Bollywood, my modern Entertainment go-to for Christ-likeness

A number of my male friends still suspect one of my newest loves is due to the beauty of the Indian film industries actresses, however, I would like to point out that I see more Christ likeness in a number of the last decade’s Bollywood films than I do with many attempts by modern Christian filmmakers to create “christian films.” For my “weaker Brothers”(Rom 14:1-15:7), I do have to point out that some Hindi films do start out with an “offering” to an ancestor or an Indian god. I tend to discount this with what I know is true and move on. Anyway, a few films I would like to point out Christlike characteristics that are central to the plot follow: Vivah, Namastey London, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and Bachna Ae Haseeno. Warning!! Spoilers follow.

Vivah is the story of an arranged marriage in which two shy young adults, one rich  the other poor, are pledged to be married. A tragedy occurs prior to the wedding and rather than choose to abandon his fiance, the young man takes financial responsibility for her injuries and insists on continuing in his commitment to marry her. The film shows a sympathetic image of family that is almost absent from most modern hollywood films.

Namastey London‘s DVD cover description gives a significant hint towards Native Indians long standing prejudice towards Non-Resident Indian(NRI’s):” A British brat meets a Funjabi boy”. The story, holding that prejudice as a truth, presents a young British-raised NRI who wants a modern love-marriage to her rich British boyfriend. She is tricked by her parents into traveling to India to “tour” the country and ends up having to endure her father trying to arrange her marriage. She pretends to agree, on the condition that her family and new husband immediately return to Britain. On returning to Britain, she disavows the traditional wedding and declares it null as they did not file for marriage in India. Her “husband” however declares that as far as he is concerned he is married to her and no matter what she does, he will always consider their marriage his only marriage. Events work out to show that it is the Punjabi married in India, not the rich Britisher, who most cares for her and her heritage.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (meaning ” a match made in heaven”, also one of my top ten favorite movies) is masterpiece of a comedy/drama. A young bride’s love-marriage groom is killed on the way to the wedding and her father suffers a fatal heart attack on hearing the news. Before dying, her father asks his best student to marry his daughter, although the student is much older(mid thirties) than the young (19ish) bride (this is an enormous age difference in Indian culture, where the bride and groom are normally within a year or two apart). After the father’s death, the student takes his new bride home and tries to woo her. As I cannot do justice in describing the ending of this film, all I will say is that it has one of the most touching ( and probably unlikely) endings in cinema.

Bachna Ae Haseeno presents the story of a selfish young man who brings sorrow to two young women by abandoning them before finally meeting the woman of his dreams and  being abandoned by her. He then realizes his wrongs and truly repents- he actually goes to the women he wronged, apologizes, and tries to make what amends he can to their damaged lives.( warning, the song after the airplane flight immediately following the song Jodi Mahi should probably be avoided, it is raunchy, although accurate in the Ariel Levi Female Chauvinist Pigs –like description of what one of the women has become).

After being disappointed by a number of the Christian movies I watched this summer, returning to watch these films was unfortunately much more of a blessing.

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“Right for the Wrong Reasons”?

“Right for the Wrong Reasons”?

About a week ago I watched a video by Christian blogger Benjamin Corey and Franky Schaeffer, son of one of the most influential writers in my life-Francis Schaeffer. In the video, Franky addressed the “gloriously hypocritical”-ness of his parents’ empathy for those inside and outside the church. This discussion addresses, in an aside from the content of Mr. Schaeffer’s new book, two issues of kindness that I have been convicted about for about the past ten years- the “uber-orthodoxy” of modern fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity and the tendency in the same movement to attempt what I call a Catholic solution to the question of does the law apply to those outside the church.

One issue of kindness I briefly struggled with prior to leaving the PCA church that I had attended with my parents for years( not for theological reasons- a combination of what I consider a misunderstanding on my family’s part and of consideration for a family member’s physical condition at the time) was how to deal with those of different theological persuasions- the “ultimate” challenge for Calvinists always seeming to be what to do with the rascally Arminians dominating the Fundamentalist/Evangelical movement. I was fortunate in that I had a pastor who firmly preached what he believed but also pointed to the scriptural admonition to follow Christ, not Paul, Apollos, or Cephas(1 Cor 1:10 – 14). I came to the belief that insofar as a person held to some basic tenets- the creeds(Apostle’s and Nicene), inerrancy of scripture, and the Solas of the reformation- and had a lifestyle that was moving toward conformity with scripture, I was to consider that person my brother or sister in Christ. Later my belief relaxed to allow just the first two theological criteria (with the  addition of the athanasian creed to the creeds after my becoming aware of it) and a life moving toward conformity with scripture. So with regard to “theological  correctness” I do believe in only one way to God- through Christ-but can’t agree with those who insist on one theological camp within Christianity. I would go further and say it is an issue of what Paul addresses in his argument on the weak and the strong  in Romans 14:1 – 15:7. For me, the label “calvinist” is not a challenge to those of differing opinion from me, but an attempt to let people know some of the presuppositions with which I come to the table to discuss issues.

The second issue of kindness the video mentions is the issue of how does a Christian treat an unbeliever. It seems to me that the Christian Right has chosen what I call a catholic solution to this issue, by pushing to have a majority of the populace be Christian and then insist on imposition of Christian laws of conduct by the state on both Christians and non-believers. By catholic,I mean that it seems this argument says that “if one more vote than fifty percent is Christian, we are a Christian nation and are therefore the church (hence, catholic)and are required to judge our brothers(referencing 1 Cor 6:1-6)”. The church will then go on and impose whatever biblical laws the individual Christian thinks are still applicable/valid.

This argument seems to me endemic in our “chapter and verse” mentality in the modern church, choosing out a verse or series of verses and not taking into account verses contextually adjacent. In this case, the argument neglects the two verses preceding the passage: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside….”( 1 Cor 5: 12-13,NIV). While as Christians we believe that government was established to do good and punish evil doers( Gen :5-6, Rom 13:1-5), is every government( including a Christian government/theocracy) going to fulfill these conditions? Of course not! We hold that humans, including Christians, are both fallible and limited in their knowledge.

Here I have to split up my argument, with respect to Christian’s application of law in government and to the application of law to individuals. Concerning government, Christians must obey laws that are in in line with Scripture’s definition of good or which allow Christians to practise what scripture calls good. However, a Christian must not obey a law compelling him from doing what scripture considers to be an evil act towards another nor may he or she obey a law when it prohibits him from doing good(read, a prohibition from feeding the poor or homeless). A Christian must do good towards others, firstly to God and secondly,(because all humans bear the image of God) to our fellow humans. I’ll leave further development of that thought to another day.

Concerning application of law to individuals, however, I see that Christians must take two things into account: they must determine whether the individual they are interacting with is a part of the church, and therefore subject to the biblical imperative of correction according to that shown in Matthew(Matt 18:15-17), or an unbeliever, whom they ought to seek to disciple into truth, to interact with as far as they may within the dictates of their faith in kindness, and to prevent others from having the same privileges( that is, everyone ought to be able to seek and have their own opinion of truth).  I remember in one of Mr. Schaeffer’s father ‘s books, he described bringing a prostitute into the home because she had no where to sleep as an act of Christian kindness. This is precisely what I had in mind when Franky Schaeffer described His parents being “gloriously hypocritical”, I think that they were attempting to emulate Paul’s admonition to let God judge those outside the church. I think we ought to call unbeliever’s sin an nonconformity to God’s will, but let God judge beyond that point and, as humans show all the kindness we can to them, with the intent of being an image of Christ to them(1 Thes. 4:11-12). Thus, I think Franky’s parents were not “right for the wrong reasons.”

All that being said, I’m looking forward to reading this latest book, as I have always enjoyed hearing of the great things Francis Schaeffer did in his life.

Happiness versus Joy in Faith

After actual Bible study, music has been one of the greatest influences in my faith, either in introducing me to spiritual truths in its lyrics or in providing an uplifting note in my life when life has seemed to be spiraling downward. While I like to be nostalgic about the days I would find scriptural references of the lyric sheets of Petra albums to give a starting point to investigate the doctrinal content of the songs, insofar as the music references clearly who we are worshiping, that is Christ ,Jehovah or some biblical name of God, I find benefit to the music.

But the benefit I find is not always happiness, sometimes I am convicted of areas of my life that don’t conform to the Bible. I am frequently not loving, am selfish, and place myself in the place of God through  that selfishness. When I find that the music encourages me to get rid of these negative aspects of my life and I succeed, through God’s enabling, in having different motives from what I held before, I am  able to rejoice and keep moving onwards toward my goal, conformity to what I can see God’s will to be.

What do you think? Should our worship push us to become better or only to comfort us?

Hello

My goal for this blog is three-fold: first, to get me writing again, secondly, to get feedback on the craziness going on inside my brain, and thirdly, to prompt my own further research in the areas of my interest. My interests include the oddities I find in American culture as a formerly home-schooled student, politics and military matters, science in our solar system, and theology. I hope to give equal weight to each subject( meaning one post on each general topic a month).

A quick portrait of myself: born outside Texas, but hurried to the state a few years later, I am proud to be an “adopted” Texan. I liken myself to the Little Engine who Could, I had a slow start, but once I get moving, it’s hard to stop me. I finally obtained my bachelor’s degree in geology last December.

My take on American culture might be labeled seventeenth century, although if I had to choose an era and group that most described my historical and philosophical view, it would probably be eighteenth century New Englanders just prior to the American Revolution. I think many Americans would be shocked how close the New Englander’s view of liberty at that time matched our present view of liberty.

I am returning my attention to politics after about half a decade of giving what I consider to be cursory attention to politics. By which I mean only reading or skimming WSJ editorials or Economist articles or seeing major headlines on yahoo. I have just started listening again to talk radio and am starting to research news blogger sites.

I am  a physics tutor, I love the beauty of how physical systems work together and love even more sharing that enthusiasm with others and seeing them come to an understanding of how the world operates. I also love how physics expresses itself on planets and moons, both in terms of landscape change and in terms of their tidal interactions with each other and the sun.

Lastly in this “me-fest” introduction, I love theology. I am not brightest bulb out there, but I like seeing both what my own faith instructs and and what others teach,so I can at least try to respect other’s beliefs and not offend them at every turn.

Anyway, hopefully Friday I’ll have my second post ready. Have a good day!