David Bruce

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with comments by David Bruce

I receive a lot of e-mail.  I am not able to post all the mail. I have included a good sampling, however.  If the subject is the same I might group the newer messages with similar older ones.  Also, my response may appear a few days after the original posting. I can't do HJ everyday.  You must include your "name" and e-mail address within your comment if you want it posted, otherwise it will not be posted (there is a privacy issue here and we respect that).  I do, however, encourage you to give your "name" and e-mail so others can respond to you personally.
E-mail and Comments:
This page was last updated on August 19, 2001

POSSIBILITY OF PAGAN ORIGIN?
Subject: Mithras
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001
From: DoMiin

I've did some research into the subject of early Christianity, and I learned that the early Christians believed Jesus was a Prophet, and over a period of time this belief developed into the belief that Jesus is God (this concept appeared in 381 AD with the adoption of Doctrine of the Trinity)...On one of your responses to an email on your site you said that it would be impossible for Paul to indoctrinate a foreign belief into Christianity, I disagree because we have to remember that Paul worked among the Gentiles (non Jews) hence changing the belief would be rather easy, and the notion of motive also exists, we know that Paul believed Jesus would come again within his life time, so his intentions became to convert as many followers as possible, so perhaps to make conversions of certain peoples easier, he adopted some of their spiritual beliefs (mithraism).

So my question basically is, is their a large possibility that certain portions of Christian Doctrine (examples: Resurection/Jesus being a "saviour"/Jesus being "God"/etc,etc) have Pagan origin?

IS POWDER A SYMBOLIC NARCOLEPTIC?
Subject: Is Powder a Symbolic Narcoleptic? Powder
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001
From: "Omegan"

Hi, I wondered if you know whether the writer of "Powder" was Narcoleptic. The reason I ask is that in the film there are many subtle references to it, which only someone who is aware of narcolepsy symtoms would notice (for example the watches spinning forward, which could be refering to 'missing time'). Even the latest research is investigating the opportunity that Narcolepsy might be caused by hypersensitivity to artificial magnetic fields.

I look forward to your reply, & you are welcome to see info about narcolepsy on my own page at: http://www.omegan.fsnet.co.uk/Narcolepsy/narcolepsy.htm

There are many other subtle keys in the film, which could be refering to narcolepsy. Am I correct? Was the writer Narcoleptic?
Best regards, John D. Lyle (Novatus) E-mail: alpha@omegan.fsnet.co.uk

Response: I will open this one to anyone out there. -David

NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Subject: Energy at 3am Dyan Cannon
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001
From: Bobby

Hi Dyan, About 18 years ago I woke up with all this energy covering me. Years later I read Cathy Crosby's book Let The Magic Begin. The same thing happened to her. Now I get something else when I do breathing exercises. I get this Wave of energy surrounding me. One time after I read a Angel book I sat down and lifted dumb bells and I felt this fire or flame and could see it a little. It was like The Burning Bush, the bush didn't burn. Could you explain this for me and why is this happening? I also have this pressure in my chest. I get something on the outside and I need it in the inside. I know healing scriptures too. Iam not getting the results i want. i heard you speak about Jesus, he's all in all. Now what to i do? Thank you Bobby

FLAWED BUT GOOD
Subject: Jurassic_Park_III
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001
From: Keith

It, would`ve been more realistic it the T-rex delivered a fatal blow to the sail, but we wouldn`t know it until it, dropped dead, just as it was about to eat someone, ala J1. I liked the fact, that Grant . transformed from; "Dr. Grant" to "Alan" during the film. sent with joy and love!
http://community.webtv.net/KeithWK/PSALM45
http://community.webtv.net/KeithWK/Thepottersclay

CHRISTIANS IN THE CULTURE
Subject: Newsletter 27
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001
From: McNair Wilson

David -- Old Daniel (of Bible fame) would be hard pressed to find a friend among todays Christian Media Monarchs who rant against Hollywood and modern culture. He would not be welcome at the "Get Prayer Back in Government (Public) Public Schools" at the local church. Unlike the convention wisdom of this day, Daniel attended the U.C.Berkely of his day, worked for several Presidents (Kings.) He learned their ways--their culture and its underlying philosphies. Then, once he was accepted for his effective contribution he stood up to the authorities and said this is what God says.

The difficulty with being a Christian working in todays culture (author, theatrical director, actor, corporate trainer) is not being in that culture, but finding support--any support--form the church, the family of God. We artists cannot all design bulletin covers, write praise songs ("words-on-the-wall-that-don't-know-how-to-end") and paint beautiful (inoffensive) cottages in the forest that glow in the dark. (Do the people that live in them also glow?)

The church needs the artist and the artist needs the church. But the world needs every believer to be IN the world, but not OF the world. "Transformed," Paul pleaded, "by the renewing of (your) mind." Just as the Creator God embued Bezalel and his team of craftsman to amke beauty in the Tabernacle, so, too, the Creator would have us create art--film, fine art, graphic design, music, dance, theatre, performance art, archetecture, poetry, fiction, puppetry, industrial design, fashion and so much more, for the whole world.

Goodness knows we ain't making good architecture in the church. But it's big.

Where are the Christ-following artists that will shake up the Museum of Modern Art, MTV, and Broadway?

And where are the pastors who will support them and the church-goers who will be their patrons?

C. McNair Wilson

Response: You are so very right on. Oh my gosh. If others understood the truth you are giving we would have one hell scattering revolution on our hands. God speed the day. -David

FANTASIA IS AWSOME
Subject: Fantasia_2000
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: Kevin

Fantasia_2000 is an outstanding spiritual experience! I have the DVD!
(-.-) SMILE ! JESUS ! LOVES ! US ! . (-.-) . [ ALSO I LOVE JESUS.] ? x ><> + <><)))))~~~~ http://community.webtv.net/KevinKunz/JESUSTHEWAY

THE BEAUTY IN OTHER PEOPLE
Subject: Hollywood Jesus Newsletter 27
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: Reg

The Thomas Kinkaid Dilemma Your critique upon the symbolic imagery and social reprocussions of popular Christian 'art' is right on, sistah. It is a time-eternal backlash of American religion that promotes and subscribes to escapist notions of the family in an isolated nirvana of pastoral beauty and white-picket fence quaintness. Not to mention, the lack of socio-political consciousness in a country that is imbibed with struggle, stress, and strain of quintessential daily living. This not only removes spirituality from the urban landscape, it is devoid of actual humanity. Your insights upon loving thy neighbor are a crucial component in discovering our beauty within by experiencing the beauty that is outside of ourselves; other people and our communities. Thanx for the vigilence and positude that is delivered in your snipits from HollywoodJesus.
Peace. Reg

Response: Thanks for the encouragement. -David

HYPOCRITICAL PARENTS
Subject: Jurassic Park III
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: "Tim and Carol Hampton"

Is there something wrong with movie theaters in themselves? My 19 year old bofriends parents refused to let him watch Jurassic Park III at the movie theater after repeatedly watching the other two on tape a home. Isn't that hypocritical??!! They say movie theaters are bad. Please reply, with Chistian info.

Response: Honor parents and house rules, no matter how hypocritical. Parents make so many stupid mistakes. But God bless them, it's a tough job. -David

THADE'S SHIP
Subject: Planet of the Apes
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: "David"

Thade must have use the ship that sank in the swamp. Also the orangutan had the bag from Pericle's ship. What do you think. maybe Pericles show Thade how to fly it.

THANKS
Subject: your website
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: "Darryl"

Thank you for your website. As a dolly grip and a Christian in the film industry, I struggle constantly with the choices I have to make and the projects I work on. It is good to know that there are others in this business who are in the same situation. I hope to join you guys next time I am in LA (I live in Atlanta).
Darryl

Response: Thanks for the kind words. -David

REVIEW IS OFF THE MARK
Subject: Planet of the Apes
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: D. Humber

I totally disagreed with your website's review of "Planet of the Apes". I went in to the theater really pulling for this film to work (partly because I worked on it). My disappointment knows no bounds. Bad dialogue- ("I'm recieving transmissions from Earth. And they're from all time!!"; "You go this way, you go that way"), overacting worthy of it's own Oscar category- (Tim Roth didn't steal the show, he leered, screamed, and wrenched it out of the hands of the other cast members. It appeared he did it to compensate for the makeup), and the hurried tacked-on ending- (Wahlberg enters the atmosphere at rocket speed, burns his way across the sky, slams into a monument in D.C., and immediately climbs out and walks up the steps without so much as a blink) all added up to a bad moviegoing experience. Yes, the makeup is incredible. Even in real life you couldn't tell that the actors weren't talking monkeys, but I'm sorry, it can't overcome what is simply a badly executed movie. A key grip friend of mine said it perfectly, "it looks like it was directed from storyboards."
D. Humber

TOLKIEN AND MYTH
Subject: Lord of the Rings
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
From: "D. Stephen Douglas"

First of all, Lewis has never been seriously proposed as an influence on Tolkien. In fact, by all accounts, it is just the opposite case: as briefly sketched in Surprised by Joy and filled out in other first-hand accounts, Tolkien's contribution of his idea of Myth to Lewis marked the breakdown of one of Lewis' final barriers against Christianity. Instead of inadequate "to account for the world as we know it," as Wright proposes, Tolkien viewed the Christian story of the gospels as the basis for all myth. Some have described thier experience in reading LotR before becoming Christians to a foreshadowing of the Old Testament, as the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the New. The reason there are similarities in other mythologies to Christianity is that Jesus' life and work on earth as recorded in the gospels is the only "True Myth" that everything else yearns after and emulates. For Lewis, it was this yearning (he called "Joy") that led him to faith amid the super-rational world that dismisses all spirituality and hence fails to accomodate the human need for mythopoiea. One of Tolkien's letters after Lewis' conversion accounts that they had agreed to try to write literature that exhibited this influence of "Faerie," which they felt naturally attracted the hungry to Christianity.

Therefore, although there are perhaps points of value and logic in Wright's essay working from the thesis, the thesis itself, that of T-mythology as superceding Christianity and reflecting Tolkien's own personally-formulated ethic, is grossly preposterous, and causes all deductions from it to be suspect. One has only to read, for instance this article http://www.cornerstonemag.com/imaginarium/inklinks/ink004.html for quotes by Tolkien himself decimating this misunderstanding. Please--don't take my word for it: read about Tolkien's and Lewis' ideas of myth from them directly (they're all over the internet), instead of jumping to conclusions.
Thank you. D.S.D.

GREAT SITE -QUICK COMMENT
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: Lee

Hi David, this is truly a great site. I must thank you for I have been involved in a summer small group that watches movies and hold discussions about the christian issues found within the movie. I have found your site to be quite helpful for our small group and the web site itself is pretty sweet technically speaking [heh, so I'm a computer science student].

Just a quick suggestion, perhaps the exploration of the movie 'se7en' starring Brad Pitt would be benefitual. I found the themes in that movie to be quite intriguing and I would love to hear your perception of the movie. Just the fact that a killer can twist the Word to his own perception makes for excellent discussion. Thanks again for taking the time to reading this and keep up the good work. In Christ, Lee

Response: Yes I would like to do that film, and thanks for all the kind words. -David

NOTHING TO DO WITH EVIL
Subject: Pokemon
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: Pokemon Fan

( okay this is for people who think pokemon is evil oh and feel free to put my e-mail on your site "SuupaSaiyanChick@aol.com")
Hello,
For you people who think pokemon is bad have no clue what pokemon is about! It's about Friendship, trust, winning, and losing! In the episode "A Friend In Deed" ash had lost a battle in the pokemon league and so did his friend "Richie" and when they lost they really weren't all that sad cause hey learned from losing and that teaches kids that you can always learn from losing and another thing is I herd that people are getting really mad about the whole "Evolving" thing what the big deal? We evolved! it's not like we came out like we are today! We didn't look so perfect back then, now did we? So we evolved into what we are today! Oh and the battling is what is getting peoples attention now ah days. Okay the thing with battling on pokemon is it's just a little sport, like wrestling and baseball! Pokemon also teaches you to believe in your self and care for others! In the pokemon 200 movie! TeamRocket ( bad guys ) cared about the ash and the earth! even though hey were enemies hey cared! I hope from what you read here changed your image about pokemon, even if you herd stories like "hey kill each other" ( yes pokemon can die, but no these no blood or dieting in pokemon) and in the pokemon movie "Mewtwo strikes back" Pikachu the little yellow mouse says "NO" to fighting and when that clone pikachu kept on hitting and pushing pikachu didnt do a thing! When that clone pikachu started to cry and and fell over Pikachu caught it! and cared about it! It teaches you to not fight! I hope you will all watch pokemon and see what I mean!
From, Pokemon Fan
(((((I WANT THIS TO BE POSTED)))))

WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE BOOK?
Subject: Quote The Pledge
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: Denyse McGrath

I rented the movie The Pledge and when J Nicholson is interviewing the dead girl's grandmother she talks of a book by ? Anderson? in wich she reads a quote about angels and children and the way thaey are taken to Heaven. Does anyone know what the name of this book is or where I can find that qote with all the context surronding it?
Thank You Denyse McGrath

LET ME PLANT A SEED
Subject: Superman
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: A believer.

I don't believe putting Jesus and Superman in the same category is a good comparison. You see Jesus is real and really made--makes--a difference in peoples lives, superman was fake and well that's all I have to say about that. Hollywood is not real... but we'll see in the end, or should I say the beginning.
Sincerely, A believer.

Response: And your point is? You bring nothing new to the table. We all agree that Jesus is a historical person and that Superman is comic book fiction. Is it that you are uncomfortable in your inner most being due to some insecurity? If so, I understand. God bless you. -David

GOOD BOOK
Subject: Mithras
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: David Braunsberg

Dear Dave, One really good book on Mithraism is the 1989 book by David Ulansey titled "The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries". A summary of his views can be found at www.well.com/user/davidu/mithras.html It would be probably be good to read his book and the page I have just put here.
Sincerely, David Braunsberg

BOOK BETTER THAN THE MOVIE
Subject: Hannibal
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: "bsprolr"

first off i would like to address those who took offense to the relation between Christ and Hannibal... i'm quite certain (from what i read) that david was simply pointing out similarities, its purely for entertainment, i found them quite fascinating, especially the judas section. Though i was dissapointed with certain parts of the movie, the book was certainly better, even the ending which was really the movies ruination... the ending for the book was much more interesting and typical (i wont give it away for those who havent read it)

MORE ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS
Subject: Lord of the Rings
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
From: "Chip Webb"

Greg,
I just saw now that you've finished your work on all six books, and I read the last three of the six discussions. Congratulations! Thanks also for all of the old Brothers Hildebrandt works; they were at one time my favorite Tolkien illustrators, and it's been a very long time since I've seen their paintings. You didn't include some of my favorite biblical/Christian allusions in the novel. I realize that you couldn't cover everything, but allow me to bring up a few of them.

  • In Book Six, when Frodo and Sam complete the quest and are brought before the king, Tolkien talks about their reaction to seeing Aragorn, and how the lowly ranger now appears so high and majestic. The connection to Christ there (humble to exalted) is pretty obvious, and some of the detailed descriptions about Aragorn contain imagery very similar to that in Revelation (particularly Revelation 1).
  • What comes next is more amazing: Aragorn sits one hobbit on his left and the other on his right, bows before them, and asks the company to praise them. The allusion is partially to James' and John's request about sitting next to Christ, partially to Christ's love for the believer, and partially to Catholic doctrine about how Christ is glorified through the honoring of the saints who follow Him.
  • Also, Tolkien confirmed to one person (as in my previous post, I unfortunately do not remember the reference; I still am relying mostly on memory and have not had the time to seek the references) that using the phial of Galadrial for light in the darkness parallels Catholic beliefs on Mary and the rosary, and lembas parallels both manna and the Eucharist.
  • You didn't mention Gandalf's words to Denethor against suicide and despair. They reflect a very Christian POV: Gandalf argues that no person has the right to decide when he or she should die, implies that only something/someone else beyond humans beings has that right (fitting in very well with earlier allusions to providence), and derides Denethor's madness as "heathen." An interesting discussion showing the evil of pride (traditionally, the greatest vice from a Christian perspective) also appears here.
  • Faramir's attitude toward Aragorn upon awakening from near-death also, like the hobbits' first view of the king, give a picture of the Christian's reaction to seeing the exalted Christ. Significantly, Faramir's first words here are ones that reflect a heart willing to obey his king
  • Frodo's discussion of why he has to leave the Shire and go to the Grey Havens is an incredible passage about dying to self and shows Frodo in his "suffering servant" role.

I also think that your discussion would have been aided by talking more about Tolkien's concept of a eucatastrophe and also more about how Christian character might be reflected in the books. However, you've done a great job and your pages are quite valuable.

As I mentioned in my last note (dated March 11, if you want to go back and take a look at it), I do strongly disagree with the conclusions in your essay. You see Tolkien as presenting a Fourth Age as one without God (and without much hope, for that matter) -- It is a time when the races (particularly men) are left to their own devices. In the pages that I just read, this is most apparent in your contrasting Gandalf's words with Jesus' words. Your selection of Gandalf's words clearly tie in with that point of your essay, and the contrast with Jesus' promise only makes your argument clearer. Allow me, however, to mention several reasons why I do not agree with your argument:

  • Instead of reflecting the lack of supernatural intervention in the Fourth Age, Gandalf's words more go hand in hand with something that he mentioned earlier (and that you pointed out) -- We each have a time in which we can do the work that was intended for us (implying that the time is given to us by God). Gandalf's time for his work is over; he is not meant to assist in the way that he did in the Third Age and earlier, as Sauron has been defeated. If Gandalf were meant to represent Christ the way that Aslan does in Narnia, I would probably agree with you about Tolkien's anti-supernaturalism regarding the Fourth Age (and, implicitly, our own times). But no one is directly a Christ figure in Tolkien's books, as you yourself mentioned.
  • Gandalf gives those words you quoted just before the hobbits return to the Shire. Given what follows (the scouring of the Shire), Tolkien's emphasis is on the maturity of the hobbits at this point rather than anti-supernaturalism. They have grown up and do not need Gandalf to handle everything for them; in the ensuing conflict, Saruman even recognizes Frodo's maturity (spiritual and otherwise). Rather than anti-supernaturalism being at work here, the more apt comparison is to a Christian growing beyond the need for a discipler (we're not talking about the Holy Spirit here, since Gandalf neither directly represents Christ nor the Holy Spirit) to help him or her fight battles. Catholicism possibly emphasizes more than other denominations how God wants Christians to grow up and will let them take more and more on their own (though always with the help of the Holy Spirit). For a non-Catholic thought along this line, remember that in The Screwtape Letters Lewis talks about how God intentionally seems to remove his hand from Christians (though He is actually always present) so that they will grow up and, to some extent, learn to stand on their own (though Lewis was not denying the presence of the Holy Spirit).
  • Everything we have seen in the novel earlier with its allusions to providence (God) in no way implies that the supernatural will stop working in the Fourth Age. The allusions at the Council of Elrond, Denethor's pyre, etc., imply that providence is always working personally in the world -- and mysteriously!

While your idea that Tolkien was using Middle-Earth to hash out his doubts on religious (and possibly other) issues is certainly possible, and it would not shock me, I still don't see the evidence for it. Instead, I see a vibrant faith that is full of hope. True, a good amount of melancholia is apparent: Tolkien bemoans certain trends in the world (e.g., industrialization, as clearly shown in the scouring of the Shire) and recognizes that in this life the faithful (e.g., Frodo) may suffer horribly and not receive healing until the next life. His faith (and the faith of many Christians and Christian denominations) is not triumphalistic concerning this life. (As a side note, interviews suggest that Peter Jackson and his writers are latching onto this sadness and theme of self-sacrifice for the movies, though not from a Christian perspective.) But providence is at work and will continue to work; despair is clearly condemned; hope that perseveres always is rewarded in the ultimate end; and Tolkien gives us an incredible eucatastrophe. He has incredible hope for the future in the long run (i.e., at the very least, the next life), even though this present life may not be a good one -- and God is the author of that hope. (Even Frodo finds peace when his dream is fulfilled at the first sight of the land across the sea!) This is most assuredly not "a Modernist Christianity ... [that] posits ... a post-Christian world," as you argue in the essay. (Obviously, I disagree with Robert Foster, who you cite for support a paragraph earlier.) I would argue instead that it is classically Christian, although not allegorical.

Consequently, I believe that The Lord of the Rings, understood properly, is a very beneficial book for Christians. Of course, it avoids allegory successfully enough that readers can go through without noticing anything Christian in it. It also has universal themes that appeal to just about everyone. But neither one of those facts lessens the value of the novel for Christians or others. (We all read things from the perspective of our worldview -- modernists normally read things from a modernist viewpoint, and postmodernists normally do the same from a postmodernist viewpoint. That's not a strike against Tolkien, and I strongly disagree with you that "The real danger of Tolkien’s fantasy lies ... in the conviction that all spirituality is metaphysically barren!") Sometimes the best truths seep into us indirectly and unconsciously...
Peace of Christ!
Chip Webb

P.S. In your response to my last message, you said that "'universalism' never comes up in my analysis, much less a fear of it." In your essay, however, you say near the end that "for Tolkien, our spiritual past does not primarily lie in Christian models but in a more Universalist embrace." Maybe I misread it before I originally posted the last message, but I've reread your essay several times since then and can't avoid getting the impression that you believe that Tolkien, intentionally or not, comes close to universalism in his religious beliefs. If that's not your point, I suggest writing another essay or revising the first one to clarify things.
P.P.S. For a good recent (if too short) discussion of these issues, go to http://www.courierpress.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?200108/04
+tolkien080401_features.html+20010804.

CHANGING THE WAY WE LOOK AT OUR CULTURE
Subject: response to newsletter 27
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
From: Pastor Dale

The Book you sight by Stephanie Coontz "The way We Never Were, ..." has some compelling stats. I do not know where to purchase, read, etc. her book. If her stats are right it changes the way we look at our current culture.

I appreciate comments from an earlier Newsletter in reference to the boomers stepping aside and allowing Gen X to step up. It is passing on the mission and the faith in Jesus Christ.

My heart break is that in both of the above concerns I some times feel time warped and out of step as a pastor in a small fellowship "traditional" church in rural Ohio. Our biological children are aware but the youth of the church, may be even the adults may be a step (s) behind. It would seem a step forward to become a "family worship center." This is not a statement against the brothers and sisters here, but it is a concern.

The confidence I have is that the Holy Spirit is moving and is the great evangelist, convicting, empowering, encouraging, pointing people to Jesus Christ. A Charles Wesley song "A Charge to Keep I have" v.2 "To serve the present age my calling to fulfill, O may it all my powers engage to do my Master's will!" seems right in step with what your newsletter seems to be saying about engaging the culture as a missionary.

These reflections come on a Sunday evening after feeling very drained from Sunday morning services.

Keep up the good work of Jesus Christ. I pray that you are part of a viable and lively community of brothers and sisters redeemed by the live blood of Jesus Christ.
Thanx for the newsletter.
Pastor Dale

Response: Thank you. Here is a link to the book: The Way We Never Were, American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.

SAVIOR FIGURE IN PITCH BLACK
Subject: Riddick In Pitch Black Is A Redeemed Hero and Savior Figure.
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
From: "Samuel Ewing"

Hello, I purchased Pitch Black on video. I'd already read the commentary from other viewers on this film. After seeing the film myself, paying close attention to the theme of redemption/salvation; I realized that the character of Riddick is more significant than has been mentioned. Riddick is a redeemed hero and savior figure. Literally without him the other survivors would not have survived. Here are some of my insights on Riddick:

1. Riddick has the physical and mental attributes of the hero or superman. He is superior over his peers in physical strength, stamina, endurance, resourcefulness, courage, self-control, grace under pressure, leadership, stealth, a high pain threshold, and he has a definite code of honor. He is described as simply a murderer, but if you listen to a conversation between him and the mercenary, one gets the suspicion that whatever he did for his own survival may not have been as cut and dry as 'murder.' He may have gotten the proverbial raw deal. In any case he is categorized as a criminal. As the Hero he has that designation in common with Hercules and other savior figures who are technically criminals to the greater majority. This type of Hero works on the principle that by saving lives he redeems himself and he redeems humanity at the same time.

2. Riddick's eyes and his knowledge of human nature enable him to literally see/discern the true nature of evil ( in the form of the horrible monsters and the mercenary), darkness, and his eyes literally are a light in the darkness ( an attribute of divine heroes).

3. As a prisoner Riddick is bound in a crucifix-like position which is messianic symbolism here. He has a very disturbing way of being calmly, matter of fact in speaking the truth while giving the facts of a situation. Truth-tellers aren't appreciated as a whole, it takes a great degree of courage to tell the truth that the majority would rather not here.

4. Riddick has the courage and conviction to face down evil and destroy it. Examples being his confrontation with the so-called police officer who was actually a bounty hunter/mercenary interested only in money and his own survival. This mercenary was willing to kill an innocent girl and anyone else to get what he wanted. He certainly filled the role of a Lucifer-type figure in attempting to entice Riddick into doing evil. Riddick would have none of it. Riddick destroyed this man. In addition Riddick saved the lives of the remaining survivors by confronting the creatures on two occasions, looking them in the eye, destroying them with his great physical strength and a large blade. This is classic divine hero killing the dragon/the Devil with the Word (sword or other weapon). Christianity isn't the only religion with this theme. This is universal in many religions, legends, epics, and stories. Bram Stoker's Dracula, the movie has this theme too. Sealing the survivors in a cave with a boulder required him to exert great strength. Those of the Christian faith may see some resemblance to Jesus or Lazarus entombed. When the captain and Riddick came back to get them out of the cave one can detect the resurrection theme here. They were called to like Lazarus and the boulder was removed by Riddick.

5. Three suns on that planet kept the creatures of darkness (evil, bottomless pit) from rising up to kill, however the eclipse freed them. Very apocalyptic. The creatures came from the bottomess pit's interior to the planet (Satan and its demons). The three suns are the Trinity of God (the Light) which destroys these monsters and keeps them in the pit. ***Here we see later in the movie that Riddick is the one who carries the Trinity of God/Light in the form of three solar battery cells, that give illumination to the light-giving tubing the survivors wear to see and protect themselves against the "demons." Riddick is the bringer and giver of light, and therefore life.

6. The entire experience on the planet transforms Riddick into the Redeemed Hero so that Riddick the convict "died " and a new man is born. The Christian theme is strongly suggested here not to mention the death and resurrection of the messianic hero. He becomes a person who has COMPASSION which now is the basis of his other admirable qualities. This man has matured into "a real person."

7. Riddick empowers the spacecraft to rescue the survivors and take them from that hellish planet. Riddick like the Good Shepherd has found the lost sheep, he has "raptured" them out of hell and taken them into the heavens above to salvation. Rapture, ascension, apocalypse, redemption, compassion, the hero destroys Satan and its brood, the Hero uses the Word to destroy evil (the knife and the fire = the Wrath of God). The final scene shows Riddick casting the evil creatures into the lake of fire using the flames coming from the spacecraft's exhaust.

Riddick is very much the savior figure and hero of this movie.
Sincerely, Samuel Ewing
http://pages.prodigy.net/saraswati (website)
SARASWATI@prodigy.net (e-mail)

SAY IT ISN'T TRUE
Subject: Moulin Rouge
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
From: Ron

David,
I agree with you on the importance of Christians discerning the unbiblical identification of innocent sensuality as "the flesh" as was taught by ancient Christian theologians who tried to mix Greek Platonic thought with Scripture that had been given to Jewish writers). However, when I read the following sentence in your review of Moulin Rouge, it looks as if you have gone off the deep end.

"It is a romance between Satan and Christ."

I hope it is only a typo. Most of the typos in your web site (are there are lots of them) can easily be overlooked?the intended meaning is easy to figure out. I appreciate the enthusiasm and energy with which you write, and I understand that such energy can sometimes run roughshod over the finer details of communication, such as proofreading.

Did you mean to say that the story of Moulin Rouge is a romance between SATINE and Christ?or a romance between SATAN and Christ?
Ron

Response: Of course there is no actual romance between Satan and Christ. I mean good grief. This is a story of senuality -often considered satanic- and spiriuality (Christ) and the relationship between them. This is the sense I plainly give in the review. -David

BOOK VS MOVIE
Subject: Left Behind
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001
From: Melissa

I love the idea that the Christian community is finally being able to put together a movie that is worthy of attention. I decided to read the book Left Behind before viewing the movie, already knowing that when you have a series of books that have such an insight to detail and emotions, that the movie usually is unable to reflect this the same way to the viewer. I liked the movie but there was just no way you can take all the information that the book contains and compact it into a standard time frame.

I do feel that the actors and actresses were a little held back from taking the story to it's full capacity. Meaning, the movie was directed to fit everything in, it seems like they were rushed through the plot.

I have one request for the future movie series, which I look forward to, is to stretch out the events. I expect to see Nicolae to be given the attention that "Indiana Jones" needed.

I find the movies to be a great starting point to teach unbelievers and "believers" exactly what Jesus is all about.

May God guide and bless them as we use these resources to help save souls.
Melissa

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