Made to feel

I have loved movies for as long as I can remember. I don’t know when the day came that I realized that they were more to me than just simply entertainment, but they are my favorite form of art. They speak realities about life. And they take me to a place that’s deep inside myself. That’s what art does. It opens our hearts and brings our emotions out into the light where we can experience them deeply.

Obviously, not all emotions are exactly pleasant, but I can honestly say that I have appreciated on some level every deep emotion I have ever felt in my life. Some are appreciated more when they are in the past.

I recently watched a movie called “If I Stay.” It’s a hard movie to watch, especially for someone who has lost someone close. I can’t say that it’s for everyone, but it was definitely for me. If my ratings for a movie are based on how much I cry, this one fared pretty well.

It’s about a high school girl, Mia, who is in a coma and on the verge of dying. We experience most of her life via flashbacks, as she both falls in love with a guy and chases her dream of playing the cello.

I cried most of the way through the movie. I’ve always said I was a sap because of how I cry while watching movies. What it comes down to is that I find it easy to relate to the characters portrayed on scene, whether it’s happiness, laughter or tears. And I’d like to think that’s how I relate to real people in my life, wanting to experience life through their eyes, so that I can “mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice.”

There’s no shortage of scenes in the movie that I recognize from my own life. There is an endless line of people trotting in to her room to see her laying there. I can remember that scene with Stephanie so vividly, as if my own life plays before me like a movie. The wealth of love for Stephanie and for me was (and is) incredible. The waiting room was often filled with people. Praying for me. Holding me. Loving me. Hurting for me.

One of the characters in the movie chooses to let Mia go; to let her die. And I get that. There’s an amazing peace — I believe that only can come from God — that gives you the strength to say, “Okay. It’s time.” I’m comforted by that constantly. I never look back wondering if we shouldn’t have pulled the plug. I have never regretted it, painful as it was.

And movies like this remind me of those emotions. It reminds me of the pain which proves I’m still alive. And being alive means I get to experience all that God has for me in this life. And for that, I’m thankful. (I also get to watch more movies. So that’s a bonus, too.) It might sound crazy, but I love the reminder of how deeply I can feel — and have felt.

Endings are sacred

The End in a movie

I love movies, and fall more in love with them as I get older and see more of them. And the ending is often my favorite part. It is so critical to the story. It can make or break the rest of it. I’ve seen movies that have me thinking “meh” for 2 hours, and then suddenly bring it all together at the end. And then I have to watch the movie 37 more times and I still don’t get tired of it. Other movies have me engaged all throughout, only to shatter my fascination in the final moments. I’m left feeling angry that I just wasted those hours of my life.

When I was in college, someone told me the ending of the movie The Sixth Sense before I had seen it. And right now, I suspect that most of you who have seen the movie have your mouth gaping open indignantly. “Who would do such a thing?” Who would, indeed.

Endings are sacred. They should never be told. Only experienced. You’ve been on this journey through the lives depicted on screen, and at the end, you feel their resolution or surprise or satisfaction right along with them.

I don’t think it’s only movies, either. Books are another great example. But really, the ending for any story being told is clutch.

Including our lives. So many people have followed my story since Stephanie ended up in the hospital and died soon after, but truly we all have a story that’s being told through our lives. Personally, I can’t wait to see the ending to my story. It’s going to make the whole rest of this journey so much sweeter and that much better. And I’m expecting some pretty great things, to be honest.

And still there’s more: God’s story. I can hear someone saying, “but we already know the ending to that one.” In a manner of speaking, that’s very true. Be we also know that Romeo and Juliet don’t make it to the end, and yet it’s in the details that we’re captivated. And there are a lot of details we don’t know yet. God is going to show how awesome He really is through that ending. And that’s an ending I’m glad no one can spoil for me.

Switchfoot and Habitat for Humanity

Switchfoot is touring with Relient K this fall, and they are supporting Habitat for Humanity during this endeavor by donating $1 of every ticket sold. There is a video on YouTube where the guys from Switchfoot talk about why they’re supporting Habitat for Humanity. This is another great example of how real these guys are. Also exciting is a previously unheard song playing in the background of the video. My guess is that it’s a song being prepared for their next album. I love it already.

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

IGN reports about a new movie set to come out during the Fall of 2008, named per this post. Interestingly, it will be based on a novel written by the same woman who wrote Interview with a Vampire Anne Rice. I’m very curious as to the nature of this novel and soon enough the movie. It seems as though this could be another exciting movie for Christians: obviously because it is about Jesus, but almost just as importantly because it will likely be done with the best quality.

According to Wikipedia, Anne Rice was a devout atheist, but has in recent years turned back to her Catholicism, which she left when she was 18.

In 1998, after spending most of her adult life as a self-described atheist, Rice returned to her Roman Catholic faith, which she had not practiced since she was 18. In October 2005, as she reaffirmed her Catholic faith, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would “write only for the Lord.” She called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, her first novel in this genre, the beginning of a trilogy that will chronicle the life of Jesus.

In an interview with Christianity Today, headlined “Interview with a Penitent”, Rice declared that she will never again write another vampire novel, saying; “I would never go back, not even if they say, ‘You will be financially ruined; you’ve got to write another vampire book.’ I would say no. I have no choice. I would be a fool for all eternity to turn my back on God like that.”

Beliefnet also has review of the book that calls it the Best Spiritual Book of 2005.

I love seeing someone who is considered “great” in her field by the secular majority become a Christian and use that gift for God’s glory. I am thrilled by Anne’s commitment to God, especially after being an atheist for so long, and I’m excited for this movie, as well as the apparent trilogy of books about Jesus’ life that she is in the midst of writing.

Oh! Gravity

Oh! GravityOn December 26 of this year, Switchfoot will release a new album – a short 15 months after the last album, “Nothing is Sound.” Entitled, “Oh! Gravity,” they seem set to bring us another amazing experience through music.

I have long loved Switchfoot as my favorite band – ever since before “The Legend of Chin” even arrived on the market and no one knew their name. I have met the guys and talked quite a bit with them. Never have I known a band to be so real and seem so personable. They are entirely honest in their music and never mince words or ignore their faith. In one interview, Jon tells of how their Christianity is part of who they are, as is their music. There is no separating those from each other.

With a newly designed site for the album, Switchfoot.com, talks about “Oh! Gravity,” and how it came to be made. In Jon’s own words:

And so this past summer when we set out to record a new record, we tried to put all pressures and expectations aside and focus on the music. We wanted to make a record that was honest. A record that didn’t trip on itself. A record that represented everything that we first fell in love with about music. We tried to forget about theory and pitch and timing and focus on feeling. As a result, I think that Oh! Gravity is the most honest thing we’ve ever done. I am so proud of these tunes and hope that they resonate with you like they do for us.

And go back to the reason you loved music to begin with. We took a chance on this record, not to sound selfish, but to make something for ourselves. What other people think can’t change our minds about these songs. And that’s a good feeling. Because either you believe in it or you don’t.

I am certainly always excited about a new Switchfoot record, but these guys always make me more excited about the newest one than any of the previous ones. And the biggest reason for that is their commitment to Christ and being Roaring Lambs.

Offense = PG?

I just found out about a movie today that is in theaters, but I’ve never heard about it. I wouldn’t care, except I really want to see it, but it’s an independent film, so it’s not in my area. Bummer! The movie is Facing the Giants.

More importantly (because I can watch it on DVD), I’m annoyed by the MPAA and them giving it a rating of PG. I’m putting aside the fact that it’s a Christian movie and that I want to support it for that reason, especially considering that it seems like a GOOD movie. According to this article, the rating comes because they’re concerned that the Christian story will offend people of other religions. That may very well be the case, but that doesn’t mean it should constitute a PG warning, especially considering the definition of a PG film:

The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. … The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw.

So, if I’m offended that Mufasa dies in The Lion King, should it be rated PG? Offense hardly seems an adequate justification for such a thing. But maybe that’s just me.