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

COOL CHURCH
Newsletter_26
Subject: FOR THE LIST
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: EGrant

David, I was saddened to read your comments about the "closed -minded" Christians. I would want to ask them how many people they have reached for Christ in the last year or so? Real people who are not yet Christians can "smell" fake Christianity. Keep up the good work!
Pastor Ed Grant
~ New Life Christian Center
~ 16575 SE Webster Rd
~ Milwaukie, OR 97267
503-653-0174
~ www.newlifemilwaukie.com

My response: There is absolutly nothing attractive about a close minded Christian. There is nothing as beautiful as the person who can love you and me "Just as I am." -David

MIXED EMOTIONS
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Ron Wheeler

When I read the reaction to you from those shallow Christians I was crushed. I've been in Christian publishing (I'm a cartoonist) for over 20 years and have dealt with all types of denominations and fellowships, and I've never had an encounter like yours, although I've experienced a few whacky things (I once had to redraw Jesus because his hair was touching his collar).

But I also can understand the other side too. We homeschool and love the purity and innocence we have preserved in our children. Inappropriate movies can rob that innocence. In Romans 16:19 Paul admonishes us to be innocent about what is evil and wise about what is good. You may not be compelled to violent or nudity because of what you see in those movies, but others might be. I know that my own thinking and perspective coarsens if I've been exposed to inappropriate things. I'm weak in this way. I don't dare go near pornography because of its gripping affect. If I wasn't susceptible this way, the advertising industry wouldn't spend billions of dollars every year to make an impression in my mind that would affect my behavior.

Thus these people may have had their heart going generally in the right direction but they obviously didn't express themselves very appropriately or seasoned with much grace. They should have focused on their own weakness for such things and given you space to do what you've been called to do.

I think what you do provides a valuable service to the body of Christ. We need to stay culturally relevant for the sake of the Gospel. Hang in there. I know it's hard. Go easy on those who are clumsy about such matters. It's frustrating I know. You are providing a good service. Try not to have a knee jerk reaction in the opposite direction.
Blessings,
Ron Wheeler http://www.cartoonworks.com

PS: Hey! Check out my new web site ...http://www.CartoonOfTheDay.com . It is so cool! You can now read a different one of my cartoon tracts every day. You can also put my FREE "CartoonOfTheDay.com" button on your web site so you can present a fun, humorous, witness to all your visitors as well. Over 35 million of these tracts in print have been passed out. They work!

My response: Ron, words will never express my appreciation for your artistry. You are tops in my book. Thanks for your thoughts. I love you man. -David

COOL CHURCH
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Darrel Manson

I'd like to just say that you could pick a Disciples church, but I know that there are some that can be a judgmental as anyone else. However, I do think that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is an the whole open and non-judgmental. We certainly don't invite anyone to check their brains at the door. In fact, what has at times chased people away from our church, is the power with which judgmentalism and simple answers are attacked --not by me, but by lay folks who have struggled throughout their lives to figure out what it means to live faithfully in the life Christ has given to us.
-- Darrel Manson ><>
Artesia Christian Church ICQ 5624184
Artesia, CA
http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch01198
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. --Leroy "Satchel" Paige

My response: Darrel, thank you for being my friend. I always appreciate you. I hope to visit your church some day. -David

CHECK OUT IMAGE
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Ken

Have enjoyed your web site. Thought you might be interested in an article that I thought was fantastic.

Bailie, Gil., "Cinema and Crisis: The Elusive Quest for Catharsis," in IMAGE: A Journal of the Arts & Religion. Summer 1998, #20. ( That whole issue in subtitled "Screening Mystery: The Religious Imagination in Contemporary Film" and is primarily dedicated to film).

In the journal, Bailie is quoted as being: a lecturer and writer whose book, "Violence Unveiled", has been called "breathtaking" (Rollo May) and "the single most important book of social analysis and prophetic theology to appear in our generation" (Sam Kean). He is founder and director of the Florilegia Institute in Sonoma, California.

The same issue has many other articles on film, including: Sacrificing Images: Violence and the Movies, by Ronald Austin (Hollywood writer and producer). Looking for Reel Religion, by Michael Morris, O.P. (Dominican Priest)

Other issues carry articles about P.T. Anderson (Magnolia was SOOOOOOO great), and Kieslowski, among others.

Their website is: www.imagejournal.org, and contains info on back issues, their annual conference, and philosophy.

Hope you have time to enjoy some of their interesting and stimulating thoughts,
Ken

My response: This publication is so cool. I invite everyone to check it out. -David

R RATED PASTOR
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Thomas Karwaki"

Your site is the one I tell other pastors (and even seminary professors) to go visit if they want a Christian perspective on films, music and culture.

Keep up the good work. I use your site regularly in preparation for sermons - and yes we even use them like Jay Leno -- with clips and a member of the audience setting them up -- and why they like the movie / how it helps them understand God or whatever the subject is.

In the Old Testament, especially in Hosea, one finds that the fundamental sin is not being open to God. The people who attacked you are by definition not Christian.
Tom Karwaki
Littlerock (WA)
United Methodist Church

My response: Gosh, I really want to visit your church. Thank you for the affirmation. Not being open is a terrible sin indeed. God love you. man. -David

I GOT TO KEEP QUIET
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Sherri

I attend a church that is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. One of the things that drew me to the church was the basic non-doctrinal nature of the denomination. As one person puts it: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity" And for the most part this holds true. Many in our small congregation (about 100 people in a midwest urban area) are willing to "agree to disagree" about some points of view - but not about what the Bible says. In fact, another phrase commonly used in discussions is "WIIW - Where Is It Written?".

Yet even though the denomination as a whole is fairly open-minded our church here has some folks who seem to fit a more fundamentalist mold. And so while I am very open-minded about many things, I know to keep my views to myself with some church members so I don't offend them or begin heated debates. I know these are truly Jesus-loving Christians, they just tend to take a more hard-line literal interpretation of the Bible than many people I know. Yet we all agree our God is a loving, forgiving God who wants the best for all of us.

So while I personally have no theological problems with R-rated movies, abortion, homosexuality, or many other "hot button" issues, I attend worship with a fair number of people who find these things to be contrary to their understanding of the scriptures. I can sit side-by-side and worship, and I can even have the ocassional discussion about these issues, but I usually refrain so I don't cause dissention or discord.
My two cents - for whatever it is worth,
S. Goodwin

Response: And thank you. I like your 2 cents worth. I am also sorry for your experience, especially because I am also from the Evangelical Covenant Church. I do not attend it now however. But, I was a great experience for me. -David

WHY LABEL
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: F.C.

Hello,
Thanks for the regular email. I enjoy checking out your site for movie reviews, as it looks into symbolism and messages behind the movies, something I find interesting.

I notice, though, that in discussing the issue you had with a certain church, you spoke in such labels - "Christian", "pagan", "athiest" etc. It is so limiting to label people and creates a segregation between ideological differences. It is that sort of labelling and sorting from which judgments and even racism can grow. So why label? Why the separate email addresses for "Christians" and "pagans". I can see that it may be easier to pre-sort the responses, but still! That sounds very narrow-minded on your behalf, to me.

On the subject of racism, I was wondering if you had any comments about racism in Hollywood. I saw "Othello" with Lawrence Fishburn last night and my friend commented that the directors had to get a European woman to play Desdemona because the white Hollywood actresses wouldn't be in a naked love scene with a black man. She cited "The Pellican Brief" and some other movie (I can't recall) that had a leading black man and a white woman who she believed refused any romantic interaction between the characters because of the racial difference. Do you have any comments on this? I am interested in mixed-race relationships and its portrayal in the media.
Thanks, F.C.

Response: You are so right about labels. People come in a rainbow of diversity. In terms of the race thing, I have heard nothing about the situations you mention. They do not strike me as true. Although, I will say that all areas in our society, including Hollywood, suffer from racism. -David

WOMEN DEGRADED
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Tom and Patti Ayers"

I understand your point of view, however, I disagree that women should not be degraded in so many R-rated movies. The movie makers so often include nudity and bad language for ratings. I feel that so many good movies out there would be much better if they left this stuff out. It's not needed.

Response: I agree. -David

COOL CHURCH
Newsletter_26
Subject: My great church, Westside King's Church
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Erin Wiebe"

I just read your newsletter, and right now I'm crying. You have just described an element of the last 24 hrs. of my life. (sorry, don't want to give the story ... maybe another section to send that). I want to share my church which is INCREDIBLE. Their website is http://www.wkc.org and is located in Calgary Alberta. It has turned me on to putting active passionate life what Jesus is really all about. I like to describe my 'church' a "postmodern community focussed on the spiritual growth and journey of it's pilgrims using the Bible as a guidebook." Thank you for your wonderful website. This disciple of Christ is incredibly grateful for all the work you do.
Erin Wiebe

Response: I like that: "postmodern community focussed on the spiritual growth and journey of it's pilgrims using the Bible as a guidebook." Thank you. -David

GOD IS HAPPY WITH ME, FAULTS AND ALL!
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Tim Kretzer

Hi, webmaster D:
HJ #26 was the first issue that I have rec'd since stumbling across your website in my research about the Lord of the Rings movies.

I have to say that after reading your R-rated Christians column I am very moved to know that there is somone out there who is letting the Lord touch the lives of people by being an open vessel -- if you want to use that sorta lingo to explain it.....Personally I try to stay away from alla the thees and thous category of religio-speak ( not that it's inherently bad, it's just become too stuffy to me personally because of the experiences I've had with the type of individuals and churches you wrote about ). Personally, I prefer to just be myself and let the Lord design me as He will......and not be ashamed of who and what He made me to be.....He's happy with me right in the middle of all of my faults and shortcomings.

He's helping me to be like Jesus more and more and part of that is the patience to let others, and myself, not be perfect in every way: and be what He made them to be and not what the "church" thinks everyone should be......( I personally believe that it's just as valid and important -- and as much of a "calling", although I don't like to use that term either -- to the cause of Christ for someone to be a landscape architect, a comic book artist, a taxi driver, and nearly everything else as it is to be a preacher, teacher, missionary, evangelist, etc. ). I think over the centuries we've come to assign the preacher, teacher, missionary, evangelist and so on definitions that the Lord did not.....I believe He was speaking with those terms with regards to their "function" ( which can apply to a rock musician, grade school teacher, astronomer, etc. as opposed to what most folks seem to ascribe to them, and that is a "position" within the "church".

It's refreshing to come across an apparent open mind and heart ( the only other person that I get any significant amount of influence from, for the same reasons, is a gentlemen by the name of Ravi Zacharias ). Saint or sinner, and usually more often than not it's the sinner, people can see through religious facades......All of us, for the most part, want honesty and openess.....People being real, being themselves.......This is fertile soil for the Lord....
Keep up the great work....
Tim Kretzer kretzar@att.net

Response: Spoken like a true follower of Jesus! -David

WHY PAY ATTENTION TO MOVIES?
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: David Buckna

OPINION Why Pay Attention to Movies? http://www.christianweek.org/stories/vol13/no22/editor.htm "Movies have a way of surfacing many of the deeper questions of human existence, providing insight into contemporary values and concerns...Movies, videos, television and music are a natural bridge between Christians and non-Christians." -ChristianWeek

YOUR PERSECUTION
Subject: Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Donnie

I read with great interest your being persecuted for watching "R" rated movies. Having been a Christian for a long time, I believe that it is the right of EVERY Christian to watch whatever thay want, as long as they can keep it in proper perspective. Meaning I can watch an R-rated film and look beyond what is being said and other "inuendos" being presented. I can look beyond the language and or nudity and see the plot or message being the director wanted to present. After all, the scripture said we have to be in the world, not a part of it.

As to your personnal views, they would be welcome in my church. My Pastor does not expect everyone who enters our doors to agree with him. He enjoys a good lively conversation.

In reference to the church you said you would like to open one day, I already attend a church like that. We do not turn anyone away! It has not mattered if you're a bunch of bikers wanting to know what's going on, or a family on their way to the beach wearing shorts, or even someone with their body pierced in a hundred different places. As a matter of fact, if there is an unsaved person or persons who would like to get involved in some type of activity or ministry, our Pastor encourages it. After all, Jesus never turned anyone away. And because of our church's approach to ministry and dealing with the unsaved, we have one of the fastest's and largest growing church's in southeastern Virginia.

So you keep right on with what you're doing and keep the faith, cause we're all in this together!!
Donnie

COOL CHURCH
Newsletter_26
Subject: First Presbyterian Church, Concordia, KS
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "M Yanik"

Hi, I am the pastor of a cool church!
First Presbyterian Church,
Concordia, KS!

COMMENT
Newsletter_26
Subject: About being A Cookie Cut To Size.
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
From: "Wilson"

Dear Bruce, As with Jesus' time, our generation has also our own blend of Pharisees and self-righteous people. It really cause me to believe that such attitude towards Christians are outright un-Christian in nature and basically threw the very basic of God's love out of the window.

God would rather us to be a warm blooded Christians, not just some Christians who are holed up in groups and judge other people who may be more open minded, who may be more approachable and who may be easier to communicate to those people who really need to know the God that Jesus represents.

It warmed my heart that your site has become something that my Lord has used to touch the hearts of people. As with Jesus who is open to everybody, who is approachable to everyone and only rebuke those who are against the very nature of being God's chosen people , we should look to Jesus as our leader in dealing with such attitude.

It really scared me that one day Jesus would disown me because of such attitude. Instead of winning souls for Him, I am actually making my fellow humans more repulsive towards him and that is the last thing I would really want to do.

David, you have done a great job. I for one like to read your views about certain shows. R-rated movies may exploit sex and violence. And sometimes it is through such acts of sex and violence that wakes us all up to the nature of human beings, that is, we are full of sin and will be prone to sin no matter what we do.

I hope you treat them like sand in shoes and shake them out. Continue to gaze upon Jesus for He is the ultimate judge and the ultimate comforter. In God's Blessings, Wilson Kriston Wong

COOL CHURCH
Newsletter_26
Subject: Lowman United Methodist Church --Check us out!
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Nancy Suffron"

David, Our church is probably a little bit of everything you described. While our denomination (Methodist) states that we are open to all, I'm sure there are people in our pews who are closed-minded and judgmental. However, I think most of us are not and would be welcoming to any who would come. I invite anyone who is looking for a Jesus-following community of believers to come journey with us as we seek the will of God for our lives.
Peace, love and grace,
Nancy Nancy Suffron
Associate Pastor
Lowman United Methodist Church
15th & Gage Topeka, Kansas 66604

COMMENT
Subject: R_Rated_Newsletter_26
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: Nonin

A friend emailed me your newletter. I can understand and relate with your experience with "religious" christians and their judgemental attitude and hurtful words. Even though I do not agree with their attitude toward you over the issue of R rated films there was some things I read from your newsletter that I did not totally agree with as well. I have seen some R rated films that had excellent stories and had a point to make to the viewer if they were paying attention, ex - "The green mile", "The Matrix", etc. These types of films when done in good taste and do not add things that did not need to be added that had nothing to do with the story are enjoyable. But you can't just sit and watch movies and TV all the time and fill your heart up with worldly scenes. The bible also states in the book of Proverbs to "guard you heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life..." I also believe that when you become a born again believer you are the house /temple of the "Holy Spirit" as the scriptures say. I also believe that what ever you engage yourself in the Holy Spirit is there with you engaging also and you can grieve the Spirit of God by the type of thing you are partaking in. If that be a movie that has a scene of witch craft, lust, ungodliness, etc, remember that He is a HOLY GOD and He considers us just as holy as Jesus by His blood and with His righteousness. We have to be aware not to corrupt our hearts and souls through the spirit of worldliness which manifest through TV and movies too. That is the also a tool of the devil as well as can be used as a tool of God, like the "OMEGA CODE" that you put down. It is a matter of the heart but we have our flesh to deal with and the devil with his demons too! We are not to be ignorant of satans devices and schemes to lure us away from the presence of God. It also is a matter of what we meditate on, God's goodness and His Word, or what we saw on a movie or TV or a dirty joke we heard. We have to decide what we value most our flesh and its unholy desires or intimacy with God. I enjoy watching TV or a movie sometimes but I have noticed when I get filled with to much of it I become drained spiritually, carnal minded and it kills my desire for God. There needs to be moderation in our life and balance for all things. You really must possess wisdom and allow the holy spirit to guide you in what is ok to watch.
Be Blessed In Christ

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