Tag Archives: Sacred Secular

Lost; The End Review

I haven’t talked about Lost much on here, but it is a show that I’ve watched since the very first episode, and now that it ended the way that it did, I have to comment on it. SPOILERS abound; if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on!

Ok, the main thing everyone is asking is, “Did you like the ending?” Well…that is an odd question for me. I can honestly say that I give it a 4/10…but that score requires some explaining.

First, the writers did a good job with the character arcs. They wrote a scenario that gave the audience a sense of closure without putting in much detail. So, all of our Losties wind up dead one way or another, surprise surprise, and in our world we are not sure when or where the off screen deaths took place. Take Hurley for example; we know he was the Protector for a bit, but did indeed pass away at some unspecified time and place in our future.

We know that their souls (the essence of who they were) all wound up together in what is now popularly labeled “Purgatory.”  I have to say, I think the writers kind of went PC overboard on the Universalist style church…how many religious symbols, statues, books, artwork, etc… can one crew put into one set dressing?  I would point out that to do that, but then have Christ prominently displayed outside the church in many shots, “Christian Shepherd” being the one to open the door to the “next step,” and the Christian faith of several of the Characters throughout the seasons, is an odd choice, since that is enough to get all those against the Christian faith riled up without fully committing.

Now, here’s the thing about a story…it has a plot and it has characters.  The characters are there to further a plot and to enrich it.  They are not the plot, they are a part of the plot, they are part of the story.  That is what I think the creators of the show either neglected to remember, or deliberately ignored in the finale.  So, the second part of this review is about the plot in general, not the characters.  The plot was, for all intents and purposes, completely ignored.  Think about it; we know absolutely nothing about the island or the surrounding mysteries.

We don’t know what the light is, energy of some sort, perhaps tied to spirituality, perhaps not.  We don’t know who first populated the island, who the “mother” of Jacob and “Esau” was and why we should believe anything she’d say (or her nutty sons), who built the “plug” that keeps the energy in, why certain people can see dead people, why Walt could control the island off and on the island, why did Kate see a black horse, why did the smoke beastie peer into people’s souls for no ultimate apparent reason, and on and on and on…  The island was the main setting, and the main plot device, and it was completely neglected during the finale.

Look, I like good books, movies, and tv shows that make people think and ask questions…so a lot of people really liked the ending.  But, here’s the thing…I know about the afterlife, I know about spirituality, I know about the love of a group of people, and friendship, and adventure.  I don’t need some vague reference to what happens after someone dies.  I was hooked on the show because of the mystery of the island, not the mystery of the humans on the island except as it pertained to the island itself.  I love character driven shows too; but the plot is what needs to be advanced through the advancement of the characters.  To me, the writers did a fine job on the characters, and a bad job on the plot.

Could this be for future profits and storytelling?  I do hope for future storytelling, or answers.  The writers did a bang-up job setting a scene and a world full of possibility as far as the island is concerned, they just didn’t give any answers in this series.

To be fair, I’ve seen many criticisms of the show, or aspects of the show, that are based on people just not thinking things through (surprise surprise).  For example; no, Jack did not just dream the whole island and all the people up; it really happened.  The rules put in place that people are nitpicking; who could and could not leave the island, who could come to the island, were set in place by Jacob (remember the game Jake and his brother were playing, and the brother told him someday Jake could make up his own rules for his own game?  Jake used the island to do just that). Purgatory was transcendent, and that is why they could all be there at the same time.  Jake picked who he did because they had issues to deal with and needed a life change anyway, so he brought ‘em there for his own ends, but also to try to get them to change, etc… etc…

So, there ya have it.  I’m glad I watched the show, didn’t love the ending but have my reasons why.

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Doctor Who review; The Eleventh Hour…

This is the latest eppy of Doctor Who to air (in the US, that is), and also the first to feature the new Doctor.  This is the Eleventh Doctor (and we won’t mention Ten… *sob*), and he is played by Matt Smith.  Other “firsts” in this eppy?  The unveiling of the new TARDIS, both the outside and inside got a bit of renovation, a new companion (Amy Pond), a new sonic screwdriver, and this ep is also the first with Steven Moffat at the helm instead of RTD.

As always on the Christian Scribbler, I look into any religious implications, or discussions that arise from the actors, the writers, the script, the directors, etc… This new incarnation of Doctor Who seems it will also set up nicely for me to comment upon from time to time.  With Moffat as the showrunner, will we see as much of the Doctor’s Messiah complex?  I dunno, but we already have religious/spiritual implications creeping into the show.

A quick summary of the ep follows, with mild spoilers, and then I’d touch upon the religious bit.  Ok, Eleventh Hour sets up a plot line to introduce us to all the new stuff in Doctor Who, so we have a basic episode with a basic alien baddie.  We meet Amy Pond as a young girl who has a suspicious crack in her bedroom wall.  It is a creepy crack to be sure, and we are left to no other conclusion than the Doctor is directly involved.  Said Doctor, in his newly regenerated body, crashes the TARDIS in Amy’s back yard.

One of the funniest moments in the show ensues as Eleven tries to figure out his favorite food…MAJOR SPOILER…fish fingers and custard. hahaha…Anywho, we also find out the alien baddie of the week is; “prisoner zero.”  The Doc has to take off for a bit and promises to return in five minutes in the TARDIS…twelve years later he does manage a return and we get to meet Amy again.  Teaming up with various extras results in Eleven and his human helpers saving the day in a basic Who plot carried out very well.  Another standout scene was a montage of all the previous Doctors (including Ten…*sob*) leading up to Eleven.

So, my opinion?  Matt Smith did the role proud and I will happily tune in every week.  I really enjoyed Amy’s character  as well (played by Karen Gillan), and she seems like the perfect companion for The Doctor.  The new control room for the TARDIS is going to take some getting used to; I liked the organic feel to Nine and Ten’s TARDIS a bit better.  I also realized after watching all the Tennant specials and this episode, that the changes to the show were needed to advance the storyline past the Rose/Nine&Ten romance subplot.  I’m a fan who really enjoyed the romance aspect, and am also glad they found a way to move the story on now.

Anything really negative?  No, I just hope that Smith relaxes into the role and makes it his own…I don’t know his acting well enough to tell if the manic edge to Eleven was a deliberate overlap in the transition from Ten to Eleven, or he’s trying too hard to match Tennant, or that’s simply his acting style.  I hope that there is unifying storyline through the season, as in seasons past, and that all the writers are on the same page as to where to take the Doctor as far as character goes.  And I would absolutely love a TARDIS centered episode or two…or three..or…

As to the religious aspect, once more, it can’t be helped: the theme of the Doctor arriving in the nick of time, as if it was arranged and orchestrated by a higher power was definitely there.  In fact, attention was drawn to it by having the child-version of Amy Pond praying at the very beginning of the show for help with the crack in her wall; and what a blatant prayer it was with kneeling and prayerful hands and everything ;).  The perhaps (atheist) dig of having her pray to Santa instead of God is easily overlooked by the underlying point; her prayer was answered regardless (she was a little kid too, and these misunderstandings do happen)…perhaps she’s Roman Catholic and was indeed seeking Saint Nick’s aid?

For readers just joining in on my Doctor Who discussions, I’ve blogged about the interesting themes I see in Doctor Who, esp. when those themes that are religious in nature are coming from atheist writers; for those blogs that will help explain my interest and where I’m coming from in my reviews go here:  Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 1 and Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 2

Overall?  Two thumbs up; like the new Doc and companion and am looking forward to all the new episodes!

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Breaking Benjamin interview…

For those of my readers interested in delving into the minds of Ben and Chad of Breaking Benjamin a bit more, there’s a good interview to listen to.  It is broken down into parts, so you can pick and choose topics if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing.  They both talk about spiritual stuff, Chad more than Ben, no surprise as Chad is really open about his beliefs. Click here for the link. *ETA: Listen in, the site that had the interview has now taken down all their archives so this interview is no longer available.

Interesting bits; Chad backs up the fact that he’s a Christian, and his feelings about following God…also his feelings about how abused drummers are (lol).  He also makes an interesting comment about not really knowing Ben’s faith either, because it is a private thing.  For Ben’s part, the interview focuses on his fight with alcoholism, but he talks (briefly) in general about God, and won’t come out and talk about songs like “Without You,” again, perhaps he feels it is a private thing, as well as his rule about not telling what a song is about so that fans can read into it what they like.

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Torchwood; Children of Earth. My thoughts…

So, during the normal US seasons of Doctor Who I add my thoughts on the eppy’s quite regularly, but during the hiatus I apparently have to fill some space with a brief Spoiler-filled discussion of Torchwood‘s five part miniseries; Children of Earth.  I didn’t like it.  Pretty much that’s it.  Heh.  No, really, there were aspects of the plot that I literally laughed outright when they hit me just right, and that was not the intention of the writers, I’m sure.

If any of you have read my Doctor Who articles, you know I’m amused and intrigued, as a Christian (and a conservative) , when some of the atheistic writers (such as RTD) throw in religious references and such…well, this time it wasn’t so much a religious aspect that got me laughing, but rather a political one.

Really simplified version of the plot; Aliens want some of earth’s children.  The Aliens are using the kids in a symbiotic manner that gives them a high; yes, a drug high.  The aliens can apparently kill every human on the face of the earth (which is never really even established), but are willing to trade earth’s overall safety for 10% of the children of Earth.  Britain’s gov’t is covering up the facts, and they come to a point of sending the military out to take their populace’s share of the children by force.  Captain Jack is at first pursued by the gov’t, not to help, but so that they can kill him if they can, and if not, so they can contain him.  Of course, that doesn’t happen; Jack is freed, Ianto gets killed by the aliens and in turn…Jack kills his own grandson to stop the aliens from taking the children or killing off humanity.  Yes, yes, RTD’s fingerprints are all over this ‘un.

So, I have to mention that RTD was interviewed about the plot and one thing he mentioned was that this is like the war on terrorism…no, not that he is in support of the war, but rather that our soldiers are  basically over there fighting, doing who knows what to who knows who…hmmm…yeah, completely missed that intention (in fact I agreed with the bloke that labeled the aliens terrorists).  What kept running through my mind was; This has got to be a big advertisement for the Second Amendment of the US constitution!  For those of you who don’t know, that’s the one talking about the right of the populace to arm themselves.

Yes, the British military is shown with automatic weapons and body armor invading civilian homes and taking their children for sacrifice…I mean, to appease the aliens.  The citizenry gets to “fight back” by running away and/or throwing things like bricks and rocks at the armed personnel…really effective.  Seriously, I was distracted to the point of not caring about the actual plot so much as laughing and pointing at the TV, loving the support of the right to bear arms.

The next thing that had me laughing out loud was when Darwinism was on full display, and it was meant to be taken negatively by the audience!  I love it, as this too seemed to be completely unintentional on the part of the writers.  So, we need to trade 10% of the world’s children.  How does the British gov’t decide which kiddies get a living death being crack for the aliens?  The dumbest 10% of the young population!  In a move that should make Darwin proud, and Hitler very happy, they go through the school records and prepare a sacrifice of the “weakest” members of the species.  Flows right along with Darwinist thought, though the writers seem to be making it a point that we should be horrified over…yet, I’m laughing…

Morally that was a wrong and evil decision.  From a Christian perspective that would never ever fly, and it is indeed horrendous.  But, from the supposed position of an atheistic Darwinist, it’d be the “right” thing to do.  Not only that but one of the “tree-hugging” members of the gov’t points out that this sacrifice…I mean trading of the Children, is actually a good thing; we get rid of 10% of the young population…think about all the disappearing carbon footprints both now and in the future!

Alright, now for general thoughts and commentary.  First, shame on Jack.  I’ve lost any respect for the character, and just with the Doctor was around to put him in his place.  Let’s not try to come up with an alternate solution to the alien dilemma, such as engineering replacement drugs for them.  Let’s not blow up the lone alien present on earth after we shoot a few rounds from two little handguns at the bullet proof glass protecting it and it doesn’t work.  Let’s not figure out how to resonate something other than a child to send a return signal (the aliens did just fine with a pair of earth-manufactured speakers oddly enough).  Let’s not ask the children for their help, or consent…No, let’s needlessly murder an innocent child that doesn’t even know what’s going on.

Was there any religious elements?  Several; a mention of someone who had once had faith, but offed themselves when they found out aliens were real because the person felt so small and insignificant.  Then there was the them of sacrifice throughout, and specifically human sacrifice.  I kept thinking of: Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech… and, 2 Kings 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. At one point Gwen brings up the Doctor and how she used to wonder why he didn’t always show up to stop the evil happenings, and how she know realizes how he must look away because of the shameful state of humanity…how wonderful for us that the real Messiah hasn’t done that.

Anywho, I’ve seen a lot better.  I also don’t know what this bodes for the future of Torchwood, nor the character of Jack Harkness…

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Music news: Creed reforming…

Got an interesting email today about one of my former favorite bands; Creed is reforming with all its original members, including bassist Brian Marshall. That means it will be Scott Stapp as lead singer, Mark Tremonti on lead guitar, Brian on bass, and Scotty P (Scott “Flip” ;) Phillips) on drums.   After Stapp got a bit “squirrelly,” and the band broke up, I quit listening to him, but followed Alter Bridge for a bit…but I always wished Mark would just sing, as I couldn’t ever really take a liking to their lead singer.

So, anywho, they are coming out with a new album and will be touring this Summer here in the US…let’s all hope that Scott got some vocal coaching, and will not a repeat of losing and almost damaging his voice every other concert.  I also hope he got whatever that was out of his system, and is firmly grounded in reality once more (hopefully without an ego).

I really do hope it all works out, as Tremonti is one of the reasons I’m taking guitar lessons (he always seemed to have so much fun and/or energy when he played…he really enjoyed it), and Creed was one of the first bands that I really listened to every part of the song; each instrument, and the lyrics as well.   They also mixed the sacred and the secular in powerful ways…Scott’s lyrics tended toward religious images and themes, yet the band was not a “Christian Band” (I wonder if that old debate will crop up again?).

Creed.com is back online with the tour dates.

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“Making the blanket fit;” via Dead Poets Society…

One of my all time favorite movies is Dead Poets Society.  It is actually one of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much, and gave it a try in the first place.  If you’ve never seen it; shame on you. ;)  On to the point; there is a scene where Keating is trying to get Todd to open up, and tap into his inner poet.  Here’s a snippet of what Todd finally comes up with:

Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
John Keating: [
some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!
Todd Anderson: Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us.

I loved the image of the blanket, because most of us have had an experience like this with something that we are trying to cover ourselves in, especially blankets.  Your feet’re cold, hands, back, even your ears…and no matter how you attempt to comfortably cover up, that blanket will not seem to fit.  You know it’s big enough, but you can’t manipulate it into the right shape to both be warm and comfortable in how you are laying.

In Todd’s attempt at self-expression he uses this imagery in connection with the truth.  To me, this connects with people and religion as well as truth.  We are always attempting to make the truth fit us, because of what we want out of it, just as with the blanket.  We kick at it and try to stretch it and shape it to our will, and it never seems to quite cover; when our backs get warm, we notice that a foot is sticking out, so we readjust the blanket…now our shoulders are draughty (or drafty for us Americans).

But, here’s the rest of the imagery added in by me:  The blanket will fit, we know it’s big enough, do you know the easiest, pain free way to get all snug and warm and wrapped up?  Ask someone for help.  The two most common people I’ve sought out with the literal blanket issue are people who actually care about my well-being; my mother and my husband (and every now and again, my brother).  It is such a relief, when one is really trying to get covered up, to simply ask, “Help me get my feet in here too…cover me up.”  The person helping easily picks up the blanket, gives it a shake and oh so casually lays it over you so that it covers.  They can do it because they are seeing the situation from a different perspective, and are standing up, thus can properly fit it, and they are in a much better position to fit it to us, without us trying to manipulate the blanket.  (If they really care for you, they’ll even mummify you on request; tucking in all the corners so the blanket won’t cause problems for you in the near future.)

So, what’s the point here?  Making the blanket fit is a lot easier if you ask for help.  The blanket of truth is God’s domain; He made you, He made the blanket, He is the Truth.  Sometimes people are struggling so hard with the truth, trying to make it do what they want it to do, it isn’t working for them, it isn’t covering what needs to be covered in their lives.  If we quit struggling, and ask our Father to help, He can pick up that blanket, give it a shake and cover us properly.

So many people try to twist the idea of God into their own shape, they try to manipulate the truth to suit them, usually so they can attempt to dismiss it; it doesn’t work.  When we finally realize that we don’t define God, that we don’t manipulate Him, or His truth, that He is indeed the great I AM, we should also realize that it means asking for His help in understanding ourselves, understanding Him, understanding the Truth, and fitting it to our lives so that we are covered, and warm.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

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Thanksgiving…

One of the very few holidays I don’t find to be inane.  The idea of thanksgiving is so fundamental to the Christian faith, the holiday makes me think on that idea, and hence, I like it.

Once we have met Christ, and have come to have faith in Him, that’s all the reason we will ever need to be thankful…it is perpetual thanksgiving!  Of course there are other things in life to be thankful for, but they pale in comparison with the thanks felt toward Christ.

Some people are alone on the holiday, but that’s ok too; true thanksgiving is beyond family, or gathering together to eat large amounts of food…only to grumble about it (and each other) usually less than an hour later.  Being alone is sometimes something to be thankful for as well…though if one knows Christ, one is never truly alone at all.

I am thankful for everyone in my life, my family; those still living, and those gone on. I’m thankful for my friends, even (most of ;) ) my college students, even you dear reader, even if I don’t know your name.  I’m thankful that even through things like sickness, there are lessons to be learned.  I’m thankful that I’ve got a full belly…that I have a car to drive, a keyboard to type on, a good book to read, that my guitar instructor knows how to give a good pep talk, that I have a favorite pair of shoes, and on it goes…everything good in life I thank God for!!

Psalm 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

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