The Innocents

innocents

Christians could learn a lot from examining a shot that occurs 3/4 into The Innocents. A Mother Superior has taken a baby from one of her nuns to bring it to a family for adoption. Only, she is actually going to leave it in the middle of a snowy field for the baby to die. She places the baby and the basket on the cold ground, but before she leaves, the Mother Superior takes the care of rubbing oil on the creature’s head, baptizing it.

Look on Hosea 6:6, and ponder.

B

Last Days in Vietnam

Last Days in Vietnam

One of the passages of Scripture that I keep coming back to again and again is Genesis 18:25. “Will not the judge of all earth do what is right?” It is the trump card Abraham plays when trying to get Him to spare Sodom and Gomorrah; God agrees, of course.

I bring this up because one of the talking heads in Last Days in Vietnam says they had no way of knowing whether the refugees that were being airlifted out of Saigon were deserving of rescue. They were just doing the best they could.

When I think that justice on a massive scale is impossible, it’s because there is no way of gauging every individual human experience. For instance, the Vietnamese ransacked the embassy once they realized the Americans had betrayed them and left them behind. They could not know how the Americans were risking career, and in some cases even life, to get as many locals out as they could.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong side to this scenario, but then where is justice? Both sides have equally valid and weighty arguments, so what gives?

Multiply that on a global scale and you see what I mean when I talk of the nonexistence of justice. It is not pure bleak and despair, however. Since believers in the resurrection know that the judge of all the earth will eventually do what is right, we can rest and do the best we can, for ourselves and others.

B+

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore.

I-Dont-Feel-at-Home-in-This-World-Anymore

I am reading over the book of Ecclesiastes and naturally some of the thoughts that arise due to its content is my place on this world. Everything is meaningless, the Teacher writes over and over again.

That belief plays out in this movie. It is truly a despairing sight, because if everybody is an asshole, and trying to make things better might get you killed, what is the point of it all?

The Teacher reasons that the only way for us to continue wanting to live in this world is to lift up our eyes; to place our hope not on the ruin of the planet, but on the One who will one day come to save it.
Notice the song that plays during the last moments of this movie, and the image of Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) sitting at church, and you’ll find yourself surprised how I Don’t Feel At Home in this World Anymore seems to agree with the Teacher.

B

Silence

silence-poster

Faith is nonsensical. In a world guided by reason it makes sense for faith to be dismissed as illogical and pointless. What this dismissal fails to take into consideration however, is that faith is placed on One who is much higher than any of us. God is not governed by our reason or our logic; trying to comprehend His thinking in human terms is futile, since we cannot even begin to grasp the vastness of His knowledge. Were we aware of this, were somehow humans made privy to God’s mind, He would not truly be infinite. And if God is not infinite, then He is no God.
This turns every discussion arguing in favor or against the existence of God pointless, as it consists of humans, who are nothing but dust in the wind in a tiny drop on the gargantuan canvas of the universe, trying to use human logic to prove something that is irrational. Which faith, as mentioned at the start of this piece, is. Yet having faith does not mean one will relinquish the human capacity for discernment and reason and become a creature of the absurd. Believers may walk in faith, they may even live by faith, but that does not mean common sense is now as foreign to them as faith is to non believers. Human intellect and curiosity are after all part of the natural order that God set on this world.

A crisis of faith then, can best be described as a clash between the logical and the illogical, between human’s innate desire for answers and the choice we made to believe in someone who owes us none and has them all.
Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which is the most important film I will ever see, tackles said dilemma in a manner that transcends cinema and turns it into something akin to the miraculous. It has crossed my mind on several occasions now that it would be unfair of me to compare it to other movies, or even to say whether it’s good or bad, since Silence works best not as a motion picture but as a document that believers should be required to have, next to their copies of the Bible.
Such necessity stems from the fact that in the four years since I professed faith in God I have been plagued by doubts that Silence explores, and if my conversion is genuine I don’t see why other believers will not have had, or will have, experienced the same.

The declaration I made once upon a time that I would be in constant communication with God  has been proven false. The ground for such statement was that, since I knew how much I loved God and He knew as much, any obstacle that could come between us would ultimately be obsolete.
But has it been proven false by the inexorable disenchantment of life or by myself? I know I’ve sinned, so is He punishing me by keeping silent? I also know I have repented and am forgiven, and that His love and mercy far outweigh my many failings, so is His silence evidence that my faith is not strong enough? Or perhaps, at this juncture in my life His silence is a test to gauge whether or not I have matured from the man I was four years ago? This unparalleled frustration may lead to doubt, which may lead to sin, which in turn may culminate in numbness at His silence. What are believers to do at such despair?

The only concrete answer Silence provides comes during an exchange between a soon to be martyr and his confessor. “My faith is not strong, but I have so much love for God”, the martyr says. “Is that good enough?”.
As I write this, still shaken to my core pondering on Silence from its first to last frame, I wonder if that brief exchange carried a monumental truth that I needed to hear. When faith flounders, love should thrive. Punishingly torturous as sitting through it was, Silence was also rewarding in that it allowed me to examine the current state of my faith under a different light. I may still cringe at the thought of receiving no answer from Him, but I find encouragement amidst the vacuum. I love Him, and He loves me. And if love is not enough, then no amount of noise in the world can be either.

A+

Sausage Party

sausage_party_ver14

The evidence that there is no paradise and the gods are just hungry human beings is found in the “dark aisle”. This aisle contains knives, pots and cookbooks. Applied to Seth Rogen’s world, this dark aisle is everything that ails mankind and produces untold suffering. This runs contrary to the idea of the existence of a loving God, and if there is no God the morals that we hold on to are useless, hence everybody should have sex with each other.

And while the movie portrays a hilarious orgy scene, followed by the food traveling into another dimension, real life allows no such journeys. After the enjoyment of sexual pleasure, what is left?

B

Che

cheThe first brush I ever had with the Che Guevara myth arrived at a very early age. In my country, it is not rare to see buses with Guevara’s visage emblazoned over the large windows and doors, or see throngs of people wearing him at political rallies and demonstrations.
And because those political rallies were held by the Communist party, my ignorant mind made the association that if the Reds were bad, and the Reds liked Che Guevara, it meant Che Guevara was bad.
It is surprising that it took me this long to actually know about the man.

This past summer, I read Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto. What I learned in that work was such at odds with what the Communist party at home, now the ruling party, proclaimed about Communism that I began to wonder what else had I been misled about.

Enter Steven Soderbergh’s Che.
The film neither romanticizes nor demonizes the titular Che, which is perhaps one of the reasons it is so engrossing. Soderbergh is not making a political statement as he is documenting the rise and fall of the extraordinary life of a figure many consider one of the greatest revolutionaries to ever exist.
Do I agree?
Throughout the proceedings, Che mentions many times the lousy conditions in which peasants live and the ignorance in which its own government has mired them in. He aims to topple the rulers and replace them with people who actually care about people. His goal then, was a noble one and I doubt there are folks out there who would say that caring for our neighbor is a bad thing to do.
Does that mean I’ll be wearing his face at the next political rally?
There is a short scene, set right after the rebels have taken control of Cuba, which summarizes the hypocrisy of political ideologies perfectly.
Che is riding in a jeep with his soldiers on his way to the capital, when a sleek red sports car speeds right next to them, carrying more soldiers. The red car belonged to a now deceased member of the opposition, the driver says, so it is okay if they take it.
Che makes them turn around and get a ride in a jeep like everybody else.

People use the image of Che Guevara as a rallying cry in the name of the poor and destitute, but I look at the Communists now in power and I see the very thing Guevara would have fought against. They do not really know the story of the man, but have grasped on to the legend and mold it to serve their purposes.
That is why, I believe, there is no perfect political ideology, for in the end most of us will become what we once despised

“I believe in man”, Che says before he is executed.
And that is the problem. Trusting in man got Guevara killed and is what continues to perpetuate parties like the one in control of my country in power. People keep believing in other people and everybody’s forgotten that cursed is the man who trusts in man.

B+