Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

Hello all, here I am with a new post, it has been what? A few weeks? I was waiting for something I don’t know-important, real, right?

So look, this has been another week of ups and downs, moments of strong and mercyful faith, moments of sin, confusion and distraction as ever. But then here is the part that may end up most challenging or interesting in some ways. The day before yesterday a couple of my work colleagues seemed to have learned or guessed that I am Christian.

So look, I have never really hidden this, but I suppose I have not always shouted it from the rooftops-some reasons for this are linked to not working Sundays, and a previous manager not wanting me to encourage other staff to do the same.

So yes, these are both two younger guys I can mostly view as friends I would say-especially the one who just suddenly, but in a friendly way looked at me and said-

‘Are you a Christian?’ (He did say it with a curious smile, not in a vindictive way)

I was not at all expecting this, just going about with the usual tasks in work. So I possibly hesitated for a short couple of seconds-what is the right way to confirm this, in 2015?-I said, with a smile…

‘Well, yes I am, in my own strange way’ (or something very close to this, it was a rushed, surprise moment so some of it s lost to me)

So then began a casual but unexpected conversation in a friendly manner about my faith, my view of what/who God is or might be, what I think about Jesus, my friend’s own beliefs, childhood religious upbringing. The other guy there just quietly said he was probably atheist while the one talking a lot I think decided that he was possibly agnostic these days. He had been put through a religious school period with nuns, that Catholic kind of thing I think.

At first, he expressed just how shock he was in some ways-

‘But you like Lamb of God and listen to metal!?’ he said.

‘Well, I don’t love Lamb of God, but yeah I like metal and rock music…so?’

So I expressed my current personal views-briefly, I mean, were at work, and this just suddenly happened. Well, at present he is still my friend, and had the view of ‘to each their own, fair enough’. One of the others guys I saw at work yesterday and was not too sure if he was really wanting to still know me now. But it seemed that he was okay still like he always has been, I think. I think it probably helps that they have known me for a good while previously, so they’re not suddenly meeting a ‘Christian’. They know me, how I am, what I like, my interests. I told them ‘look, I’l be first to tell you church music sucks, that’s why I listen to a good few christian metal and rock bands’. I have previously lost some friends when they have found that I that I have this particular kind of faith, and just hope that these guys still want to know me and that we can continue to work well together as we usually do.

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Okay the thought came into my mind either today or late yesterday. It was a bit different, not as serious perhaps and scripture focused for this blog as usual but I think it is worth exploring…

It is the end of the week too, so maybe I had this lighter thought in mind as I relax slightly near the weekend.

Here it is-What would Jesus laugh at?

Okay, that might not have been the first burst of the idea, but that is what frames it. It mostly goes around myself as a christian, and other Christians today…what do you find funny, what do you think you CAN find funny? What do you think you are NOT allowed to find funny, being a Christian? Why is that?

Myself, I am a fairly relaxed person, pretty mainstream, almost secular if not for the faith part. I’m ‘Born-Again’ (urrgh, awkward term but…whatever) and so I’ve got a regular British, western pop cultural background.

I am not ashamed to say that I have for many years since my teens years been a big fan of Blackadder, The Young Ones, the Naked Gun movies, Austin Powers films, the Bottom tv show, Harry Enfield shows, Monty Python…(yes, all of Monty Python…) Red Dwarf and much, much more varied kinds of great comedy in tv, film, radio and more places.

Yes, I did mention Monty Python. Over here in the UK, they are almost universally seen as a modern classic comedy institution, legends who have influenced modern comedy shows, films, and actors worldwide. But they made that film didn’t they…? The one about Jesus…

Okay, so Life of Brian if you have not really ever seen it or heard about it, did create quite a big controversial fuss in the late 70’s with a number of Brit politicians and tv presenters and journalists harrassing the members of Python, and asking why make such an apparently ‘Blasphemous’ film?

The film actuall focuses on a baby born in a stable, named Brian, who grows up, wanders around, experiences some strange event, then says somethings that many people take as inspirational and special but he just wants a quiet life, to be left alone but the crowds beleive him to be the chosen one, sent to them. He is not the Messiah. He is Brian.

It is a very funny film, it does put forward some very important questions about faith, religions, institutions in society. They Python comedians were not trying to be offensive, but just putting forward these questions in the form of comedy as they always did. It is a kind of comedy satire in film form.

I am aware of a few Christian comedians around the UK, and they have some different views on how they can or should do their work. Some will never swear in their act, some will not makes jokes about stereotypes, women, minorities-well, regular comedians should not do those kind of jokes but then….Ricky Gervais…

What can we laugh at as Christians without feeling guilty or bad about ourselves? What is alright to laugh at? Right now in 2015, we are sort of almost post-politically correct in pop culture-or are we? It can get so very confusing.

I laugh at slapstick comedy, a like comedy shows or films with scenes where the characters make uncomfortable social mistakes, or dig a big hole for themselves. Sometimes it is just wordplay, puns, that kind of thing.

The Bible can seem so serious, and we as Christians can often seem to others to have no sense of humour whatsoever. Is that okay? Are we okay with that? Should we be? Do we even know?

Can’t we enjoy a simple good joke like anyone else? Well, we will see things in life different possibly. There are many different kinds of people, cultures, walks of life. Everyone sees some things in life different to some other people-that is part of life.

So what is funny? What might Jesus laugh at? Do I have that answer? Is this really taboo?

One day you might laugh at something, another day a similar thing might not be so funny. Things change.

A person slips on a banana skin-funny? Someone breaks wind, no one around admits-funny?

Someone makes a very serious point about justice and politics…but they have tomatoe sauce up the side of their cheek saying it and don’t know-funny?

Life can make us laugh, I think God knows this. It can be a gift, it can help us through hard and very difficult times. So laughter and laughing is special, it is important in life. Jesus would laugh I think. I think God might laugh at Monty Python.

Life is funny.

Alright, I do often write up film reviews on my other site and blog, but I will try to keep things even more relaxed and casual here.

So last weekend I went along to see EXODUS  with my wife and a friend, and it had not been seriously planned. I was aware of the film when it came out around Boxing Day time at Christmas, and I am a serious film freak so usually keep track of things like any new Ridley Scott films on the way.

I think that at first, I decided not to really get too exicted about it because the last few Scott films did not really amaze me (apart from Prometheus, yes I did like it-probably one of about five people) and his epic historical movies just don’t really grab me or seem to do what they should. Plus this time, EXODUS featured Christian Bale…

Hold on there, I don’t hate Bale, but after three films of his over the top super-gruff uber-macho Batman voice, I really find it hard to give him much time. He had sort of acted himself into a corner recently. But I agreed to go along and see this film anyway.

I was expecting huge epic visuals, continually grand visions on screen-this is what I got. It was good, it was exciting and largely very entertaining all the way. There have of course been so many film adaptations of the Old Testament tales over the decades, and from the begining of this film, it does not immediately seem much different from some of those. The scale of the images of Egypt and the middle eastern lands around on screen are much more detailed and evocative than they ever have been in a religious movie I think.

I will admit that the tale of Moses leading up to his eventual final events and the commandments were a little vague with me, being a while since I have looked over the Old Testament. Honestly, the acting and dialogue may be a little basic and simple but then, this is a biblical film and it is going to stick to most of the actual known modern international bible text. What makes the film move along and pull the viewer in is the soundtrack, the cinematography, and direction. We all know most of the story, and at least toward the very end of the film we will probably know how to expect the film to end. No real surprises…well actually there were some…

Like one or two of his other historical movies, Ridley Scott here added in a level of authentic related culture in the clothes that the characters wear, how they speak with elements of arabic and other minor middle eastern traits. This makes the film more interesting, engaging and authentic to some degree, or to a modern audience.

Thankfully, I found that Christian Bale toned himself down after a while when as Moses he left his safe position in leading Egypt and walked away in shame and guilt. Soon after, when he takes a simple and humble life, finds a wife he then experiences the changes personally which take his life in a spiritual direction.

This is where there are some serious and possibly radical changes in the way the story is presented to us.

*Spoiler Alert!*

This I had heard about around the time of the release of the film in from reviews and some criticised it, or it could be seen as a compromise to modern cinema audiences and how to depict an epic biblical tale on screen in our times now. In this film, Moses has an accident and falls, hitting his head badly. He is knocked down and rests for a short time. From this point on, he begins to speak with God. He hit his head…

It can be seen in this film, one view, that it might be suggesting that Moses knocked his head or something similar and in some way was simply delusional. A madman, a crazy person, who imagined that he heard the voice of God. Was he a dangerous madman? Was he even perhaps schizophrenic, split personality? Is it even then, suggesting that same thing about many people who believe in God or have a faith which might be irrational? I do not think that Ridley Scott is specifically suggesting this, but he has put this in, and it possibly serves to allow many viewers to enjoy the film without having a faith or being reigious at all-this is just an epic Hollywood historical drama. That is if you go with that viewe of the story.

Beyond this, even bigger spoiler sorry-God is shown as a small boy. Yes, you did read that right, God is a small little boy this time. I think I can actually understand this, as a small child can be seen as innocent, loyal, sensitive. Also it is suggested by Jesus that we should be like children.

So the film continues on with Moses meet the boy in the wilderness every so often (sorry that does sound strange) while Ramesses opresses his slaves in the building and construction of pyramids and temples. Moses warned of the wrath of God, that the people should be freed, Ramesses defiantly disagrees and then we see the legendary plagues. This is where the film really gets truly epic and apocalyptic onscreen. The crocodiles rise up in the sea, blood fills the screen-this is a real sudden shock. The plagues pass very quickly, one after another, but each very intense and vividly depicted, graphic and tragic like really never seen in previous version of this tale in a movie.

Bale could very easily hade just ran off and gone full-til gonzo nutty with Moses, but somehow he keeps his acting restrain and this is probably due to Scott keeping all elements of the film tight and controlled well. The tale is edited and chopped up, which I can understand as a Hollywood film on the big screen does not need to have every little detail up there-we understand and know much of this story. Cinema is visual most of the time.

This all of course leads right up to the final cross and parting of the Red Sea. Like his relation to God, this part of the tale is shown different to how it has been seen many times before. It does actually feel a slight let down, but it does makes sense really. It all seems to come down to a quiet humble ending, and the last scenes and image of Moses is a contemplative and thoughtful one.

I was glad that I did eventually see this film, and on the big screen. It did make my faith shine brighter for a while, it did make me think about my relationship with God in a way that I may not have for a while. Go and see this film, it is a good challenging movie. A movie about identity, faith, conscience, hope.

Well, actually pulled myself out of bed early and decided to head along to this other local church again for what would be the third time. My wife and I headed along, and what do you know, yup-it’s closed this week. Think they’re all on holiday, or well maybe a spirtual camp/festival thing.

So that was that, but now I am here on a Sunday all ready to worship for a change (yeah I know, sounds bad right?) and back at home. So it leaves me with my thoughts. Perhaps that was the point…

So I put on some ‘worship’ music that I dig…Christian rap-rock band P.O.D. (Payable on death), their most recent album-Murdered Love. A little angry but very passionate. The lyrics speak to me well.

The day that they murdered…day that they murdered…day that they murdered LOVE…

I’ve been slowly reading this book about how we see Jesus today, often we see him as a passive, relaxed, white, chilled out guy…was he really?

Wasn’t Jesus the guy who questioned social order, hypocracy, injustice all around? Should we not think of him like that? Is that just difficult, inappropriate, not right with our culture? Well, sorry but we probably really need to see that Jesus more than ever.