Friday, December 09, 2022

Take Every Thought Captive

 God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind.

Paul tells us in Romans not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. In Corinthians, he tells us to take every thought captive and to subject them to the knowledge of God. We are told to nail the decree against us to the cross. The Bible gives us knowledge of God. We have precious promises. We have been given gifts, strengths, authority, and righteousness in Christ. We use the weapons of our warfare and are told to seek God's rest. The rest of faith is how we fight. We fight by resisting the devil, the flesh, the world. We fight by resting. The world, the devil, and our own history have filled our minds with lies. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and he has given us everything necessary for life and godliness. We are seated with him in heavenly places and Christ has given us authority and power. The devil, of course, doesn't want us to know or trust in the Word sowed into our hearts. God has given us power through his precious promises. This is why we read our Bible. Each promise and Bible verse that we believe in is a living, active, powerful weapon.


There are many lying thoughts that lie against the truth. Lies like: God doesn't hear me when I pray. God doesn't love  me. God isn't helping me. I am powerless. The Bible is not true.


So, how do we take our thoughts captive?

By speaking:

Example: if we are attacked by a thought that we are old and probably will get sickly and die at age 70, or if we are attacked by thoughts that we are losers and we never overcome anything, we have to speak.


How do we speak?

We take the negative thought captive and we use the word of God spoken from our lips (and believed in our hearts) to declare the thought is false.


Example: In the name of Jesus, I declare the thought that I will die at age 70 because such and such runs in my family is a lie. I take this thought captive to the truth of the word which says with long life God will satisfy me and show me His salvation. It is written in Gods word that The Lord is my healer. I choose to believe God. God does not lie.


Another example: In the name of Jesus, I take the thought captive that I am powerless against my sin, flaw, habit, etc. I take that thought captive now and I choose to destroy it by  making it subject to Christ. All my sin and the power of sin was nailed to the cross through the victorious death of Christ. The grace of God has appeared which teaches and empowers us to conquer sin. In Christ I have victory over this thought, habit, sin, etc. I choose to believe God's word.


We can also command the thoughts to go. We have the authority to command them to go. But do it in faith.


And always, always pray and hope. Trust that something good is happening.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Pondering: A priest forever

 Pondering: The Lord as sworn and will not relent. You are a priest forever. Just like Melchizedek.

This is said twice in Scripture referring to Jesus.

So what can we understand?

First: Melchizedek is a priest forever. If Melchizedek's priesthood is forever and unchanging, so is the priesthood of Jesus. God doesn't change his mind. So...is Melchizedek still doing his priestly work? Or has he been, so to speak, retired?

Second: God has given to Jesus a name above all names and everything and everyone must bow their knees to the name of Jesus. So whatever Melchizedek is or is not doing now, he is in no way equal to Jesus.

Third: Jesus is the high priest of our confession. We have been made kings and priests in his kingdom (definitely on earth but will this continue in heaven and the New Jerusalem?) How many eternal priests are there? A high priest is over many priests. 

Fourth: No man comes to the Father but by Jesus. This is very important. The Bible doesn't say that no man comes to a good afterlife or to heaven without Christ. It says no man comes to the Father. So we have Lazarus in Abram's bosom. We also have Ezekiel speaking of those who serve the prince but never see his face forever. We have people outside the gates of New Jerusalem. We have the book of Romans and the concept that where there is no law there is no sin. Although sin and death rule over them, there is the law of their conscience. And we have Jesus speaking of those who didn't know the will of God being beaten with fewer stripes. We also have the Great Commission because even unsaved ignorant people who live by their conscience will sin against their conscience. I wonder if Melchizedek is the priest whom God has appointed over these people. But all will be Christ's and at last everything that is Christ will be God's.

Just going through a Biblical rabbit hole. We have to be careful when it comes to rabbit hole theology and doctrine.... especially if ultimately some theory doesn't matter to our own life. It's okay to ponder but our ponderings must always bow to Scripture and this is why we need to know Scripture. So many deceptions have come about in the church because someone missed a Bible verse. I remember a pretty famous preacher going on about God creating many humans in the beginning and calling their name Adam, as a collective. He decided on this because he figured the world couldn't have been so quickly populated. But he missed the verse in Genesis that says Eve was the mother of all living. And he missed the verse which states that through one man sin came to the earth. If Gid had made many Adams then did all the Adams eat the fruit? And if one of the Adams didn't eat the fruit, why didn't God use that tiny remnant? The same way of missing or ignoring or misunderstanding a Bible verse can be found in theology  where hell supposedly doesn't exist, or even in the idea that Satan represents collective human evil and tendencies. So when they say Jesus battled Satan's temptation in the wilderness, they forget the verse that the Bible says Jesus knew no sin. This kind of thing goes on in small things...like those who believe in the Sethite theory (as if two different kinds of humans could be good and bad and marrying into the wrong race of humans could create strange beings.)

Anyways...all this is to say that Scriptures are our guidelines in all our ponderings. Or else we'll wrestle scriptures to our destruction.


Friday, October 07, 2022

Mini review of Mr Harrigan's phone on Netflix

 I just saw Mr Harrigan's Phone. I really liked it. Don't expect anything horrific. Man speaking from the grave notwithstanding. It's just a good little coming-of-age YA story.  It has a quiet spirituality to it. Vengeance is such a part of Stephen King's stories and here is a story where the entire idea of vengeance is challenged. It shows the futility of getting back at evil. 

The moralism isn't mostly about phones as some reviewers are saying. Yes, phones affect human connection. But the stories he reads are about power and the ability to use money or power to avenge oneself or to fight against the evil in the world. Craig has only a dead person to help him fight against evil. In the end, he grows and accepts that the world is full of wounded people and of wounds and perhaps having the power to redress evil isn't for him to decide. It's an anti-superhero kind of story. And for Stephen King who has created so many stories about vengeance, it's almost like an old man (old writer's) admittance that he has written a lot of vengeful tales and perhaps that isn't the way to go. I really loved that relinquishing of power.  The protagonist basically noped out of being an avenger. 

I'm one of those Stephen King fans who loves his YA and or mainstream slice-of-life stories. Having seen my share of Christian movies, I'll say that it's got that Christian vibe that i could never imagine a regular evangelical writer writing. Gently religious, gently supernatural, a subtle message in a slice of life ya story. Well, in this case "slice of supernatural life" story.

I loved loved loved it. It reminded me of Nope by Jordan Peele. We come to a Stephen King story looking for bloodshed and vengeance and Stephen gives us a character who learns the guilt and futility of vengeance. Literature in the film, Scripture in the film, are all about using power, money, etc to destroy those who want to destroy us. Power makes us play God. Our protagonist has the ability to avenge and destroy evil. Writers can uphold morality or socialism or vengeance or ....not. Stephen King showing literature s power makes me feel he's challenging himself. And perhaps apologizing for making a spectacle of vengeance. In the long run, protag learns that perhaps we should not be judge, jury, executioner, and CCTV camera. And we shouldn't indulge in literature that emphasizes our  thirst for vengeance. A quiet antispectacle noping out.

The story is from the anthology is "If it bleeds" and that comes from the old journalistic adage, "if it bleeds, it leads." People like spectacle and they want bloodshed because it is more exciting. But King is very courageous in challenging his readers who expect bloodshed from him and who get bored with normalcy. I thought it was a great coming of age story for a culture that loves spectacle and revenge porn horror. It's not meant to be scary in a give me blood spectacle kind of way. Every quote in the story hints at stopping the misuse of power. Having the power to do harm is not the way to go. And if one uses power to do harm then that is what is horrific. Our hero is not in Death Note or even in Chronicle. He knows how to retain his humanity. By restraining his power... Even in the face of injustice, he's come of age. And if King's readers have come of age, they will understand that addiction to vengeance is not the way to go either.

 Interestingly, one of the subtexts of the story is malice, gloating, vengeance, forgiveness. Which was one of the things we discussed when we talked about Obadiah in last week's Bible study.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Watching: A Romance of the Little Forest

 Watching "A romance of the little forest" and wondering if the writer ever stepped aside to really study her characters. Heroine is a cute girl who bullies her way into the life of a curmudgeonly professor played by the absolutely exquisite Vin Zhang. Heroine is played by the absolutely adorable Esther Yu. 


Trouble is, though, the cute bullying pushy heroine trope can also be reframed as a stalker trope and it can be quite triggering if one has been watching way too many true crime dramas. Writer has also included another character who is bulldozing himself into hero's life. Bulldozing quiet shy person for shy person's own good is a common trope in Asian dramas but it's an unquestioned trope. The fact that heroine is determined to make the hero love her and that she does so many pushy, cruel, underhanded things is NOT cute. And showing her backstory seven episodes into the story is not going to help because if your mind is already against this girl, it's too late to quell one's annoyance with the heroine. Truth to tell, I don't know why I keep watching it. Maybe because i like both actors and i do have the ability to see the writer's intention despite how the story's playing out. 


Of course there will not be (and there has never been) a moment in any of these rom-coms where the bullying ditz apologizes for being manipulative and pushy. So the heroines often get away with selfish narcissistic aggressive behavior. When you start a story never questioning your heroine or your trope, you're bound to be unable to see how other folks outside of the trope will see such a story. At this point, all the pushy cuteness is just triggering and feels stalkerish and cruel to me. 


I do wish this trope would change but aegyo is a thing in patriarchal societies apparently. Not to mention the whole vindictive petty back-and-forthing in their fake dating. But my major trouble with this drama, though, is that heroine's mother is such a good cook. I keep wanting to go to the Chinese restaurant...or at least to make some of the dishes the mom makes. That chicken dish looked sooo good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Movie Review: SPOOR -- Amazon Prime Video

 

 Spoor was quite good. A slooooow burn and not the horror movie i expected it to be. 


The heroine is definitely a wise woman stereotype but the depiction works. The bad patriarchy guys also work well too. So it didn't come off as a screedy polemic. 

The story takes place in Eastern Europe. Our heroine is an older woman who loves animals. We're dealing with patriarchy here. In fact there's a young orthodox priest who is a nasty piece of work. He says stuff about animals that many-but-not-all Christians would have problems with. Women are also treated like crap. Our heroine has a connection with nature, the stars, etc and she lives near hunters, poachers, and a cruel research lab on the outskirts of the village. She's surrounded by men who basically think anything weaker than an adult man pretty much can be treated any kind a way  - the law be damned. Her best friends are her animals, but the priest says it's a sin to call animals friends, to say animals have souls, and that burying animals is a sin of pride. 

Well, suddenly heroine's pet dogs disappear, strange deaths keep happening, and deer start getting attitude. Heroine is already battling ageism, patriarchy, and a world that belittles and oppresses everything that is weak. The only mercy in this town is patronising the weak. The patronizing is no joke. Sadistic lab guy is being horrible to a girl in town and hunting season is on. Heroine is always showing up at dead bodies and animal tracks are near the corpses of murdered hunters. I liked this movie

Still...there were things that were problematic for me. 

First: the patriarchy was represented and upheld by a christian priest. Of course, this often happens in real life but just because christendom does patriarchy and nature cruelty badly doesn't mean that the Bible affirms that kind of patriarchal cruelty. But alas, the history of Christendom does have a lot of cruelty to women, animals, the weak, etc. So that depiction was bothersome, but somewhat fair.

 Second: the pantheism and panentheism was a bit much for my Christian soul. Heroine is a true astrologer, more so than the typical stuff one sees in newspapers or hear from friends. The worship of the star? The stars ruling and controlling our fate. Heroine could love nature without going so far. But heck, it's not my movie. So why argue? 

Yes, why argue? Especially because i agree with so much of the socio-emotional issues in the movie. Thirdly: the ending. Again, problematic. A murderer gets away scotfree and i was happy about it. yeah, i know. My heart was conflicted. What can i say? I agreed with the filmmaker that the patriarchy had to be outwitted. Animals, the weak, and women were being treated so bad. I know that as a good Christian there are philosophies, story constructs, and story resolutions I'm supposed to dislike. But, the heart is the heart. I'm not saying it's wholly unredeemed aspects of my heart that made me like this movie. I think the redemmed and holy part of me also liked it. But these are stories and characters that American Christians don't deal with. We're kinda trained off certain things. For instance, how many evangelicals become anthropologists or feminist critics or climate activists? It is what it is. I so wish American Christian filmmakers would make movies like Spoor. But American Christian filmmakers rarely deal with matters of soul, animals, evil patriarchy. They deal with a totally different other set of americanized issues. Nothing spiritual generally. Anyways. Spoor. AmazonPrimeVideo. A slow movie but it really touched me.



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