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 April 3, 2002

DYAN CANNON
Subject: Thank You
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
From: Frank

An Inspiration!

LIKE MOST THINGS, IT'S WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT
Subject: Dungeons and Dragons
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
From: Steve

David- I read your tragic-sounding final statement in your movie report about dreading being raked over the coals about not throwing rocks at D&D. I have not seen the movie, but I wanted to give you some hope and commisseration.

I have designed and led D&D gaming sessions now about monthly for almost 20 years. My wife and I get together to play with three other Christian couples who have a shared artistic/dramatic bent and have a marvellous time. We have found that the so-called "geeky teenager" game unravels much more richly as adults. The game's genre is uniquely about cooperating together on common goals, solving puzzles, coming to eachother's rescues, role-playing outrageous or real-life scenarios, and thinking on our feet in a way that few other games allow. Coming together for game playing is not an unusual pastime for Christians; but in how many games do you all work together as a team for the benefit of everyone, where teamwork, creative problem solving, collaboration, and innovation is rewarded? It is the antithesis of the Survivor/Weakest Link phenomenon, and actually allows for some of the "one-anothering" admonishions in the New Testament to happen during a game. Everybody wins or loses together.

The makers of the game have indeed set up a mythos of deities loosely based upon pagan myths and ancient stories. Magic exists, and your character may be of a type that can cast spells. For us, in no way has this ever smacked of the occult or made any of us even the slightest bit interested in it. Players don't cast spells, the characters do. It's not real, or even acted out. We have easily minimized this aspect of the game... but it is after all FANTASY in the Tolkien / C.S. Lewis / King Arthur / Lloyd Alexander / Renaissance Fair / Sleeping Beauty vein.

I suppose there is a way kids could get to the occult from the game, but is it really in any more a directed fashion than video games, books, movies, or other avenues? I suppose it can be abused like many other things - but I feel it has an overly bad reputation among Christians, and I have encountered that. When the game was on its rise in popularity in the early 80's, my denomination's weekly magazine investigated, dissected, and playtested the game and rendered it harmless but suggested adult supervision and guidance. There are some people for which any type of role-playing is probably not recommended.

I wonder what is really more damaging to relationships and fellowship... cooperating together and brainstorming solutions and doing creative puzzles while playing a game like D&D or playing Monopoly where the object is to get rich while bilking your so-called friends. More Monopoly games seem to end in fights, hurt feelings, and trash-talking than not. In this way, we have found that D&D is a wonderful party game where everyone works together and has a good time.

The game has its potential problems, but that is only if you cannot distiguish form from content.
Steve

THOUGHTS ON THE FILM
Subject: Final_Fantasy
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
From: Jase

A very interesting Film indeed. At first I was stunned to see the level of detail in the imagery, to the degree of reality to the Human characters. Then, for a couple of Days after my experience (I call it an experience, not a viewing) I was haunted by a feeling of melancholy and a deep inner pain that I still find hard to explain, or understand.

The core of this result is the fact that these characters in this Film, as realistic as they are, are completely fictitious, they simply do not exist. I know that most people have felt that sense of feeling very close to a fictitious character, a cartoon or such as a child. In this film, the people are so real, you find it difficult to accept that they do not exist, and are left with a feeling of loss inside.

There are a lot of things involved here, one is that this is the closest thing we have had to simulated Humans on screen, and so we dont have the usual separation of the Actor and the Character. You feel for the character in the Film, but you have the knowledge afterwards that it was a film and not reality. With Final Fantasy, the characters are in their reality, they are not Actors, even though they do have Human Actors providing the voices, you still don't get that psychological separation. This is the core of my melancholy and I would love to know if others have had the same after effects.

There is more I would like to say on this matter, even as a form of self analysis and therapy of sorts, as I slowly work out exactly what it is that disturbed me so much about this Film.

I did love the Film and in twenty minutes from now, I will be seeing it for a second time, which is why I must stop my writing and submit this collection of thoughts right now. Thanks, hope to be back soon.
Jase

MY FAVORITE
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
From: "Brad Farrow"

GROUND HOG DAY is by far my favorite. It is about the sanctification process. The old man struggling with the new creation with in us. We are bad, but we are better today than we were yesterday. This movie is about a real jerk became a really wonderful guy. He did it by a process of trial and error at first; then he made a real effort to do the right thing. That is what the spiritual life is all about; doing the right thing in the eyes of God.
Brad Farrow

FAMILY STRENGTH AND SACRIFICE
Subject: The_Mummy_Returns
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
From: Roger

I didn't like the themes of reincarnation in the story -- but what I did like was the message sent about the value of family loyalty and even sacrifice. The willingness to risk for the sake of the one that is loved (parent for child, wife for husband) was demonstrated among a number of scenes.

TRUTH IN MITHRAS
Subject: your site mithras
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
From: Lorena

(My response are in blue -David)

David, I just visited your site about Mithras for research on the novel I'm writing at first, but a lot of the things I read got me thinking. You see, I've known about Mithras for good few years now, but my parents would never let me research anything about him without a just reason (my father is a Presbyterian minister and my mom is quite set on her Christian beliefs...which is just about anything Dad preaches about). I think I discovered why--your site got me thinking. Not that that is a bad thing, but I think my parents wanted to keep me on the 'straight and narrow' so to speak and not question my faith.

The myth surrounding Mithras, this supposed god of Truth and Light, was it basically a prophesy by the Persians proclaiming the coming of a Savior, or am I looking at this all wrong? (You are right). Also, I had read somewhere that Mithras killed the white bull so that man could live forever, (not true, it is the defeat of darkness) and then he himself was crucified in a similar fashion to Jesus (not true, Mithras is a story created from the night sky constelations) ...though Mithras 'existed' much earlier in history (not true, no such histoical person was ever thought to exist by any group). And the star that led the Magi to Bethlehem...does that have a place in the myth as well? (myth points to central truth -Jesus Christ)
Thank you, Lorena

BLASTED BY FUNDAMENTALIST
Subject: Agnostic_Pagan_Newsletter_26
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
From: Black Sunglasses

i was. after i tried to talk about the messages of redemption in "Pulp Fiction" i was blasted for watching the devi;'s work. they said if it didnt come from God, it came from the devil. I thank you and the interfaith alliance for helping realize those psycho fundamnetalists are in the minority. im 14.

DOGMA
Subject: Films that portray Christians positively
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
From: Rev. Rebecca

Believe it or not, my all time favorite is Dogma. My youth group introduced me to this one [with many blushes and apologies for the language-as if I might never have heard such things.] I alternately laughed and cried through the whole thing and we had a great discussion on the essence of faith and forgiveness.
Rev. Rebecca

Response: You go girl. -David

WHY THE DOGS
Subject: Cats_and_Dogs
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
From: Electron Bum

A little disappointing from a cat-lovers' point of view. Why are dogs always the good guys, and cats always the bad guys? Couldn't they have balanced it out with a positive cat character?

A HUMAN CHRISTIAN THAT STRUGGLES
Subject: Kristen
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
From: Todd

I caught the show once and I've been trying to catch it again for fairness, but I am always amazed at the insistence of Christians that it's gotta be "all or nothing" when faith is presented even subtly. While there've been cases of miracle conversions, touching a person's soul does not occur overnight. Even "Touched by an Angel" is seriously flawed but it gives people a reason to feel good about doing what is right and relying on faith. Kristen was shown to be working in the same types of scenarios that I face at work, and she handled herself (at least on this episode) with dignity and even humor about her own naiveté. I will not apologize for the fact that I don't scoff rudely and walk away from these types of situations either. I was glad to see a "human" Christian who "struggles" as we all do but is independent, assertive and has a personality! This episode revealed that she had to learn by experience where she did not belong... not all of us grew up in Christian homes and not all of us avoided painful sins. We need to realize that for the world to even "accept" a serious Christian on our TV's, they will have to be able to relate to her and even accept her as normal but with different values. And yes, sometimes she makes mistakes too. She also showed an excellent Christian witness by allowing a co-worker who had nowhere to stay to sleep in her bathtub. Please realize the necessity for "baby steps" here, give the show its fair shake, and be grateful we've finally made prime-time in a world of bizarre "reality" television. We were instructed to be salt and light, not hot sauce and a ray gun.

CREATED IN CHAOS
Subject: Memento
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001
From: Robert

What the movie brings out for me is the vast power of our own memories and how ruined we are without this great resource. It's fascinating to see Carrie Anne Moss's character in particular adopt a different personality each time we see her (catching on to our hero's condition). Each moment is its own little encapsulated world - or so it seems to Leonard who is unable, because of his condition, to see the big picture and so is incredibly vulnerable. This world we are treated to is strangely one-dimensional but absolutely real to the protaganist, who fervently believes he has mastered his condition, not treated to the details behind the simple one-liners he adds to his photos. The film, though told backwards, actually builds up to a great 'shock' climactic ending, which speaks volumes about our constant battle to have integrity in our own thoughts and actions and asks whether we can truly trust ourselves.

PATRONS A LITTLE OVER ZEALOUS
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001
From: Randall

I must admit, I love the web-site. It has much to offer and does so intelligently. However, perhaps it's my own faith, but some people responding to your reviews need to get out and join the rest of society. Some are sheltering their children from such ideas as (well, to put it mildly, anything non-christian), and I strongly believe children will be left with a weakened immune system because of this. Only when faith is truly an independant and informed decision among the rest of life's offerings can it truly be real. To follow God just because your parents sheltered you from the rest of the world, probably isn't the best reason.

Response: Total agreement. -David

QUITE PROFOUND
Subject: The Ninth Gate
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001
From: Marty

First, I want to say I really enjoyed your excellent site! This was the only site on this film that contained any intelligent information (from yourself and from the other posters). I think this movie was quite profound. I think it is important to note that Lucifer basically rejected the man who murdered for immortality and power, as well as the woman seeking orgiastic rituals. Instead he chose the more "average sinner". I think that Corso is closer to each of us than the other two seekers. It is all those "little sins" that add up (ripping people off, etc.). Also, unlike Balkan, who thinks that using the engravings is the solution, Corso actually passes through The Gates physically. The occult often entices people with hidden doors, symbols and secret meanings. Corso's change from normal jerk to the Chosen One happens so gradually that most viewers seem to not notice it (the way change happens in us all). Lastly, I found the girl to be very scary and unnerving, especially in those shots where she seemed to be looking into Corso's soul like a huntress.

THOUGHTS
Subject: Atlantis_The_Lost_Empire
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001
From: Chatney

I truly enjoyed "Atlantis." I have read several books "about" this fabled city and its inhabitants -- and those readings certainly helped me understand the more "pagan" concepts in this film. The issue of the crystal appears in all Atlantis stories -- and thus must be a part of any new productions that claim to investigate the same story.

Likewise, I appreaciated the strides taken to illustrate the Christian society from which the exploration team originated. They were few, but effective -- particularly Milo's reference to the book of Job.

My struggle came with the intermingling of the two worlds. The movie theoretically begins by taking one world's (Christian) view as truth, then also accepting another (Atlantean) view as truth. I know this statement sounds a bit fishy -- but consider that if Milo and his team "believe" in the crystals and spirit-goddesses, then they must have "accepted" them as true. That throws me. If there is (and I believe there is) One God, creator of all things -- then God's Truth is universal. How can both of these worlds be presented as "true" at the same time?

Responses: It's just a fairy tale weithin our culture, treat it as such. Don't try to make literal sense of it. Take it on its own terms. -David

RUDY?
Subject: Movie Newsletter 25
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001
From: "Lisa"

What about Rudy? That was a great movie

IN TOUCH WITH THE OCEAN
Subject: In God's Hand's
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001
From: Betty

You can post this comment, but not the email please. Thanks! Hey! I loved this movie. I am not a surfer and have never really liked surfing films. But, this is the first one that really caught my attention and made me think about the sport and the men that surf for a living. By the way, the only problem I had is that they did not show any women surfing, I mean even Annette F. surfed with Frankie! Anyway, there is nothing more sexier than seeing someone who needs to work hand in hand with nature in order to make a sport work. You can't get anymore in touch with the earth, in my opinion, than by being in touch with the ocean. Surfers definately have my respect. BTW, where is Matt George and the gang now? Patrick is definately a cutie.

SLAM ON CHRISTIANS -BIG PLOT HOLES -DAVE'S BROTHER
Subject: AI_Artificial_Intelligence
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001
From: Darren Darrenlives@aol.com

(My responses in blue -David)

Once again, I wander on into Hollywood Jesus, and I was curious on what you had to say on AI. I had seen the film, I gave my own review of it (on another site) but I was intrested in what HJ had to say about AI's anti-christian messages and its contradicting itself as the movie went on. (There are no anti-Christian messages in this film. It is a fairy tale. Don't take it too literal)

I am dumbfounded.

The FleshFair scene . When the character played by Bendan Gleeson quoted Jesus, didn't that even raise an eyebrow? What was the purpose of quoting Jesus? The character is set up as a sadist and something of a villian. His quote comes out of thin air. (In the Bible Satan quotes scripture all the time. Bendan is a satanic character. What are you trying to do here?) If we are to interpet the scene as a mirror of persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, or abuse/ discriminaton of other ethnic groups, then should we also interpet that Christians are sadistic hatemongers, into S&M (a band in sexual bondage type outfits plays heavy metal in the background stage) and exploitation of the media (is this a TV relaty show of the future?) ?

But that's not all what bothered me. Filmwise, the movie contradicts itself. David was "programmed" for unconditional love and to feel other emotions. At the FleshFair, it seems other Mechas can do the same to some extent. Since David was "the first" to feel such emotion, and was "special", I felt Spielberg was trying foolheartedly to manipulate the audience. If that were not enough, Joe and David escape all too easily. How? The crowd, after having such glee in destroying mechas, now have 100% a change of heart. I did read this as that Joe and David looked more 'human' than the torn up mechas in the cages. (and did 'real' people ever get mistaken for mechas?) (This is a fairy tale, a story, view it from that perspective. This is a modern retelling of Pinochio. Shall we also wonder about the the possibility of a wooden puppet becoming a real boy? Or, should we put on other glasses?)

As for is visual cities, one was very much like "Blade Runner" and/ or one of the "Batman" films. We did not get to see the city all that much, nor did we see much of the submerged Manhattan. This was a disappointment.

But what about that submerged Manhattan? Later on, when the aliens show up (These are not aliens -they are advanced mechas), they only found David and Teddy frozen in ice. They say he (and perhaps Teddy) are the only testimony that the human race was alive. I found this odd. There was at least a good thirty Davids and possible robot girls; furthermore, since this building was the home of a scientist, (now changed from a respected thinker and inventor to a self obsessed mad scientist within a handful of years. Is his 'wife' the robot he showed at the beginning of the film?) you would think Manhattan- what was left of it- would be a "home" for Mechas. Also, there were cyrogenics depicted early in the film. It would not be a stretch to say that some humans survived via cryo freezing. (Your approach is too literal, this is a fairy tale)

Also, God said he would never flood the entire Earth again. (see "WaterWorld" for more submerged cities) (Your approach is too literal, this is a fairy tale)

Keep in mind that the Blue Fairy (underwater) is indeed symbolic of not just the Geopetto tale, but is, in a context, as you pointed out, a symbol for an angel.

Now, his faith wasn't shaken. When the Blue Angel stature busts, the look of shock is correct. But, wait a moment. Aliens (These are not aliens -they are advanced mechas) come and rescued him. Aliens projected a holographic Blue Fairy to gain his trust (These are not aliens -they are advanced mechas). Aliens tried to clone or genetically engineer humans to bring them back to life (These are not aliens -they are advanced mechas).

Aliens from outer space are depicted as "god", gods or god-like. And you don't have a problem with this? (oh, good grief -you are so very off track. These are not aliens -they are advanced mechas. Why do Christians misrepresent Hollywood to portray themselves as poor victims as you are doing? I mean like, what, Spielberg has some sort of agenda against you -a poor little suffering Christian? Come on. Come on).

I liked the Teddy Bear though. Funny stuff. But you forgot to mention one specific plot detail- David had gained a brother, who, after testing him in an act of rebellion and deciet, (this serves as a crucial payoff at the end of the film though) he suddenly buddies up with David. He defends David from the bullies (and David pleads foe his protection) and nearly gives his life in doing so.

Now, OK, some of you probaly think, "Oh, this guy, he Hated this movie! He is so wrong!" Wrong. I didn't hate the film. I just didn't love it. (feel free to use my name and email) Darrenlives@aol.com

WE ALL LOVEDD IT
Subject: Fight Club
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001
From: Mike

Hi,
I just watched Fight Club for the first time. It was recommended by my 15 year old daughter. My wife, daughter, and I watched it together and we all loved it. It was the best movie we have seen in years and were surprised that it got made. We agreed that it was an metaphor for the extreme materialism of our current western culture and the rebellion against it. It presented one approach (albiet a very unpleasant approach) to solving the problem. It was a viceral reminder of what we as Christians must constantly do to fight off the compulsions of the environment in which we find ourselves and to, instead, hang on tightly to the Truth

JOHNNY DEPP AND WITCHCRAFT
Subject: Sleepy hollow JOHNNY DEPP and witchcraft
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001
From: OPTICAL

Hey i came buy this site cause' im lookin' 4 the evil eye that they drew in the movie i am a witch craft i do, do spells i love johnny depp but witch's are not bad ppl there the same as every body and in the movie it touched me even know it was a movie when they killed the witchs i do wicca/witch craft i ma the leader of the coven so i know alot bout' the subject and i would like to tell u all that it isnt evil it is a spirt that u want every 1 to know bout' u, u odnt belive in god if ur a witch craft but if ur a wiccan u do but u dont worship him i want to say its not evil my great great greta great grandmother was a witch craft and she got killed but my rest of my family says its evil but i am cause' i just am its my way in the movie i belive in all that stuff i seach 4 goust so i belive its true my town is called sleepy hollow and my skool is called sleepy hollow and my road is called westley road which thats what the woods is called if u would liek to e mail me my e mail is...
hurley_freak_182@msn.com

and if u would like to IM me on AIM my s/n is...
OpticalPunx or Mrs JohnnyDepp and my wiccan name is OPTICAL!!!!!!! BLESSED BE!!
OPTICAL

MORE FAITH AFFIRMING FILMS
Subject: Newletter 25
Some more to add to your faith affirming movie list
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001
From: "The Refuge"

I have been visiting the hollywood Jesus sight for some time. Thouroghly enjoy this vital and timely entry to cyberspace. Thought i would jump into the fun. Here are a few more faith affirming movies that portry belivers in an honest and positive light. There seems to be two lists forming Faith afirming movies with postive portrals of Christians and Top Spiritually Signifigant filims eg although the Matrix is key spiritually signifigant filim it;s it is not intended to be a portrayl of Chritian faith by it's filim makers I think building a list of both is a great idea everything listed below is in the Faith afirming positive light catagory ( many of these could be in both)

"A Man called Peter' the excellent bio=pic of the life of Peter Marshall staring Richard Todd

" Sergent York" 1941 and

"Friendly Persuassion" 1956 both about Christian peacemakers wrestling with conscience and both with Gary Cooper in the same vain

"Angel and the Bad Man" 1947 another ere the Duke gets converted

Bells of St Mary,

The Bishops Wife 1947

Cabin in the Sky 1943

1940's Strange Cargo, an incredable little sleeper about a man who comes to set the captives free, Clark Cables 1st filim after Gone with the wind

Blossoms in the Dust 1941,

The Cross and the Switch Blade 1972

The Elephant Man 1980

Hoosiers 1986 a charming filim about a college basketball team

Almost an Angel 1990 an intrguing entry written directed and stared in by Paul Croc Dundee Hogan a look at a youg chritains life with a little whimsical twist

Andre Rubolov 1966, Romero,

Angels unawares the Dorthy Day Story

As an a side: Dave check out The Addiction a filim by Abel Farrea that uses vampirisim as an metaphore for sin, not for everyone. I think you'll find it interesting. Wonderful example of deliberate christian story telling with an edge. Even quotes RC Sproul. Would love to see what you think and discuss. ( you have probably seen this i never noticed it any where in Hollywood Jesus, thrilled to see Jesus of Montreal there)

Thanks to you and yours for your labour of love.
Blessings in his Grip Brad Culver

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