending eternity. All those answers are found in the Bible. As the years have gone on, I have done research, research, and more research. Everything continues to point to God.

question
Image found HERE

So, why am I a Christian? I’m a Christian because I have listened to what God has told us about Himself, I have prayed that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and I have faith that Jesus died and rose from the dead to pay for our sins and defeat death.

Why are you a Christian? What is it about our Lord and Saviour that first called to you? Let me know in the comments below!

New Year’s Resolutions!

latest-happy-new-year-2016-photos

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

No matter how many times you tell yourself you won’t make one this year, or you’ll stick to it, something always goes wrong.

Here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.

  • Keep blogging. Most blogs quit within 8 months. I’ve just reached 2 months and am very happy with the response so far.

blogging

  • Schedule. One thing I’ve learned this past year is that everything in life is horrible without a proper schedule (SLEEP!). I will aim to set and stick to a proper schedule.

schedule word circle marked on a calendar

  • Follow and listen to God. I will continue to read through the Bible, and learn more about what he has revealed to us.

bible-light-rays

  • Work. Something is always getting in the way of the work I want to do. There are always jobs that need to be done (cleaning, cooking, etc.), but I will try and focus on future career work.

writing

So, that’s about it for me.

What about you? Let me know yours in the comments below!

Little Drummer Boy – A Christmas Carol Study

This song quickly became my favourite after I heard it performed by a band called Pentatonix. I even wrote a review about it HERE.

If you’re after more, check out my other Christmas carol studies: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, and Silent Night.

Listen to the song, and come along with me as we delve into the meaning behind the lyrics.

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum

412reXnu5+L._SY355_

Who came? This song tells the story of a young boy, coming to see baby Jesus. It does not hold true to any first Christmas records, so don’t try and find it in the Bible. As you will see, it is a beautiful telling of a child who travelled to see baby Jesus, and offering as a gift the only thing he could give: a song on his drum.

The use of a child, instead of an adult is, I think, a beautiful way of commenting on Jesus’ love for children. Jesus often spoke of the beauty of a child’s love and faith. This child was coming before Jesus’ ministry, with enough faith to come for his very birth.

Why a drum? I don’t know about this, and would welcome any thoughts and opinions. In the interest of expanding my knowledge and having an input for it here, I did some research.

There are a few times when percussion instruments were mentioned in the Bible. I found a great site (Drums & the Bible) which explains quite in-depth.

So while I’m not sure if this was what the song writer intended, it is cool to see the connection.

A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum

black-baby-jesus

Where would you expect a king to be born? In a palace? Surrounded by legions of loyal followers and servants? How about in a manger in a stable, surrounded by smelly animals? Jesus had only just been born and he was already a King. As both the Son of God, and God, he is the King of us all, and if we accept Jesus’ gracious gift of salvation, we get to spend eternity with him.

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

5133MSPHvRL._SX425_

As I said above, who would bring expensive gifts to a baby from a no-name family? The Bible tells us of three gifts given to baby Jesus: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Have you ever thought what these specific gifts meant? Were they chosen by the wise men (remember, they were not kings and were most likely more than three) because they were symbols, or did they also have more practical reasons? Let’s have a look together.

GOLD – Gold represents kingship. At numerous times in the Bible, gold was a gift given to kings. It was also something that would pay for their journey.

FRANKINCENSE – Frankincense could have symbolised Jesus’ priestly role. At the time, frankincense had been used for health, funeral purposes, and in the temple. It was used in sacrifices, and could have symbolised the sacrifice they knew Jesus would have to make.

MYRRH – The gift of myrrh was possibly a comment on his future – as it was often used in death and embalming. I found an article on website (HERE) that explains it much better than I could. It reads:

Myrrh was also a product of Arabia, and was obtained
from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was a
spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes
mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink
was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified,
as a stupefying potion (Mark 15:23). Matthew 27:34 refers to
it as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and
affliction. The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a
man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life
on the cross for all who would believe in Him.

So to honour Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

While it is unknown where the little drummer boy was supposed to have come from, the wise men (Magi) most likely came from Babylon or Ancient Persia. Despite what the Christmas carols and nativity scenes show, a cursory read of the gospels shows that the wise men actually wouldn’t have been at the birth of Jesus. From their talk with Herod, and other mentions, they would have arrived 1-2 years later. They still brought gifts, but not at the birth.

Pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum ahh

Chinese-drum

Drumming…

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum

We have heard them call Jesus the “King”, but here we see another part of Jesus. He came down to Earth to live as a human. Here, he was a little baby. What is more precious that a little baby? The fact that the most powerful became something to little and vulnerable, is awe inspiring.

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum

I’ve heard different opinions on the wealth of Jesus (well, at this time, Mary and Joseph).

What we know about Joseph was that he was a carpenter. Nothing seems to indicate they were wealthy in anyway, and we are repeatedly told Jesus was poor. During his ministry, they relied on the kindness of others to supply them with lodging and food.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Joseph did not have enough money or prestige to get them an appropriate place to stay. The gifts from the Magi (even if they were given 1-2 years later) would have helped, but it most likely would have been used to fund their escape to Egypt.

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give a king, pa rum pum pum
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?
(pum pum pum part)

Have you ever felt like someone has given you so much and you could never repay them? How about when Christmas comes around and everyone is swapping presents, and you realise a lot more effort and money went into the present you were given than the one you gave out? Wouldn’t you feel worse if the one getting the short end of the stick was God as human Jesus who came to earth to die for our sins?

In this song, the little drummer boy, he is a poor boy who travelled to greet the Lord in human form, and didn’t have anything worthy enough to give as a gift. With God doing so much for us, it is easy for us to feel inadequate, but we must remember that God loves us and only wants us to accept the sacrifice his son made. There is no list of good deeds that will make us worthy, and no gift we can give to God, because everything is already his!

So what does the little drummer boy do? He shares the gift of music that he had been blessed with. One common misconception about Christianity (from those that want to make it fit to their desires, not God’s) is that as long as you do your best, you will go to Heaven. While the little drummer boy did his best, he did it FOR Jesus. We need to acknowledge that Jesus is God (in the Holy Trinity), that he came to earth as a human, taught, healed, died on the cross, and rose again, all so that we could have eternal life with him in Heaven.

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

I read something the other day about Joseph not being mentioned in the birth records; not even a ‘midwife’. The Bible says Mary wrapped Jesus in the strips, and Mary laid him in the manger. Being a first time father, there might not have been much he could have contributed. In this song, Mary nodded. I love this mother-son bonding.

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I don’t know what to comment about this part. If you have any comments, please leave them below. I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
(pum pum pum part)

As it was said before, there is nothing better than giving your best to God.

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

This song ends with Jesus showing not just his approval – which could have been a nod – but his love, shown in a smile.

I love this song and really enjoyed looking into the meanings behind the lyrics.

What did you think?

Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below so it can be made well-rounded.

O Little Town Of Bethlehem – A Christmas Carol Study

With Christmas approaching, it seems like everyday I have another Christmas song playing in my head. In about a week there will be numerous Christmas Carol events playing on the TV, with thousands in the audience singing along. But how much do they know about the songs and their meanings?

It’s a sad state of affairs that most of the people in the audience probably aren’t even Christian, so I wanted to look at what they can learn about the religion from these songs, if they only opened their hearts and truly listened.

The first song I’m dissecting is O Little Town of Bethlehem. Have a listen, read my thoughts, and leave a comment.

Here we go…

O little town of Bethlehem,

As with pretty much every Christmas carol, this song is about the event of the birth of Jesus, who is both God, and the fulfilment of the promise made by God to save humanity from eternal death.

The Old Testament book of Micah, Chapter 5, verse 2, states:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

This clearly points to Bethlehem – in the district of Ephrathah – as being the place where Jesus would be born. From Genesis 3:14-15, the first book in the Bible, we read about God telling Satan that Jesus would be born and they will battle, but Jesus will win. This all happened shortly after creation, and is definitely from ‘ancient times’.

Although Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, were from Nazareth, they had travelled to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus had issued a decree that every male of age needed to be recorded in a census (counting how many people there are). As Joseph’s line traced back to King David, he needed to go to David’s birth place – Bethlehem.

In Romans times, Bethlehem also wasn’t exactly a bustling metropolis, so his birth here is indicative of Jesus’ desire to not be seen as royalty by Earth standards.

How still we see thee lie!
Above your deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.

With the census bringing many people to the area, it is often assumed that places such as inns (ancient-time hotels) would have been very busy.

Luke 2:7 states: “She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”

I don’t know how quiet and still it would have been with so many people there, but it is showing that, despite the human birth of God right there with them, it was not heralded like royalty should be (especially God royalty).

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light,

Star-of-Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem was prophesied long before this night. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt where they had been held as slaves for generations, God led them by a cloud during the day, and a cloud with fire during the night. As the creator, God has the power to change what he created. He did this with the Star of Bethlehem.

It was the Magi (not Kings, and there are no records of it being only three), that saw the star in the sky, and followed it, knowing it would lead to Jesus. These Magi, or Wise Men, were most likely Jewish scholars, who had studied the ancient texts very carefully, and recognised the sign from God that many others didn’t.

“The everlasting Light” is also another way of referring to Jesus, as John recorded in John 8:12: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””

The hopes and fears of all the years,
Are met in thee tonight.

Since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and caused humanity to be separated from everlasting life with God, there was obviously a lot to fear. But there was also a lot to hope for. As I said above, all the way back then, God promised that Jesus would come and we would get another chance to spend eternity with him.

O morning stars, together
Proclaim thy holy birth
And praises sing to God, the King,
And peace to men on earth.

While it is beautiful imagery to think of stars singing praises to their creator, it’s unlikely it actually happened. However, Jesus was – and is – someone to loudly and proudly proclaim our love for.

Again, when Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they caused the fall of EVERYTHING. Humans weren’t the only ones to suffer. Animals – who were all created to be vegetarians – began to fight and eat each other; the land became hard to work; and with God taking the step back we requested, the lack of perfection caused all of Earth (natural phenomenon) to ‘fall’ into chaos. With the redemption promised through Jesus, all of these would one day be restored to perfection.

For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.

Mary-and-Baby-Jesus

This first line is a VERY important one. Note it does not say: ‘Mary and Joseph‘. It just says ‘Mary’. And why? Because Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. Even a cursory look at ancient texts from the time, you can see that families were recorded by the male lineage, not the female. God chose to divert from that because he was showing yet again that the Earth-way of doing things wasn’t the right and holy way.

Again looking at Genesis 3:14-15, God spoke to Satan, saying:

“Because you have done this, you are cursed
more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
groveling in the dust as long as you live.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Over and over again in the Bible, there are prophecies that not only talk about an approaching event, but an event at a far away time. The bold and underlined identifiers were added by me to show that God was talking about Mary and Jesus. Jesus would be the foe of Satan, and Jesus was the offspring of Mary (not a man).

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

This ‘Gift’ is Jesus and his promise of everlasting life with God in Heaven. Being meek isn’t something humans often praise, but God glorifies those who do not boast or ‘play a part’ in the sinful nature of this world.

For those that receive Jesus and proclaim him as their saviour, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will enter us and work in us, and we will get our promised  – though not deserved – reward.

Where children pure and happy,
Pray to the blessed child.
Where misery cries out to thee,
Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stand watching,
And faith holds hope wide the door,
The dark night wakes,
The glory breaks,
And christmas once more.

jesus-loves-children-colourful

During his ministry, Jesus often spoke of the pureness of children: their love and faith. When children come to God and pray to him, it is the sweetest thing in the world.

Jesus came FOR us. He didn’t come to be served, he came to serve. “The dark night wakes”, the darkness leaves when the light (Jesus = Light) arrives.

This is a beautiful song that has a very important message. I hope you liked my ‘review’, and might listen a bit more closely to these songs and praise the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Don’t forget to check out the next in the series: ‘Away in a Manger’ HERE.

Heaven Is For Real (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.


images-2

There was a time when religious movies ran abound. When Heaven was not a fairy-tale and the harsh world knew that peace was attainable. Then came the time when in order to talk about Jesus and Heaven, films needed to first focus on the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Thank the Lord that time has passed. The resurgence of Christian films brings a smile to my face and so does Heaven is for Real.

Colton Burpo is three years old when his stomach flu suddenly turns into appendicitis. His parents rush him to the hospital, and are given the heartbreaking news that complications gave their son little-to-no chance of survival. The parents pray, a miracle occurs, and Colton recovers. Four months later, he begins speaking of things and people he could not possibly know. He reveals the moments of his near death experience, and describes Heaven and seeing Jesus. His father, a Pastor at the local church, wants to believe his son, but finds the growing pressure from the community and arriving horde of media almost too much to process. Did Colton truly visit Heaven? Watch this movie and decide for yourself.

Rarely will you find a book that translates well into a film, but this film actually does. Firstly, the cast are amazing, with Greg Kinnear excellently playing the struggling father, and the adorable newcomer Connor Corum. Secondly, we all know it might not be factually correct. We don’t know what the afterlife will look like, and it has also been noted that there was no evidence reported that Colton was clinically dead during his surgery. However, it’s the point of the film, to bring about hope and individual religious discovery. The same could be said for Field of Dreams (1989). Nowhere in the Bible does it say that deceased baseball players will attend your field if you build one, but it was about hearing God and having the faith and trust in him to follow his commands, regardless of your temporary understanding.

In terms of the technical aspects, Heaven is for Real is creatively beautiful. The scenery is breathtaking, with the wide shots of the open farmland expanse and the bright colours of nature popping with intensity. The unique camera angles and visual effects work seamlessly, complementing the story.

Of course, a film like this will still have those that attack it for its religious message. Many reviews have commended the film for both its script and cast, while criticising it for how ‘preachy’ it was.

Whether you are a religious person or not, this movie is a must-see. It does not matter if what Colton – in real life – experienced was a true afterlife, but what his testimony stands for. It is a beautiful and heart-warming story that does not revolve around car chases or vampires, and has the ability to get important conversations started. With the recent line of Christian movies hitting the cinemas, now is a good time to gather the family and enjoy the flicks!

3 out of 5 stars