I have to admit, I didn’t think I would see it in my lifetime. I had hoped, and hopefully done my part. I sued an abortionist who perforated my client’s uterus while in the act of killing her unborn baby. I represented a pro-life protestor wrongfully arrested for protesting outside an abortion mill. I have functioned as legal monitor for pro-life protestors who were working the sidewalks outside abortion clinics, and I have voted pro-life for forty years.
From the first time I read Roe v. Wade in law school in 1986, I thought it was a tortured, result-oriented opinion. If a first year law student could see that, why did it take 50 years for six Supreme Court justices to see it?
The truth is that many more have seen it than have admitted it, but as C.S. Lewis described it, we have been creating men without chests, i.e. men without the virtue to guide their intellect or emotions. That is not to say those on the Supreme Court now are any more virtuous than those in the past. More likely, Evangelicals have simply been successful in making the fight against abortion a key component of the Republican platform, and the party has finally thrown Evangelicals a bone, and it is a very big bone.
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
A&E, who aired Duck Dynasty, suspended Robertson, and GLAAD and other groups accused Robertson of being a homophobe. What was less publicized at the time and was not picked up by the media was that Gordon Gekko apparently also complained.
“Mr. Gekko finds Mr. Robertson’s remarks offensive and typical of narrow-minded Christians,” a spokesperson for Gecko said.
“As Mr. Gekko has stated before, ‘Greed is good. Good is right. Greed works. Greed will save that malfunctioning corporation called the USA.'”
“Mr. Gekko would also like to remind us all that for too long the greedy have been a minority in this country and that they are entitled to be free from the sort of hate-speech Robertson and his kind promotes.”
Robertson was asked for a response to Gecko’s remarks but said, “I was only quoting Scripture.” GS
After Jesus was resurrected and had gathered His disciples together, the disciples asked, “Lord is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Jesus said in response, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8.
Jesus’ disciples were young. They were excited about Jesus’ resurrection, which for them confirmed he was indeed the King of kings. They were ready for Jesus to take over. They wanted to talk politics, but Jesus wanted to talk power.
The conversation is instructive. I am old enough to have lived through two evangelical experiments with American politics. The first was one of disengagement. This was the default in the late 1960s and through the 1970s.
That all changed with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, and other evangelical leaders encouraged evangelicals to get involved in politics. The catalyst policy was a pro life agenda, but it grew from that and evangelicals eventually found a home with the conservative Right. That started the second experiment that has continued until this day.
Brainwashing is a terrible thing. It’s what happens when a person is exposed to only one point of view and any opposition to it is always portrayed in a negative light. In totalitarian regimes brainwashing is done through control of the media and promulgation of propaganda.
Have you ever wondered how Germans could have followed Hitler in support of his hellish policies? It’s easy actually. Germans thought Hitler was right because their state controlled monolithic, propaganda-producing media, told them he was right, and they were never told he was wrong.
The same thing is happening in Russia right now. More than 50% of Russians support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. They do so because Putin and the state controlled media are telling them Ukrainian leaders are Nazis, are persecuting Russians in Ukraine, and are controlled by US and Nato forces intent on destroying Russia. None of that is true, of course, but Russians believe it, and they believe it because they are told that and told nothing to the contrary.
Evangelicals look at the examples of the Nazis and modern day Russia and thank God they live in a country where the government cannot brainwash them, but then they voluntarily choose to brainwash themselves. They do this by getting their news from only one source (typically Fox News) or from the same ideological stream of sources (Breitbart, Newsmax, Fox News). As a result, all that evangelicals hear merely reinforces what they have already heard.
This blog is about the good news of the kingdom of God. So, here we evaluate things in the context of what God intended them to be–in other words, what they should be as the Kingdom advances and transforms the world into the place God intended it to be.
And that brings us to the subject of movies. We are only a few weeks away from the American Academy Awards, so it seems an appropriate time to address what makes for a good movie in the kingdom of God. Mind you, this does mean we are asking what Christians like, but what they should like in a movie.
If you are are like me, before you watch a movie, you check on Rotten Tomatoes to see how highly the movie is rated. I look at both the audience rating and the critics rating, and rarely are they the same. That is because the audience evaluates movies for their entertainment value, while critics evaluate them on their technical merit. In terms of the kingdom of God, both are right and both are wrong, or better, both are incomplete.
As I have suggested above, movies start with a teleological question: What is the purpose of movies in the kingdom of God? I think there are three primary criteria.