Greetings friends. The second edition of “DHD” is here. As explained last week, I will be giving weekly commentary to current topics with the intention of providing a Christian worldview, which also adheres to the slogan of Word Slingers, “Blogging with Jesus in mind.” Here’s a new half-dozen dish outs.
1. Further Ferguson Fallout
I’m still burdened about the response to the Ferguson, Mo. issue, as well as news involving the Eric Garner case, which involved another deadly outcome of an African American man who died as a result of a police officer choking him when extra action appeared necessary to many as Garner resisted arrest.
Now there are two jury rulings of no indictments for the policemen involved in such cases. I have no legal background, nor do I have any experience in the police force. As a common onlooker, I understand how it can be difficult to separate the cases, especially because of the timing they occurred. Heated emotions are running over.
My suggestions remain the same. Please keep praying and have a willing spirit to listen (Prov. 12:15).
One of the best dialogues on this topic occurred last Thursday, Dec. 4, between NBA commentators Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley on TNT. Washington Post’s Des Bieler gives a good synopsis on the exchange. Smith and Barkley were reasonable and represented the perspectives of police and the black community very well. Please be aware there is some phrasing that would be considered inappropriate.
Bearing in mind how often I don’t like Barkley’s criticisms about the Oklahoma City Thunder, I’ll give him a nod on what I think is a reasonable attempt to find resolution. And with Kenny too. I know these guys’ expertise is basketball, and I realize Barkley is taking some heat for his vernacular (i.e. “scumbags”), but I prefer what they shared compared to what is said by some politicians and civil rights spokespeople.
2. Douglass-Locust Grove Dilemma Part Deux
Boy what a mess! Last week, I talked about how I liked Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel’s suggestion of Locust Grove offering to replay the last 63 seconds of the high school’s quarterfinal football game against Douglass High School. This was prompted by the result of a wrongly-enforced penalty by the game’s officiating crew, and I believe this is a reasonable correction for a unique situation.
Let me be clear. The premise was allowing Locust Grove the opportunity to demonstrate exceptional sportsmanship. I don’t think the whole game should be replayed, which was proposed at a special hearing by the OSSAA governing body. And I don’t agree with where this situation currently stands. No sporting event should be decided in the courts nor incite unnecessary involvement of politicians.
This has become a monster that has now trampled upon the whole 3A state playoffs. Now I believe the best character lesson to be implemented is for the Douglass and Locust Grove football teams to shake hands, say “Good game,” and move on.
3. Hunger Games makes “Mockeryjay” of Media
I saw the latest “Hunger Games” movie. It was fine, maybe a little too much drama than the previous two shows. I like my wife’s assessment. She said Katniss “didn’t shoot enough arrows.” However, the one she sent flying was in a really cool action scene.
What I found fascinating is the depiction of media involvement in this war with the Capitol. There’s dueling reports shown between the production crew filming Katniss being the “poster child” for the districts’ rebellion and the Capitol’s broadcast of interviewing Peeta, Katniss’ popular love interest, by the flashy host guy of the Hunger Games.
For years, people complain about the biasness of the media. I think this movie emphasizes how influential the media can be. I already mentioned in this edition of DHD two popular basketball commentators making an impression on my simple mind. There are multitudes of talking heads who cover sports, pop culture, politics and mainstream news, and whenever they make a point on a controversial subject, viewers swallow it up like Turkish delight and believe their view is golden.
Dear Christian, no matter who the charming personality may be, attempting to sway your support, always take the approach of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-12. Make sure you hold Scripture higher than messages promoting a high view of humanity.
4. Choose the War Vet movie over the ‘Bible’ movie
Christmas is a popular time for movies to be released in the movie theaters. Last week, “Exodus Gods and Kings” came out. This film has quite a bit of fanfare, considering it stars the latest Batman, Christian Bale, and is directed by action movie expert Ridley Scott. And of course, because we Christians LOVE any movie that refers to the Bible, we just have to go and support it.
Frankly, I’ve only read a few reviews about this movie. None gave a favorable rating. Also, I was greatly disappointed with the “Noah” movie (here’s my review) that came out earlier this year, so I’m skeptical about any other movie coming out, especially if it involves big time Hollywood personalities who seem to think that all the movie needs to be a hit with Christians is have some Biblical affiliation, regardless of accuracy.
So, instead of going to see “Exodus,” I would suggest going to see “Unbroken.” This is based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and World War II prisoner of war. A good friend of mine told me he read the book, same title as the movie, and considers it one of the best he’s ever read. My friend also is a retired Air Force officer and a faithful Christian man.
Zamperini was known for his Christian faith before he passed away in July this year. It was reported by Baptist Press that he made a profession of faith at a Billy Graham Crusade. This offers me great reflections, as my father became a Christian at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1963.
The movie is directed by Angelina Jolie, and there are reports that the popular actress does not reveal great details of Zamperini’s faith. His Christian conversion at the Billy Graham Crusade is said to be left out of the movie.
Reports also tell how much of an influence Zamperini made on Jolie. She has been said to be gushing about him and his life story. She said she stressed having the movie’s rating be PG-13 in order for it to be appropriate for her children to see.
So here’s my take. If you’re going to choose to see a movie this Christmas, take the one that at least implies Christian faith over the movie that blatantly denies its origin.
5. 46 revisited
Last month, I wrote about turning 46. It was a light-hearted piece about something I do every year, attempting to commemorate the number of my age with jersey numbers of famous athletes.
Since the number 46 is scarce in uniform selections, someone referred me to the 46th Psalm. I’ve been doing a personal study on Psalm 46 in the last few weeks and using different translations. Here’s some interesting discoveries.
“So we will not fear when earthquakes come…” Ps. 46:3a (NLT). I thought this is great encouragement for those of us living in Central Oklahoma, since we have been dealing with tremors over the past few years… and as recently as Sunday night (or maybe even more recent).
“Stop your fighting—and know that I am God…” Ps. 46:10a (HCSB). Usually this verse starts out with “Be still” in some other versions. The “Be still” translation would make me think the Psalmist offers instructions of remaining calm and trusting the powerful Almighty God. However, after reading the “Stop your fighting” translation, I now think the aspect is emphasizing we involve ourselves in unnecessary battles.
Or maybe, even though we face unavoidable battles, in the end, God will be exalted. “…I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Ps. 46:10b. So be still, stop fighting and take time to remember God is in control.
6. Favorite Christmas Carols
Last week, I shared some of my favorite Christmas movies. This week, I give you some of my favorite songs that are commonly sung this time of year. I love the ones that make a strong, direct emphasis of the Gospel. And it makes me wonder whenever I hear famous singers who are not known to profess Christian faith if they can understand the powerful message they are singing.
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I can’t get farther than “God and sinners reconciled.”
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” How can the pop band Bare Naked Ladies sing this song and also sing a song promoting evolution?
- O Little Town of Bethleham. “Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born to us today.”
- Joy to the World. “Let every heart prepare Him room… No more let sins and sorrows grow… He rules the world with truth and grace.” Jaci Greggs offers a great perspective of this popular song.
- Silent Night. “With the dawn of redeeming grace.”
I know there are more Christmas Carol lyrics emphasizing the Gospel message. I welcome your contributions.
May God open more hearts to understanding these songs as they are sung so frequently this time of year.