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.
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This page was last updated on July 5, 2001

GOD THE FATHER BEING CHALLENGED
Subject: God in Films
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001
From: Lindsay

My name is Lindsay, I am a High School student in NYC and I am doing a report for my religion class on God the Father's representations in movies. The basic idea is that the image of God the Father was shaped through paintings. The traditional image of God is of an older man who has a beard often gray or white. Through there is some varity in the images, most people I have ask seem to have a consencious about this. My idea is that Films are the new medium for exploration of the image of God the Father. With films like Dogma the idea of the Father is challenged. If you could help me in anyway, hopeful with any insight you might have time for or names of films. I would really appreciate it. I saw that your Trinity page was still under construction any links to the trinity would be helpful. Thank you for the time even to read this e-mail.
Thank you Lindsay

Reponse: Finding Forrester and X Men are recent films with older men as Father God figures. The best was Contact with Jody Foster, no white beard though. Most films use women (Dogma) or black males (Bedazzled, Beggar Vance). Films show God as incarnated in all forms. I do not think there is any challenge to the "traditional model" I think its more of an inclusive exploration going on. I think there is a sense of God as transcendent. Or, out side the box. Sort of a God where we least except her. You get the idea. Perhaps there will be a film with God as a dog. Why not? The idea of God has been liberated. Interestingly, the idea of God itself is not challenged. -Warmly David Bruce

A THOUGHT
Subject: Lord_of_Rings
Date: Sat, 05 May 2001
From: Claudia

Hi, I've never done this before, but I found your site when I typed in (bible.com) and it seems very interesting. Maybe the accumulation of everything in his life left him very vunerable to the wiles of the devil to do with as he sees fit. He used intellect to cover all of his insecurities, which gave him quite an ego. Maybe the more we go into ourself the more we give the devil the freedom to not just destroy us, but destroy everyone we come in contact with, in any form, be it by reading, listening, talking . Anything to draw us in, so the devil can keep on destroying what God made in His image. Satan will use anyone and everyone he can to steal, kill and destroy. His jealousy of God and Christ has him on only one mission to kill and destroy as many people as he can. And anyone , he's no respecter of people, that can be used by him will be. But thank you Lord that we have an advocate with the Father, and that you sent the Holy Spirit so that we would not be decieved, but have an assurance in the cross. This man did not have that!

TRUE COMMUNITY
Subject: Chocolat
Date: Sat, 05 May 2001
From: Jane from a corn farm in Illinois

I just discovered your web site and checked out the review of my all-time favorite movie, Chocolat! Having read the other posts, I won't rave on and on, but want to simply add one further thought.

In the scene where Vianne and Anouck are about to leave town (after the urn shatters), their attention is caught be the curious sounds coming from her kitchen. That moment when Vianne walks in to the warm, lighted kitchen (having just harshly forced Anouck to depart upstairs because they didn't belong) is one of the best scenes of True Community I have seen on film!! It was incredible to me how Juliette Binoche could "show" us the way she "realized" at that moment that she did belong -- that that motley assortment of townsfolks, who she had "ministered" to, were there to do FOR HER what she wasn't able to do for herself at that point. I loved watching that "sink in" to her in that scene. It filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears. And when Jacquline comes up to her and asks Vianne the same question inside-out that Vianne had asked her on the visit to the Cafe -- it was perfect! It was a marvelous scene and depicts my idea of Christian Community at many levels.

Also: Did anyone notice? At Armande's birthday feast -- weren't there about 13 people present at the table? Interesting.

I grieved that Serge was "lost" in the film. He in fact was banished from his home. Beautiful film. Inspiring story!
Jane from a corn farm in Illinois

MORE THAN GOLF AND ROMANCE
Subject: Legend_of_Bagger_Vance
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001
From: Trey Harris New Orleans, LA

I know I am way behind, but just saw Bagger Vance on video. Thought the movie could have done a lot more with either golf or romance didn't do enough with either. However there were many preachable moments. Your review left out one of the most powerful. When Junuh hits a shot into the woods and goes into a flash back and Bagger tells him to lay his burden down, in my opinion, is the most powerful scene in the movie.

This is what God invites us all to do: "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:29-30 NLT)
Peace and Grace,
Trey Harris New Orleans, LA

AGNOSTIC LOVES SITE
Subject: An agnostic that found your site.
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001
From: Acathla

I found your site purely by accident. I was hunting for other people's viewpoints on movies, in the this particular instance Dogma. And anywho, I found your site and I read your review and I loved it. So I checked out some of your other reviews (for movies I've seen of course) and I agreed with you in most of them, and even with the ones I didn't I ended up thinking about what you were saying for some time. I'm an agnostic though I do tend to think about philsophy and spirituality often, and I must say I do absolutely love your site. Its one the best written, intelligent sites I've ever had the pleasure of reading. If I found more Christians like you, instead of the scary fundamentalists I keep running into, maybe I would finally be able to have an intelligent discussion about religion. Anywho, thumbs up from the peanut gallery, I love your site and keep up the good work! :)

Response: I am not a typical Christian. And thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you.

WHAT ABOUT 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY?
Subject: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001
From: Mike

David, I am a huge admirer of your site. All of the time and effort you put into it is sincerely appreciated; it means a lot to a great many people. One movie that I cannot find mentioned on your site, however, is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is one of the finest movies ever made. Seeing as how it is basically an exercise in existentialism, one can certainly draw a link between the film and God. I would greatly appreciate reading your interpretation of this movie.
Sincerely, Mike
BTW...Here is a great site I found that helps to make sense of the movie: http://www.modemac.com/2001/

Response: I should and I will. -David

YOU GO GIRL
Subject: Encouragement Dyan_Cannon
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
From: Sassy

I have always thought you were just adorable! Not just pretty, so much more. Deeper. Your adorable laugh that comes from so deep within you always told me that you are your own person. I admired that in you. Now I find you have come to know our precious Lord which makes us sisters in Christ. Just wanted to take the time to encourage you in your outreach. So much of the Hollywood world needs to know what we know and to feel His love. Not only them but you are such a role model for so many women. I pray God will continue to bless you and l will continue to lift you up in my prayers!

YOU GO, GIRL! You are truly an inspiration! Thanks for using your gifts to better our world to reach out into a world so desperately in need of our most loving God and the knowledge of Him.

A WHALE OF HOPE
Subject: Cast_Away
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
From: Susan

I was really struck by the images of the whale. I was reminded of Jonah and his story of redemption. Chuck changed his whole life because he became a better man. The grasping for "hope" through the whole movie, his relationship with "Wilson" and his rebirth on the outhouse raft complete with resurrection symbol painted on the thing! What a great conversation starter of a movie - can't wait to use it and your notes next month!!

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND
Subject: The Exorcist
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
From: Edward

Mr Bruce.
I do not understand the film The Exorcist's message. I do but I don't quite getthe way it is portrayed.

Firstly, how can the show be positive if it portrays 2 priests killed by Satan in their pursuit o conduct an exorcism? (It shows God faith, and Satan as real)

Secondly, why didn't Satan go back to possessing the girl after he left the body of the jumping priest? (The story is based on a true story. I suppose the answer is in the spiritual realm and beyond our carnal logic).

Thirdly, is it possible for any believer in Christ to be possessed by Satan? I have always believed that the answer to that is a definite no because I think is a fact that once Jesus is in you, no demon can ever come in. I also truly believe that once one TRULY accepts Jesus, he will always be a follower of Jesus and be SAVED. ("Once saved always saved." Is that what you are saying? Hmmm, very Calvin of you. You have nice little logic boxes for your theology) Your comments on all these queries of mine?

Response: How it all works is a mystery to me. And I think I will keep it that way. I have met Christians who claimed to have been demon possessed as a believer. But, on the other hand I do know what you are talking about -the protection of being in Christ and all. The bottom line for me is to believe that God keeps me (Calvin) and that I need to endure to the end to be saved (Wesley). I like the tension between the two realities. -David

DOESN'T LIKE CANNON'S MOVIES
Subject: The roles you play. Dyan_Cannon
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001
From: Ruth

As an older Christian I am somwhat concerned about some of the roles you play on the screen. Is it of no concern to you?
Sincerely with love in JESUS
Ruth

Response: We evolve Ruth. Have you been lilly white all your life? Where do you get off with a remark like that? You come off so self righteous, so pure, so perfect, so condemning. Your love for Jesus (so-called) is overshadowed by Jesus' love for sinners. I am glad to share a not so perfect life with the likes of Dyan Cannon. Romans 3:23 includes you Ruth. May God give you a good dose of reality. Did you ever think you might go to hell for such self righteousness? You need to remember by in whose righteousness we have been made righteous. And it sure the hell ain't yours or mine.
-David, the sinner, the hypocrite, and the unrighteous.

BLESSINGS ON DAVID
Subject: Hi
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001
From: Lynne

I didnt have much time to spend on your site, but i like what i saw. Thanks David, keep up the good work! Many blesings to you.
Lynne

Response: I try. Thank you. -David

GREAT SITE
Subject: GREAT SITE!
Date: Wed, 02 May 2001
From: Jason Zbornik

I could go on about the integrity, intelligence, power, and opportunity I see in this site in a world where many Christians have problems dealing with things that are not done by Christians or who openly condemn everything if it is not done by a believer or "spreading the good new" ..but that would take some time. Just a note on your website. It would be good if you made your site "spawn" a new window when clicking on another sites LINK. Keep people at your site as long as possible. GODSPEED!
Jason

Respone: Thank you for the kind words. And I like your idea. -David

VIRGIN BIRTH NOT LITERAL
Subject: Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 Phantom Menace
From: jlb

In my view, the virgin conception of Anakin isn't literal. When his mom said to Qui-gon Jinn that Anakin had no father, she was just avoiding the question. Her evasive facial expression that accompanied her answer is proof of it. I invite everyone to watch it again to see her face when she says it.
- jlb
p.s. please don't put my address. thanks.

Response: Yes, of course, this is understood. -David

JESUS AS HOMOSEXUAL
Subject: Herecy The Last Temptation
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001
From: Bro. Robbie

The last temptation of Christ is a movie that portrays Jesus as a homosexual. That pretty much sealed it for me. This movie is a peace of trash. You have heard of blasphemy?

Response: Did we see the same film? Did you see it? The basic idea in the film was Jesus' temptation to have been married, with children

IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF IT
Subject: Miss Congeniality
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001
From: Sam

Thank you Sam for your honest letter. I wish more young men would admit to sexual struggle as you have. My responses are in blue and are of a graphic nature. I believe that Christians need to talk about sexual function because great harm is caused by implying that normal function is somehow sinful. The days of condemnation need to end. -David

Hi. Forgive me if I come across as a legalistic hypocrite. I have been thinking and prayer and scouring the Word for info about lust and promiscuity and purity. I am a 21 yr old male. I do not want to be a complete outcast from society. Partially for selfish reasons, and partially because I enjoy being able to relate with those around me, and to be able to better tell them about God's love.

Here is my dilemmas. "Even to look upon a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in your heart" (Note: This does not have anything to do with natural arousal, this has to do with an inner intention to have actual adulterous sex with a specific woman -a mental thing). I'm sure your familiar with that verse. In your review of Ms Congeniality (however it's spelled), you mentioned nothing about the clothing being worn. (Why should I?) There were some warnings of sexual innuendo and mild violence, but nothing about immodesty. In some of the pictures on your page, I felt a struggle just looking at them, and I am confused. I mean, her dress is glued on, and so short (It is? Gee, gosh, you are right. She does look nice. Very attrctive. But, so what?). I am confused about whether or not I should even watch a movie like this (You are the best judge of yourself.). I feel very alone depressed about this because to everyone else around me, tight dresses, short shorts, skin tight clothing, bikini's, half open blouses, whatever; it's no big deal, its normal and fine. But to me it is a real struggle (if it is, then it is). I know that most guys out there feel some sort of arousal, however mild, over such things (Hmm, I think I need to be very forthright with you. I did not get an erection, much less aroused by Sandra Bullock. Perhaps if she had larger breasts. But, what if I had? Would that have been wrong? Or natural? I think the latter. Erections and arousal are not sinful in themselves -they are normal. Inner intent to commit adultery is what is ungodly). But at the same time, it's everywhere, and no big deal to most people I know. Heck (You mean, Hell?) most of my friends joke about it. (Maybe, you should give yourself a break and accept your natural and normal arousal to happen without thinking you have somehow violated your commitment to God. Arousal and lust are two different things.) Half of me wants to yell and scream, and half of me wants to just pretend that I am not tempted (arousal is not temptation, and temptation is not a sin). What are we to do? (Enjoy life, know that arousal and erections are okay, not sinful. It makes me feel good. It's a God thing. And, know that lustful intent to commit adultery is wrong).

To put my dilemma hypothetically: suppose I had to pick up a friend from work, and he worked in porn shop (your example is extreme and unbelievable). Now even though my motives may be pure (or seem pure) if I were to go in the porn shop to get him, I would undoubtedly be sinning (no, you would not be sinning) just by subjecting myself to such a temptation (again temptation is not sin). Defiling my eyes (your eyes would not be defiled, no where is that in the scriptures. You are reading your own needless guilt into the Bible) would be unavoidable. We are to "flee sexual immorality" (Your example has no case of sexual immorality in it. You might also think of your relationship with your friend as an evangelistic opportunity).

So then if the above situation is unwholesome (and it is not), should I go to the mall (yes), where posters of half naked, erotically posed, people abound, and young ladies prance about in mini-skirts and chest exposing low cut shirts? (Really, that's in the mall? Wow, I guess I should go and investigate!) If I to flee, where shall I go (I do not know. Your needless guilt is a self imposed prison. Jesus came to set you free). Half of me thinks it's time to flee to the hills of Judah. What do you think? -Sam (I think you should stop hating your God given sexual function. It's normal. It's fun and it's good. Enjoy the fact that you get erections; That you feel arousal. These things are good. They ARE NOT wrong. Someone has sold you a bill of goods. Have you ever found a verse anywhere in the scriptures that condemns arousal, erections, or even masturbation? You are really talking about masturbation, aren't you? Masturbation is a wonderful thing, enjoy. Just do not do the lust thing. And, avoid habit forming and addictive pornography and all other visual aids. Now go and have some God given fun. No more condemnation. You are a very normal guy. Blessings on you).

PS, Sam, perhaps this will help. The Ten Commandments teach us not to covet our neighbor's house, spouse, or property (Ex 20:17). But this does not make a house, spouse or property wrong, nor does it make the desire for a house, spouse or property wrong. It makes lusting after something that is not yours wrong -that is, criminal intent to steal. So apply this same principle to sexual arena. God really wants you to enjoy life, but you are on a path that is ungodly, unscriptural and dangerous to your mental and sexual health. You need to be free to experience normal sexual attraction and arousal without thinking it is lustful and criminally immorality. Let Jesus set you free. Believe me, the devil did not create your sexuality. God did. So, enjoy. And tell the devil to take a hike. Talk to a pastor if you need to sort out issues of guilt, balance and moderation. Get professional assistance if you need help with pronography addiction. Otherwise, enjoy Sandra Bullock, she is a very attractive woman, and that is very okay because God made her that way. And it is okay for you to experience sexual attraction. -David

GOD HARD WIRED US
Subject: More on sexual arousal (Miss Congeniality)
Date: Fri, 04 May 2001
From: Joe

Dear David, I read with great interest your reply to Sam on "Miss Congeniality", and, to be honest, found it greatly comforting, particularly your remarks about the naturalness of sexual arousal and masturbation. The late Desmond Morris (at least, I _think_ he's the late Desmond Morris - maybe he's still around) had some truly fascinating things to say about the things that we humans get aroused by, which leads me to believe that maybe those were "hard-wired" into us by God - in other words, maybe God _intends_ us males to get aroused by certain female characteristics. That being the case, I would also question whether sexual fantasy as such is even sinful at all, as Sam seemed to think (it seems to be a contradiction in terms to masturbate and _not_ have sexual fantasies while doing so).

As far as pornography goes, the real problem with it is that it's so -boring- - you basically have a situation of putting tab A into slot B, or variants thereof, on an average of 5 times during the average porn video. Not to mention that all the humping and puffing and groaning is disconnected from anything else - it's just not -real-. (Not to get too indelicate, but _coitus interruptus_ just doesn't happen THAT often in real life!)
-Joe-

P.S. Sandra Bullock was a year behind me at East Carolina. (No, we never met, as far as I know - it was a big school even then, in the early 1980's, and we were on different tracks.)

P.P.S. What really floats my boat, if you know what I mean and I think you do (as Joe Bob Briggs is wont to say) is the great classic sexy stars of the 1950's - Gina Lollobrigida, Anita Ekberg, Jane Russell, and that lot - not to mention the one and only Marilyn Monroe!

Response: Thanks Joe. I admire your openness and honesty. It will be interesting to see how others will respond to this needful and liberating discussion. -David

SPIRITUALITY OF TOLKIEN
Subject: Lord of the Rings
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001
From: Brian

Hello Pastor Greg,
Congratulations on a great essay. You are right in saying that The Lord of the Rings encourages Christians to evade their Christian responsibility and not engage the very real world that we inhabit. An element of the work that you didn't highlight is the identification of elves with Angels. When reading the work it is easy to identify more with the elves than the men, thus leading to an intellectual heresy I refer to as the Heresy of the Race of Angels, where we loose sight of our created nature and in fact rebel against our created nature as mortal sinful men and instead strive to be what we are not: Angels. This is the type of proud rebellion inspired by the evil one. I would see the Lord of the Rings, because of its great scope and the use of historic battles even, as a dangerous cul-de-sac for Christians to avoid duty and doing good in the world.

(For historical allusions see the Seige of Sarajevo by the Muslims in the fifteenth century for a city beseiged and almost captured by land being liberated by the arrival of forces in ships by river as a model for the seige in the second novel.) (Also orcs are the equivalent of Janasseries - Christians who were captured as children by the Muslims and reared to fight in the Muslim armies as their most feared and loyal troops!) Bear in mind that Tolkien was a Master of Medieval History as well as Litreature. His fantasy thought is pre-Protestant, pre-modern and to a large extent unfortunately pre-Christian.
God bless and Best Regards,
Brian

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Index to all the comments May 03 to Sep 12, 2001
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