Prince Caspian -- God's Imagination

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."
-- Psalm 20:7

One of C.S. Lewis' goals in writing the Chronicles of Narnia was to demonstrate God's amazing imagination. There are some people who think bigger than others, but God thinks ridiculously big. This ties in with the fact that God is holy. His mind isn't limited to the world as we know it because He is set apart from, or different from, the world as we know it.

Thus, the central conflict in Prince Caspian: Aslan (Lewis' representation of Christ) is omnipotent, but the Narnians struggle to trust Him as such. Another way to say this is: The Narnians are quick to become either distracted and forgetful.

The main movie poster for Prince Caspian (shown above) demonstrates such distraction. I look at that poster and I think, "Oooh, cool sword," or, "I wonder if that guy is a good fighter?" The Pevensie children's armor and weapons are particularly impressive. Then there is the grandiosity of the Telmarine castle, or the former glory of the Narnian kingdom. But all these things are only temporary. Indeed, the splendor of the Narnian kingdom had faded and crumbled by the time the chilren returned. This is purposeful so that people (and all creatures in general) will remember the ultimate purpose of all that seems impressive right now: If shiny swords or vast kingdoms are awe-inspiring, how much greater must the Creator of the universe be, who invented the molecules that make up these swords and kingdoms!

The Narnian army held the Telmarines off as long as possible, which is admirable, but ultimately Aslan only had to say a word (a roar) and the Narnian forest got up and started fighting off the Telmarines. Then, if doubt remained in the Telmarines' minds as to who was Boss, Aslan made a giant man out of water to swallow their leader. This isn't to say Aslan is good at fighting, this is to say that Aslan (Jesus Christ) has all authority over everything. Swords and horses and shields don't amount to much against the God who called these things into existence out of nothing.

We can hardly blame the Narnians for feeling intimidated by the vast, disciplined, well-equipped Telmarine army. It took many of the Narnians a thousand years to either stop trusting or forget about Aslan, while we fall in and out of trust in God several times over the course of a single day.

Another of C.S. Lewis' goals in writing the Chronicles of Narnia was to demonstrate the nearness of God's kingdom. The fact that God is apart from time, for example, is applicable to our world right now. While World War II rages all around London, Aslan opens the Pevensie children up to other lifetimes' worth of experiences.

That these children were kings and queens over Narnia doesn't demonstrate their greatness (nor should we fixate ourselves on becoming kings and queens our selves), but rather, the children's adventures in Narnia demonstrated the depth and height and width of Aslan's mind. The is no limit His imagination or His power to create because He (Jesus Christ) is God.

11th Hour -- The Toxicity of Our City

Now, what do you own, the world?
how do you own disorder... disorder?
-- System of a Down, "Toxicity"

Leonardo DiCaprio produced 11th Hour to demonstrate the ways our (American) lifestyles are straining on the environment. The first half of DiCaprio's documentary makes two basic points: (1) The Oil industry is evil, and (2) we are all going to die if we don't stop destroying the earth's ecosystems. These points seem reasonable.

DiCaprio saved the really good stuff for the documentary's second half and special features. About halfway through 11th Hour transitions from the usual environmental shpeel to offering a surprising lot of insight. In particular, Leo's interviewees dare to trace our environmental woes back to individual, personal issues (which, of course shape the direction of society as a whole). 11th Hour dares to questions our consumptive way of life -- the way of the consumer -- where consuming is an end in itself.

As an American, I have been trained by mainstream media to believe that Consumerism = Freedom. Corporate advertising has conditioned us to measure freedom according to how much we can either accumulate or consume. "I have the freedom to pursue happiness, which means I can buy a lot of stuff." This works out well for major corporations, but not so much for the environment.

However 11th Hour points out the fact that consumerism does not equal freedom (gasp). Our personal fulfillment does not depend on our ability to consume. If I accumulate a lot of things, this does not make me wealthy. "Expansion" is not synonymous with "progress." Bigger is not always better.

11th Hour very astutely points out that we work for the sake of maintaining our lifestyles while most of us don't like working so much and, much of the time, we don't like the lifestyles we're working for. An environment left in shambles is the aftermath of our misplaced priorities. We think too much about "well-having" while we should be thinking more about "well-being" (as an interviewee in the movie said).

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...


Christ's words in Matthew 6 (His Sermon on the Mount):

" Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "

It's a Wonderful Life -- The Power of Prayer

George Bailey did the best he could for as long as he could. But things eventually became too much for him. He had just misplaced a large amount of money and was all out of options. Sitting there at the bar, he prayed, not eloquently, but in earnest.

At the same time, all this friends and family were praying for him. All this prayerful supplication brought George to God's attention (represented by Gabriel).

This is a realistic portrayal of how prayer gets it done. A large amount of concerted prayer arouses power in the heavenly places.

Notice how the people of Bedford Falls pray. They seek God's help on behalf of a man they truly care about, who has spent his life looking after them.

Notice also how George Bailey prays. He says, "Dear Father in heaven, I'm not a praying man, but if you're up there and you can hear me ... [he starts crying] ... show me the way ... show me the way... " This is true prayer. The way George cries out to God for help must be sincere because, if God doesn't help him, then he doesn't know how else he's going to get help.

George's prayer here resembles Creed's song, "One Last Breath":

"Please come now, I think I'm falling,
I'm holding to all I think is safe...
It seems I found the road to nowhere,
and I'm trying to escape.
I yelled back when I heard thunder
but I'm down to one last breath
and with it let me say,
let me say...

Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking
that maybe six feet
ain't so far down..."

The 11th Hour

people growing out, growing more, packing in.

cameras watching, catching, flashing your picture.

gas filling up, draining out, smoke choking.

working more to spend more, no point in saving.

the majority getting poorer so a few can get richer.

everyone sees, everyone dies, what do we do?

The 11th Hour, Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me -- God's Superior Design

The 11th hour is a documentary narrated and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio about modern industrialization's environment abuses. Fast Food Nation is a documentary-esque story about the fast food industry and its abuse of both human and animal life. Super Size Me is the famous documentary exposing the unhealthy effects of eating too much fast food (McDonald's in particular).

According to these movies, we should to imitate the intelligent design we see nature in our eating, manufacturing and energy consumption.

One of 11th Hour's special features, "Nature's Operating Instructions," includes an interview with Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry. She points out a few ways that we should mimic the ingenuity we see in nature. Mollusks (clams and muscles), for example, use a combination of sea water and basic proteins to make an extremely hard inner shell, twice as tough as high-tech manmade ceramics. She mentions photosysthesis as well, which is the phenomenon by which plants turn sunlight into food. Spiders produce web from an organic liquid that, on a larger scale, would be much stronger than steel. While it is true that we humans have advanced our technologies significantly, this has almost always been at the expense of the environment. While natural technologies complement their surrounding ecosystems, our technologies tend to pollute and destroy the surrounding ecosystems. In particular, we depend on oil and coal to fuel our technological endeavors.

Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me expose how industrialized food production destroys both human and animal life. Fast food chains have developed ultra-efficient ways of producing meat that throw out most if not all of God's natural design. Animals are stacked on top of each other in meat factories. They are given heavy doses of antibiotics to stay alive as well as steriods so they grow "meatier." Such bio-engineering is not only inhumane, it is causing all kinds of health problems for those who eat fast food on a regular basis. These and a variety of other factors should point us toward the same conclusion: If we stay consistent with God's natural design, both we as well as our surrounding ecosystems will enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

The general consensus is: We should re-evaluate our ideas of "advancement" by taking our cues from the ingenuity that drives natural creation.

Ghost Rider

Starring Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles (the devil), Wes Bentley as Blackheart (the devil's son) and Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson (Johnny's girlfriend).

Most people would sell their soul to the devil for a few years of partying. Johnny Blaze sells his soul to save his father's life. This seems like a good idea until the devil figures out how to kill Johnny's father another way. "Farewell" says the devil. He'd be in touch.

After his father's death, Johnny makes a name for himself as the most daring stunt-biker ever. This is his way of making a living, while attempting to kill himself. See, the fact that he belongs to the devil doesn't motivate him very much to live life to the full.

Then the devil's son, Blackheart, starts getting out of hand. The most logical thing for the devil at this point is to call on the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) to kill his son. After a few run-ins with Blackheart's supernatural henchmen and (of course) after saving his girlfriend a couple of times, Ghost Rider eventually accomplishes this mission.

Most memorable quote from Ghost Rider: "My name is Leeeeeeeegion; for we are maaaaaaaaaaaany. " Blackheart quoted the demon possessed man Jesus encountered as recorded in Mark chapter 5. According to Mark, "This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones." (NIV) It makes sense that people feared this man. Thus, the makers of Ghost Rider made Blackheart look especially scary when he took on the souls of San Venganza.

The scary demon-possessed man reacts to Jesus thus: "When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!' " This makes sense because all spiritual authority belongs to Jesus. Apparently, the demons are fearing the day when Jesus will kick them to the curb.

The Ghost Rider defeats Blackheart using his Penance Stare. The Penance Stare is Ghost Rider's tool for turning evildoers' deeds against them, making them feel the pain of every wrongdoing they have ever inflicted on others. This is an appropriate portrayal of sin. Sin is unfathomably horrific; it is eternally destructive. Since every person sins, therefore everyone carries around an incomprehensible rottenness, the seed of death. Sin must be a drastically terrible thing if the death of God's Son was needed to atone for it. But Jesus won. Indeed, the forces of evil cower at His feet (as the legion of demons mentioned in Mark chapter 5).

This makes me wonder, how we average people resist evil? Americans might vote for better candidates, that is, if the American political machine didn't grind them up first. We might rally together against the unjust wars that our government is waging... but these wars are decided by people who obtained their offices through a (supposedly) democratic system. We might purchase vehicles that use something besides petroleum, but petroleum companies are suffocating every feasible alternative before it becomes available to the general public.

Resistance to evil is good in itself. Resisting evil is especially good when it leads us to depend on Jesus Christ. Christ came to Earth to overwhelm evil for all who trust Him to do this. Evil falls down at His feet and begs Him for mercy... once we get to know Him this will not surprise us.

The answer to all evil in a nutshell: The Gospel.

Jem -- "They"

Who made up all the rules?
We follow them like fools
Believe them to be true
Don't care to think them through

Because we humans have a limited perspective we can't help taking a lot of things for granted. In particular, we can't help but buy into a lot of self-destructive lies. We will continue to live within the confines of these lies until someone liberates us from them.

We do a lot more than just agree with some things that are not true... our entire lives are shaped by various falsehoods. Indeed, God built us in such a way that, when we believe something, it shapes our entire lives, mind, body and soul.

But there is one particular Way to learn and live better, that is, to know Jesus Christ. Jesus walks alongside us, un-teaching and then re-teaching us so we might think with a heavenly perspective.

Christ visited planet Earth to teach people how to live freely. He came to bring eternally deep healing, liberation through death to self and unimaginable fullness of life.

It makes sense that God, being omniscient, has a better perspective on all the issues we fail to acknowledge. We should trust His judgment.

Truly, there is no substitute for the enlightening, freeing, strengthening, encouraging presence of God's Spirit.


The message that Jem is trying to convey through the song "They" is, " Ignorance oppresses us and our children." The fallacy here is that education does not equal freed living or any kind of productive wisdom. Head knowledge in itself is severely limited; intelligence is not a virtue. Whereas virtues such as generosity, grace, honesty, and selflessness are holding the world together, intelligence is a mere tool that can be utilized for either good or evil purposes.

System of a Down -- Question!

From System of a Down's Mezmerize album
Chorus from the song "Question!":

Do we, do we know
when we fly...
when we, when we go...
do we die?

Thinking about life after death is useful for life right now.

If we are convinced that "what we do in this life echos in eternity" (Gladiator), then we will live better right now.

In particular, our mortality should be a constant source of realistic, humbling perspective.

The fact that we will die should inspire us to take care of business with God.

2001: A Space Odyssey -- Monkeys to Men

I watched about 30 minutes of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey last night before I couldn't hold my eyes open any more.

Initial observation: this movie (made in 1968) is a lot slower than what I'm used to (now 40 years later). Audiences in the 60's must have had a more tenacious attention span than we do nowadays.

My initial reaction to the famous ape scene at the beginning of Space Odyssey was "Oh pshh, evolution... whatever." Then I realized something else: We are trained by modern science to assume that humanity is advancing, or improving, or (dare i say it?) evolving... both physically and mentally. However, this is not necessarily true.

While it is true that we have more advanced gadgets than ever, this does not mean that we ourselves are improving. For example, there are now vast amounts of information available no further than a mouse-click away... still, that doesn't necessarily mean we're any smarter.

What does it mean to be "better" or "improved?" What is our gauge for personal development or advancement?

Judging by the aforementioned ape scene, Stanley Kubrick's point of reference for human advancement, or the thing that sets certain apes apart from other animals, is the ability to develop and use tools. But this is a misleading standard of measurement. While resourcefulness and innovation is good, these things are not dependable measurements of intellectual, physical or spiritual health.

Traditional Jews, I have heard, perceive that humanity is declining from one generation to the next. In other words, children can't helping falling a little behind their fathers. Their point of reference for this would be the Old Testament (the Torah), which illustrates a gradual degeneration from each father to his son, and from that son to his sons, and so on. As a Christ-follower I agree completely.

It is obviously true that children inherit the sins of their fathers. A father's vice turns into a life-crippling sin (or "destructive habit," if you will) for his son. Abraham, for example, the first Jew ever, had a habit of telling lies to get himself out of sticky situations. This vice goes on to plague his descendants with increasing intensity as time goes on.

Throughout the Old Testament the Hebrews become more and more distant from Yahweh. He doesn't seem as readily available to the Jews of David's time, for example, as He was to the original Patrons, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I gather that these original patrons didn't think it odd to hear God's voice on a semi-regular basis, whereas seeing visions and dreaming dreams became increasingly rare for their posterity.

There is little doubt in my mind that humanity started off with more physical, intellectual and spiritual prowess than we have the ability to appreciate these days. A few people these days have especially good genes, but that's nothing compared to the genes that God gave Adam and Eve. And this makes sense, if we view humanity realistically, on a gradual decline. This coincides with the general state of the universe, which is heading away from order toward chaos (refer to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, my favorite by the way).

There's a logical explanation for the unavoidable degradation of all things: Everything is corrupted by spiritual impurity (sin). Since the original humans, this spiritual impurity has made human living into a gradual dying. Everything was at peace, a perfect equilibrium, until something foreign tainted all existence as we know it. Thus sin has affected each generation, gradually twisting and killing us on the most basic level.

Consider DNA :
(I'm not a PhD in cellular biology, mind you, but I've picked up a few things here and there)

I have heard people complain that Bible doesn't explain how Adam and Eve's children could have procreated apart from having sexual relations with each other (God spoke the whole universe into existence and then forgets this little oversight). There is an interesting possibility here that has to do with Adam and Eve's almost perfect DNA versus ours nowadays, which (i have heard) is full of defects (which lead to all kinds of undesirable imperfections).

I have heard that siblings should not have sex with each other because of all the deformities their children would have (either that, or because this is a Judeo-Christian moral standard that most people take for granted). I have also heard that everyone's DNA has a lot of flaws, however many if not most of these flaws never surface. The chances of these defects surfacing increases dramatically when two closely related DNA's overlap (when related people's conceive a child). But what if two people (the children of Adam and Eve) had almost perfect DNA? If this were the case, then defective children would not be an issue. Notice that it's not until later that God makes explicit laws forbidding sex between closely related people (Leviticus 18).

Humanity is decaying spiritually, therefore every other aspect of human existence is also decaying (mental and physical). What or Who might correct this downward spiraling momentum? We are imperfect people giving birth to children who are even more imperfect. We need reconciliation. We need healing at most fundamental level of our existence: our souls.

The Da Vinci Code and The Fountain -- Misunderstanding Sin

"It is finished." -- Jesus Christ (John 19:30)

Two movies, The Da Vinci Code and The Fountain, depict clergymen whipping themselves in an attempt to atone for their own sin:

Silas (Paul Bettany) in The Da Vinci Code

and the Grand Inquisitor Silecio (Stephen McHattie) in The Fountain.

Supposedly they are both men of the church. But self-flagellation is a gross misrepresentation of Christ's work on several levels. Enduring the pain and humiliation of the cross was the method by which He atoned for humanity's sin, an accomplishment that we could never have carried out ourselves. He has already made up for our spiritual shortcomings; we would honor Him to the extent that we embrace this fact.

Any man who tears at himself to atone for his sin demonstrates, first of all, a gross misunderstanding of sin. Even worse, such religiosity implies that Christ's redemptive work is not finished, which is the same as calling Him a liar (refer to aforementioned quote). It is also highly presumptuous for any man to think he can make God happy by beating himself up.

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp demonstrates a lot of truth about the religious vs. anti-religious debate. Since this documentary depicts the lifestyle of religious people, it gives a glimpse into the dangers of buying into religion. Jesus Camp also demonstrates some of the myths that religious nay-sayers buy into without realizing it.

Like most people in the world, Jesus Camp's producers would like to think they're the only objective thinkers in the world. But this is impossible. Here's a shocking truth: No regular human being has ever been able to think with flawless objectivity. Yes that includes you, whether or not you call yourself "religious." It is healthy as well as realistic to acknowledge this. Here, I'll go on record acknowledging this myself: "I, Patrick Roberts, am not objective. Everything I think, say and write is affected by my worldview." There... now can you say this?

Jesus Camp makes two very subjective statements:

1.) Christian parents in America are evil because they train their children to think like they do.

2.) Americans will be free and prosperous to the extent that the U.S. government is unaffected by overtly Christian values.

Keep in mind that there is a good way to be unreasonably subjective. For example, only unreasonable subjective people would sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Also, it takes an unreasonable person to speak out against wrongdoing or to resist the average mob-mentality. The highest quality people in mankind's history have been those who have held onto a few, basic principles that people nowadays would consider "subjective."

Some of the review-snippets from the front of my Jesus Camp DVD are: "Riveting" (the Washington Post), "Provocative" (Chicago Tribune), "Eye-opening" (USA Today) and "Startling" (New York Times). Without looking at the rest of whatever these well-to-do publications wrote about Jesus Camp, my first impression is that these people must be really gullible. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that Jesus Camp only includes material that complements a mainstream interpretation of Christian-Pentecostal subculture (back to that that objective vs. subjective issue).

It is hard for me to take Jesus Camp seriously is because the kids in that movie don't seem that bad. They all appear to be well-spoken, well-behaved and they seem to think a lot more than the average young person. For example, their parents teach them why creationism makes sense and why abortion is bad. As far as I can tell, they have a lot more going for them than the average over-privileged-video-gaming-consumer zombie or underprivileged-gun-toting gangster.

These children, who were so unfortunately born into Christian families, seem to enjoy a high quality of life back at home... I couldn't help wondering, "So what's the problem?" These parents are amazingly dedicated to raising their kids the best way they know how... so what are the makers of Jesus Camp complaining about?

The movie would like to make the statement that Christian parents are brainwashing their children into thinking that abortion is bad, the ozone layer isn't such a big deal and that the Republican party is synonymous with Christianity. I didn't hear anyone in the movie mention the Republican party, but I guess any of these things might come up over dinner, right?

The makers of Jesus Camp seemed to think it scandalous that the values of these parents are rubbing off on their children. My reaction to this observation is: Duh! This will happen regardless of whether parents are religious or anti-religious. Thus, it is vital that parents check themselves and make sure their quality of life is something they want to pass on to their children.

It's no accident, for example, that the offspring of divorced parents are more likely to sleep around whenever they feel like it and carry around a skewed self-image. Then again, parents who stick together will bless their children with a healthier self-image.

This is why I was impressed with the parents in Jesus Camp... they are making a deliberate effort to raise their kids. The world would be a better place if more parents acknowledged the fact that who they are will rub off on who their children grow up to be.


According to Jesus Camp, buying into manmade religion is also dangerous. While this is old news, false religion continues to proliferate because it is more subtle than most people realize. For example, there are many who religiously avoid religion.

Religious-think is dangerous because it depends on men, who are undependable. The most dangerous aspect of manmade religion is: It tricks people into thinking they've taken care of business with God while, in reality, the opposite is true.


I mentioned that there has never been a regular human being who could think objectively. However, if there was a Man who was not entirely regular, who lived without sin, for example, and could therefore think and speak apart from all that hinders an average person's judgement, such a Man would only have to speak His mind to express absolute, objective truth. If there was such a Man, we should listen to Him as He would be the greatest Source of authoritative, dependable Guidance we could ever ask for.

Iron Man's New Heart

"I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh," (Ezekiel 11:19)

Like most people, Tony Stark's first priority was himself. However the combined force of nearly dying and then benefiting from another man's self-sacrifice inspires Him to start risking his life for other people.

During one fateful trip into Afghanistan, terrorists attack Stark's Humvee caravan and take him prisoner. In the process, one of His own weapons explodes near him, embedding a handful of shrapnel into his torso. This shrapnel should have killed Stark as it traveled through his blood stream to his heart, however a kindhearted doctor rigs together a magnetic devise that augments his heart while keeping the shrapnel away. Thus Tony the chance to create another, less cumbersome devise that he inserts directly into his chest (where his heart should be) to power and protect his blood flow indefinitely. Tony's "new heart" is symbolic of a monumental change in his life direction.

As Tony and his doctor friend are escaping from the terrorists' cave, the doctor sacrifices himself for Stark's sake. The doctor's last words are, "Don't waste your life." This as well as the realization that his his weapons are supporting gross injustice inspire Tony to use his engineering skills to defend the people he had (unknowingly) been oppressing.

Changing from self-centered to others-centered requires a monumental change of heart. Most people would even admit that spending one's life in the service of others is a good thing, but they still won't live like this because it is too unnatural. Transitioning to an other-centered lifestyle requires drastic heart-transformation.

Take Tony Stark, for example: only after being blasted by one of his own missiles did he start caring about other people. He wasn't perfect, obviously, but his general life-direction had turned around 180 degrees from before. As long Tony Stark and people like him maintain their others-centered momentum, they will inevitably work out the rest of their distracting little flaws.

Iron Man, by the way, is an awesome super-hero flick. It stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (who is also Iron Man), Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes (Stark's military liaison), Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane (the deceitful chairman of Stark Industries) and Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia 'Pepper' Potts (Stark's assistant).

Event Horizon

"if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." (Matthew 5:30)

(warning: plot spoilers)

By the time 2040 rolls around, we will at long last be able to create artificial wormholes so we can travel instantly to other galaxies. The Event Horizon is the first spaceship equipped for this purpose. And the ship makes its first trans-galaxy jump successfully, only the artificial wormhole doesn't transport the crew to the galaxy they were expecting... it took them directly into hell (literally).

After seven years everyone is pretty sure they'll never hear from the Event Horizon again, that is, until someone picks up a distress signal from somewhere in the vicinity of Neptune. Enter the rescue vessel named "Lewis and Clark," led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne). Miller and his crew are assigned to look into this signal and take along the Event Horizon's designer, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), who will explain to the crew in the vaguest language possible what they are getting themselves into.

They find the ship without too much trouble. Everyone that was on the ship is now dead, of course. It turns out that the ship deliberately killed them after it was transformed by its sojourn in hell into a living/dead instrument for evil. This is bad news for the crew of the Lewis and Clark, as the ship proceeds to either kill or tear the eyes out of every one who boards her.

Luckily the ship is divided into two main compartments: the crew resides in the front section of the ship while the rear section, separated by a long stretch of corridors, contains the wormhole-jumping apparatus. This design is purposeful so that, in case the ship were to become a killing instrument of Satan, the crew would have the option of blowing apart the middle section, thereby making the living quarters a floating life-pod for another rescue vessel to find. The crew ends up using explosives to separate the front section from the rear, saving themselves from the possessed wormhole-drive. About half of them make it out alive.

This reminds me of the aforementioned quote, in which Jesus illustrates the drastic view we should have toward evil, or sin. It worked out that, about two thousand years later, in the dawn of the space age, Jesus' command saves half of the Lewis and Clark's crew.

Into the Wild

Based on a true story/the book by Jon Krakauer, directed by Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch as Chris McCandless, Marcia Gay Harden as Chris' mom, William Hurt as Chris's father, Jena Malone as Carine McCandless (Chris' sister), Vince Vaughn as Wayne Westerberg (the farmer who gets arrested), Kristen Stewart as Tracy Tatro (girl who crushes on Chris) and Catherine Keener as Jan Burres (hippie lady).

(warning: plot spoilers)

Chris McCandless desires a more meaningful purpose for living than seeking comfort for comfort's sake. Therefore, to escape everything that might lull him into embracing the materialistic status quo, he sets out to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness.

Chris hitchhikes for about a year until he finally makes it to Alaska. Most everyone he runs into along the way takes an immediate liking to him. Hippies and farmers offer him jobs. A talented young singer falls in love with him. One retired man even offers to adopt him. These were all good options, but he refuses to stray from his course.

Chris enlivens the people he runs into by challenging their worldviews. His acquaintances can't help being infected by his tenacious hope and sense of adventure. His words affect people powerfully person's because he doesn't just talk about living free, he active seeks living free.

Chris McCandless was young and inexperienced, but he didn't let that stop him. He didn't have all the answers, but he knew at least that there was more purpose for living than what had been handed to him. Unfortunately, his mission kills him before he gets the chance to mature his life-vision. He finds out just before his premature and lonely death in the Alaskan wilderness that he had missed something. Judging by the statement he writes in the margins of one of his books, "Happiness of only real with shared," his final regret is dying alone.

Another unreconciled chapter in McCandless's life was his relationship with his parents. From this perspective, it would seem that his adventurous pursuits were only a cover for his unwillingness to deal with his relational problems. But I don't fault him for his, as he had just moved out of his parents' house and could hardly be expected to know what
being reconciled or "living free" really means. Spending time away from his parents gave him the chance to develop his own identity and equip him for dealing with that relational brokenness. It just so happens that he didn't survive long enough to follow through with this.

He ran away from home, which probably worried his parents to death; but he was practically still a kid... what do you expect?

Chris McCandless caught a vision for his life, which he ran after full speed ahead. This is certainly not something to regret. He had the courage to put his life-purpose to the test and therefore learned more and experienced a fuller life in his two years of wandering than most people ever learn or experience. Practically speaking, if we follow Christ, we should lead a similar quality of life as McCandless, challenging and inspiring the people around us. We should also learn by doing rather than by theorizing.

We should admire the natural universe as God created it and we should embrace a spirit of adventure, but main thing is still God's Big Picture. And the best way to know about God's Big Picture is by learning from God's Spirit directly. All people were created to fulfill some purpose within God's kingdom, which includes admiring God for His creative ability, working, playing, fellowshipping with people and fellowshipping with Jesus Christ (God among us).

Obviously Chris McCandless didn't spend his life vain, as his story continues to inspire people to reexamine their priorities. He did his best with the limited time he had, but his shifting convictions indicate that his purpose for wandering still needed some major revisions. I suspect that his convictions were shifting in a big way, especially as during his final days, cold and alone in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness.

Chris McCandless sought solitude, adventure and untainted nature to the point that he died for this pursuit. However, lying there in his cold bus, starving to death, he suspected that he had overlooked something. If he had more time, he might have explored this Something a little more.