Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lincoln - on Thanksgiving with Gratitude

I have seen Lincoln.

I saw him come to life right before my very eyes this week.

You can see him to, for Daniel Day-Lewis has poured his soul into becoming that legendary President and Steven Spielberg has been so kind as to record that event on film.

And as it IS Thanksgiving Day, and as tomorrow millions will fly to stores to buy gifts, I thought it appropriate to share this original proclamation that Lincoln wrote to legally establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

It is beautiful and does, in fact, convict my soul of its damnable quality of self-pity. I am rich. I am FILTHY rich.

Please read and let the one of the most hated men in America [at his election] remind you of how much you DO have.

Also, please go see the film. It will most likely sweep the Oscars.

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

"In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

"Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

"It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

"And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

"Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth."

Thank you, Abe. Whatever sins my Southern brethren hold against you for exercise of federal powers, it is clear that you wanted the best for ALL Americans and loved God as your heavenly Father.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Skyfall - 007 returns to his roots

We have a new Studio Movie Grill here in Wheaton, and matinees are only $5, so I got to see the latest James Bond movie Skyfall this past Monday for cheap, in a spanking new theater!

Let me say, I was surprised. It was James Bond but it was a return to a more traditional Bond. It answered a few more "bio" questions about this famous licensed to kill superagent in its climax, and made an almost perfect loop BACKWARDS to the days of Sean Connery meeting 'M' inside a padded leather sound-proofed office. It was almost "retro-Bond" for all that.

I have enjoyed Daniel Craig's take on Bond. The re-booting of this semi-misogynistic charmer who coolly dispatches his enemies with a Walther PPK, all while dressing impeccably is being told better than ever, IMHO.

I think we like James Bond because he is a worldly man who has decided that he can get anything he wants in this world, do about anything he likes and cares very little if he is recognized for it - as long as he can serve his country by keeping the world safe from very wicked men. He's got some Errol Flynn/Robin Hood in him, doesn't he? And a bit of romantic chivalry modernized?

But ultimately, he destroys a lot of things and blows up a lot of valuables in order to fight evil.

He seems terribly worldly, but then again, he's not. He clings to nothing but can appreciate it. In Casino Royale, when Vesper does her analysis of his choice in clothing, she says "but you wear it with such disdain, my guess is that you did not come from money-and your school friends never let you forget it." We later learn that James' family was some form of landed gentry but fell on hard times in Skyfall.

So James is from the blood of rulers and knights and lords and such but has no place to rule. To exercise his authority for the good of others.

You ever think of Jesus as like that? Running around, a hidden king, tossing demons into an abyss, tearing the hell out of temple courts where all the merchants gather and telling women they have to let go of him, 'cause He's not finished his mission?

Yeah. I know. What we love about James Bond is mostly carnal; Jesus is spiritual.

But may I point out something? C.S. Lewis once quipped [I think he quipped]:
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
                              ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
This observation, this connection between our desires and wanting greatness in pleasure are permanently ingrained in ALL human beings. We want to DO great things, LIVE great lives, and CONQUER evil.

James Bond does this for us on film. It's why we go to movies. Christ does this for us in our innermost being; it should be why we read the gospels.

You see, James strides through everything, even the people out to kill him. So does Jesus, if you remember. James dispatches evil men; Christ dispatches evil - period.

Jesus is THE Hero of Heroes. And James Bond, especially the latest incarnation, shows us a little more than we've realized about the style of the man from Galilee -  The Poor Son of a Lord Who Has No Fear in His Mission - and even being dead doesn't stop Him.

Weird thought, huh? Read the gospels. You might see it yourself.

Well, this trailer from Skyfall might also make it more clear. Pay attention at the 1:56 mark.

Have a great day, "double-oh"s.

If you are a follower of Christ, you have a license to kill all evil - and permission to report for duty after being dead. ;)