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

NEWSLETTER #26 COMMENTS

COMMENT
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Helen

David, A lot of people are like that with writers. I go to Christian writers conferences all the time, and I'm beginning to think - wait a minute! Does my writing have to be in a Christian book in order to make a difference? I would really prefer unbelievers reading my material anyway and somehow be influenced positively for God.

Sometimes Christians get so "religious" with their examination of manuscripts that they look for denomination affilliation instead of good sound material.

Have you ever read the book, "The Roaring Lambs?" by Marlene Bagnull. It's a book that encourages Christians in professions to see themselves in the ministry, and that is what I see you doing. Using your profession for Him. If you find the book, I think you will find it encouraging.

Don't worry about the religious people - those are not the ones you are trying to reach anyhow. The biggest compliment I have ever received in my writing was when an atheist told me, "I'm not sure if I'm your audience or not, but I found your essay very convincing." That made my day, in fact, it made my month! It really meant far more, as you can imagine, than a Christian publisher using one of my articles.

God bless you, David - and I guess we have to be a little soft with these Christians, since we are all in the same boat even if we do sometimes get our mouths filled with salt water. :)
- Helen

VICTIMIZED CHRISTIAN
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: John

David,
Can I relate to being victimized?...

About twenty years ago I belonged to a local small town church. Well, I happened to be the Sunday School Supt. One of my duties was to open the church service with announcements, prayer requests and a song...no problem. Well, 'no problem' until one Sunday in referring to communicating with one another I compared a well known prime time TV show to my story.

To my total shock (along with everyone else) the pastor almost jumps up and starts rebuking and riling all over me. Giving me the same response you received while visiting the Sunday night service. I feel at the time my solid Christian beliefs kept me very humble. I let the pastor get the vile out of his system; I apologized to him and the congregation (almost quivering with shock) and I continued with a song.

I continued going to this church for a few years. As time passed I became the 'head Trustee' for this church. I went to church to hear the Lord speak through His people, not to watch the clock so the Pastor didn't mess up their Sunday noontime meal! Well, as my position allowed, I could do "things' with the church property. So in noticing the endless, every Sunday routine of the 'OL Timers watching the clock on the wall in front by the podium I thought a change of pace was due!

We had a picture of Jesus and the 'Last Supper' above the entrance to the sanctuary. Well, lets just reverse places with these items. 'Last Supper' up front and the 'CLOCK' in back. WOW, WOW did I get flack!!! Of course I knew I would but to get the people to realize what they were doing and bring awareness to their purpose in church was my goal. I decided to stick to my guns even with the Elders and other church officials asking me when I was going to put the clock back. I'm sure you could imagine it got ugly. My determination eroded away after about two months of them pestering me.

Yes, I returned the clock and picture to their original places. And of all my concern for their attitudes with time and what they were thinking about as the Pastor gave his message went right out the door. They didn't get the message and their narrow mindedness wasn't interested in any new attitudes.

This story is pretty well what has made it much easier for me to just 'stay home'. Like I say to myself when I get rebuked for my Christian beliefs and attitude, "look what they did to Jesus". I love your website and recommend it to others...keep on keeping on.
Thank God I'm Alive!
jwd

Response: Wow1 What a story. I am runnimg out the door right now. I will comment as soon as I get back. -David

RIGHT THERE WITH JESUS
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Kathleen"

hi... Well, I must say, it sounds like you are right there with Jesus, to me. Just a few days ago, I was complaining to Jesus about some things said to me, like in the name of God, you know? and Jesus said, "Well, they haven't tried to throw you off of a cliff yet." : ) Jesus is so wonderful, isn't He? He would have loved Hollywood so much if He were walking in the flesh here today.

Have you seen the movie from the early 90's, The Judas Project? It had some not so good actors in it, but the theme was so good. It was a story based on the last 3 years of the life of Jesus, in a modern day setting, like if Jesus had come now instead of then. Of course the 'holier than thou' religious crucified Him the same, hung Him on a cross in a barn! I cried and cried, because it is so very true. It would really happen all over again, it would. I wrote to you the first time I saw your site and told you, 'you are right on' in putting up your site, just like right on! Keep up the good work. I still have your link on all of my links pages.
God bless you, Kathleen

Response: Bless you Kathleen. -David

IT IS COOL TO ME, BUT THEN IT SHOULD BE.
Subject: Cool_Churches Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Jimmy Chalmers"

David, Keep up the work. God is smiling, the Good News is being spread. I hope I am the pastor/leader of a "cool" church. We want to know the Jesus of the bible, not the one created by the religious system of USAmerica. We struggle with our faith. You are allowed and encouraged to have questions about your faith. We have realized that having all the answers regarding someone as big as the Creator of the Universe can be dangerous. We have our own resident movie critic ( a leader in the church who sees almost every film produced for USAmerican release) The pastor and this man usually see one to two films a month together. We are a hodge-podge of folks who need Jesus and His grace every breath.
Come on and join us!
No TIES allowed;-)
blessings2u,
Jimmy Chalmers Lead Pastor
The Carpenter's Shop
106 E. Industry Dr. PO Box 1558 Oxford, NC 27565
919.690.8487/919.690.8814
jchalmers@gloryroad.net
http://www.carpenters-shop.com
http://www.woodshavings.net

Response: I love the Carpenter's Shop. -David

COOL CHURCH
Newsletter_26
Subject: Westport Mennonite Brethren Church
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Mike Furches"

Hey David, I really appreciated your newest newsletter. In regards to a good cool church. I know that no churches perfect and that includes mine. I am working in the area of evangelism at our church and believe that we have taken an honest whosoever will attitude of acceptance. Recently a skater told us that we were the only church left in our community that accepted them. Again we are not perfect but we try to love those that Christ loves.
Westport Mennonite Brethren Church
11600 N. Garnett Road Collinsville, OK 74021
(918) 371-2505 Near Tulsa
God Bless,
Mike Furches

Response: Mike you are one of my favorite people. I know if you go to that church that it must be way cool. Thanks for the tip. -David

BETTIE PAGE INSPIRATION
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Kathy Shaidle

Thanks for putting together that Bettie Page tribute. I've been working on a poem about her for a while and your 'Page pages' will help inspire me. I have posted a link to the Bettie Page feature over at Relapsed Catholic. Keep up the fine work! -- Kathy Shaidle Where the religious rubber meets the pop culture road... http://www.relapsedcatholic.blogspot.com/

Response: It is always so good to hear from you Kathy. I am looking forward to your Bettie Page web page. I love your site. Keep up the good work. -David

YOU ARE DOING GREAT
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Edward Chinn

David, I just read your recent letter about being bashed by "R-rated Christians!" Hang in there! I think you're doing a great job showing us the spiritual truths in those modern parables called "movies." How much I think Jesus enjoys such use of parables!
Cheers, The Rev. Edward Chinn, D.Min.
All Saints' Episcopal Church
9601 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19114 USA
Phone: 215-637-8787
edwardchinn@earthlink.net
www.allsaintstorresdale.org

Response: Thank you Edwin. I appreciate your words. -David

BE ENCOURAGED
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Glen"

David, Just a quick e-mail. Thanks for your work and your website. I use your resources constantly in developing material for sermons and small groups. I am the Pastor of a church plant in the SW burbs of Chicago. Several people have come to know Christ in part because I use movie clips to reach Pagans, atheists, agnostics and open minded Christians. You have played a part in bringing people into the kingdom. Please be encouraged!! I will pray for you.
In Christ, Glen

Response: Thank you Glen, I appreciate your kind thoughts. And i appreciate you -David

RECOMMENDATION CONCERNS
Newsletter_26
Subject: R Rated Movies
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001
From: "Tanya"

I have to say I'm appalled - but not entirely surprised - by that church's response. It seems counter productive. We think this man is going astray, so we'll help him on his way out rather than trying to bring him back in (what was that about Jesus and the 99 sheep?). So, all I can say is, I'm sorry that the church is so petty and unfeeling.

I am a bit torn on the R-rated movie issue, however. I did see all of those movies you mentioned (Dogma, Fight Club, Saving Private Ryan, etc). As a note, I didn't think Dogma was blasphemous against God, but against the marketing church, and was - unfortunately - rather accurate in it's portrayal. I kind of liked it. The message and incredibly intricate storyline of Fight Club kept me riveted, and the ending blew me away. I own Saving Private Ryan, and I'd recommend Green Mile to anyone.

It's when it comes to recommendations that I'm more careful. I deliberately saw Dogma because of it's religious nature, knowing what I was getting into because I had seen other Kevin Smith movies. I do not like Kevin Smith. I have to side a bit with the church members on the Thessalonian verse about "Whatever is pure...." I will not watch his movies for entertainment sake, because he is crass, crude, and fairly disgusting. BUT I did want to see Dogma because it is, as you say, a great way to open conversation with unbelievers. Would I recommend it to other Christians? No. It is not necessary. I can tell them what the story was, and what the content was, and if they decide to see it, that's their affair. But I don't think it's a must see. The same with Fight Club. Those sex scenes were unnecessarily graphic, and I don't need to see them again. Neither does anyone else.

I think that's where the responsibility lies. I will see something that I know is going to contain objectionable IF I think it will be beneficial to other believers and to unbelievers because I can see content and look beyond to quality. But as brothers and sisters, we must remember Romans 14 and be very cautious about what we recommend to one another. I think you do a good job at that, and so I urge you to keep up the good work.
God Bless you in what you do.
Tanya - Bellingham, WA

Reponse: Thank you Tanya. You're response was very well thought out. And I agree with you totally. We do need to be careful about what we recommend to others. But, then that's good friendship and thoughtfulness. -David

BEEN THERE
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001
From: Jay Wallace

David: A friend ask me this week if I was angry at the church I grew up in--- XXX church. Nah I said, I just don't like their "we got the truth, and you don't" attitude. But as we talked I realized I am angry at them. I resent very much their attitude, probably as much as they resent mine. It sounds like you bumped into a very similar bunch of "Christians". I haven't decided if its ok to be angry about it. I don't think anger is a sin. "Be angry but sin not" the apostle says. I take it from that anger is an emotion that can lead you into lots of places some good maybe, and most probably not so good. But all that is another matter, right now what is on my mind is intolerance and as much as I dispise it, I find that I am very intolerant. I am intolerant of their intolerance. Im not sure what to do about that either.

The one thing I am sure of is there are folks out their who call themselves "Christians" and who are clearly struggling to love other people. Some struggle a little harder than others and most of us probably fail at it dismally. I pray for those of them who "got the truth" and those of us who don't. I pray that we could find ways to love one another and make a little space of those who are so damned sure they are right about virtually everything. I also pray for the courage to step in and defend those who are being beaten up by "those who have the truth." I pray that you are Ok David because you do witness your faith and I appreciate the lens that you loan me from time to time to look at film which is really the parable factory of our time.
Be at peace brother and God bless your work.
Jay Wallace at seminary SanFran Theo S.

Response: Thank you, I am deeply touched by your wonderful words. What a wonderful soul you are. Thank you, David

A CHURCH THAT CELEBRATES THE INSIGHT IN FILM
Subject: Cool Church Newsletter_26
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001
From: Terry Van Hook

Hi David, I am saddened and hurt by the experience you had at XXX XXX Fellowship. The message you received was not what we experience Christianity to be at all. You can be assured that if you visit the Culver-Palms United Methodist Church, (among hundreds of churches I know of....) you will not be treated as such. I ask your forgiveness for such behavior and hope that the overwhelming response to this message of yours will help you see that Christianity is much more wide and broad based than what you have run into. While I am concerned over much of what "the media" produces, I am also constantly astounded at the depth and issues tackled by main stream "Hollywood" and I often use video clips in classes, sermons and as activities for groups of all ages. I appreciate your web site and have used it and cited it often. Keep up the great work! God is at work in you and I thank God for your gifts and talent.
Grace and Peace, Terry Van Hook,
Pastor Culver-Palms United Methodist Church
4464 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, Calif. 90230
(310) 390-7717 www.Hope4LA.org

Response: Wow! You are in the LA area? I think I will drop by some day when I am in town. I would love to meet you. Also, thank you for the healing words. -David

REFRESHING
Subject: refreshing.....
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001
From: Wim

Dear David. Thank you for confirming in my heart the Jesus that I have come to know: a Jesus without guilt, we are free indeed! Keep up your good work! warm greetings from Wim, who is still working out his salvation since he became a Christian 32 years ago.

Response: Thanks Wim, I am still working out mine too. But hey the journey is great and full of surprises, and sometimes some hard knocks. -The best to you! David

VICTIMIZED CHRISTIAN MOVIE WATCHER
Subject: Victimized_Christian
Newsletter_26
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001
From: Gary Stokes

Dear David, I was a victimized christain moviewatcher at one time, but thank God most people I hang with are pretty open-mnded. Keep up the good work.
Gary from Orlando, Fl.

Response: There really are some neat people out there. Thank you for the encouragement Gary. -Warmly David

WHY???
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001
From: Nena

Why, when all else fails to insite a believer to the level of a non-believer, does the non-believer attack the believer's faith?
Why?????

Response: That is a good question! Thanks, David

R SUCK
Subject: Hollywood Jesus #26,
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001
From: Pat

I think R-Rated Films suck, but I really like your email and website
Pat

Response: Thank you Pat -David

BAHAI BY FAITH
Newsletter_26
Subject: THANK YOU!!!!!
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Keli"

You asked about our view. Well I'm a student of Christian theology and a Bahai by faith. I think you are doing a great job. Now I'm working on my M.A. paper on Eden themes in movies. Once a week my friends and I come together and watch movies with religious themes. We have done this for a year now. Soon we will open a webside (www.dec.hi.is) and we are publishing a book about religion and film. And why am I telling you all this? Because you have been an inspiration to us all. If I was not a Bahai I would for sure be the first member of "your" church. I think you have the healthiest view on religion and life I know of.
Thank you my dear web-priest.
Keli.

Response: Thank you so much Keli. I actually have tears in my eyes. For some reason your letter has moved me profoundly. May God bless you Keli on your spiritual journey. Please stay in touch. Warmly, David

I AM A CATHOLIC
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Chrissy

Dear Mr. Bruce- I read your latest Hollywood Jesus newsletter and I am appaled that some R-Rated Christians wouldn't want you to be in their churches anymore. I am a Catholic myself and I enjoy to read the Hollywood Jesus newsletters. I must admit that I don't keep them all but I do read all of them. I also respond to the ones that need a response. I feel that movies that downgrade God shouldn't be shown to young children especially and movies that say there is another Jesus. How can there be more than one Jesus when there is only one God? Well I guess I will leave you with that for the weekend. I hope you have a blessed weekend and I look forward to reading many more Hollywood Jesus Newsletters.
God Bless- Chrissy

Response: Thank you Crissy, I always enjoy your letters. I appreciate you faith in Jesus. -David

CHRISTIANITY IS BECOMING IRRELEVENT
Newsletter_26
Subject: Christianity Is Becoming Irrelevent.
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Samuel Ewing"

Hello, I read your comments on the Baby Boomer and Gen X dilemna. I believe that Christianity as a crusading and dominating religion is becoming increasingly irrelevent to people in general as well as Gen - X. Built into the very nature of Christianity as an institution of Eurocentric dominance are the ideas of economic and racial ideologies that promoted "crusades" and crusading; another words conquering others. The result, is a strong innate bias against other cultures, cultural trends and new ideas. Superstitious fear of new innovations as demon inspired when they are only advances in science. The new crusades of conquering peoples' minds with hell and brimstone no longer have much effect on someone with reasonable intelligence. Christianity has not been good for non-European cultures as a whole and even up to very recently has been used as a type of forward scout for miltary and economic corporations who want to exploit the resources of other countries. By this I mean the Western Culture. I don't say this with any glee, but this particular phenomena has been devastating to people across the globe and there is a ready denial of its bloody and inhuman legacy. "God" help us, protect us from people who believe in harming others with your approval! Will the real "God" please stand up!

In college these facts are readily discussed and I found that more than a few people are upset at the facts about the effects of Christianity on the human condition. After all one has only to study the Black Holocaust ( slavery), the Jewish Holocaust, the Native Americans slaughtered for the cause of Jesus, a glorious victory, and a strong economy to realize what a horror story has come from this crusading religion.

Like another crusading religion that comes to mind, war to establish heaven on earth is a recurring theme too.

The differences in culture also effect the environment for worship. As a child who grew up in the 1960s and 70s I couldn't appreciate hard wooden benches, long reading of scriptures with a pat interpretation, singing hymns that seemed to my ears a symphony of mourning, a God whose angry because he's gonna gitcha for your sins and because his Son got beat down by humans (His intention all along).

I used to have nightmares about this White Jesus Christ who would punish me, a little black child who couldn't figure out what made him angry and who never seemed happy. A Jesus who had carte blanche to put his foot in my assets whenever he seemed mad about something. As an impressionable child this is what I understood. When I was in the sixth grade I found out that this White Jesus had no foundation whatsoever in actual history or even the Bible. The White Jesus was a political construct and thoughtform used to enslave people; this is not opinion , this is historical fact. I was becoming more aware of what this really was. Then I found out that that the Bible whether taken literally or not was a book of stories in which the characters were Africans (Blacks), Afro Asiatics or Afro-Semites, and Semites. This made it very clear the hate that people like Hitler, Queen Isabella, and Martin Luther had for the European Jews. They were aware of the African blood in these Jews. This was proven again when the priest class descended from Moses and Aaron in Israel denied that an older group of African people called the Lemba (Black African Jews) claimed the same descent. The former group denied the latter's claim. When genetic tests were given to both groups they were both found to be descended from Moses and Aaron who themselves were Blacks. It was an enlightening experience for the fairer-skinned Jews of Israel. This is one of the main motivations that Hitler and his predecessors used to commit horrors in the name of God as they saw It.

I think that younger people are seeing through the biased and fraudulent stance of this religion and for it to continue there needs to be a regeneration within the established order based on truth, justice, and correctness. If not Christianity will continue towards its dinosaur like existence until it phases itself out. As you described the clear evil and hate that you received from Christians who criticized this website; there attitude is what is making Christianity a thing of the past.

Christianity is more like a political-economic American corporation in which the civic religion (Americanism, Patriotism, and Cowboy Justice) are at its core. Remember the flag waving and patriotic songs being used in churches all across this country during Desert Shield - Desert Storm? Praise Jesus!, we're going to war! People with a reasonable amount of common sense are weary of these manipulations and that includes Gen-X.

There are generations of people who are simply tired of the same old evil and manipulative crap. They are leaving the good ol' boys network, believe as I do or else, the all in the family church as family business, the tv evangelists who talk their version of Jesus the American Way while living like rich religious tycoons. They are tired of the tv evangelist conservative semi-politician who bashes the liberal politicians who are equally as nauseating; and all of them like mercenaries lining their pockets, lying to the American people, and talking at the same time about "moral values."

People are quietly and relentlessly looking for other gods, goddesses, religions, spiritualities, and philosophies to satisfy the emptiness they feel. Some are even creating their own way. I say, "God" bless them, perhaps by their personal struggle the Supreme Being will guide them to a more sincere and loving relationship for Him, Her, and It.
Amen and Allwomen too,
Samuel David Ewing SARASWATI@prodigy.net

Response: You have been through so much. Thank you Sam for honestly sharing your heart. And God bless you for that. I agree with many of your points. Jesus was not white, that is for sure. And God is not happy by many of the things done in his name, that is for sure. Religious institutions are sometimes the worst examples of the God they claim to follow. Your response was somehow refreshing. Please stay in touch, I like how you are. -David

You are on Comments page 83
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