“I Have Had a Dream.”

“I Have Had a Dream.”

(Disclaimer: This is a HIGHLY politically incorrect, controversial post. If you are the type to be politically correct, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK of being offended. If you have issues with articles like this, then kindly don’t read it, but let me at least point out this much: Dr. King was politically incorrect. Guess what? He didn’t care. He valued God’s opinion above others’, including even that of the government. He knew all human lives mattered and are equal. And yes, he was arrested. Yes, he was eventually assassinated. But you know something? This year, I’ve resolved to be a bit more like him: to speak out against wrongs, despite the fact if they’re politically correct or not, despite the fact that I might very well indeed get bashed over the head for it. But I’ll take those people’s opinions of me with a grain of salt– because King was right; God’s opinion is what truly matters.)

When Martin Luther King Jr  spoke the words, “I have a dream,” he obviously didn’t mean a physical, nighttime dream– he meant a metaphorical dream. And a beautiful, idealistic dream at that– that no one would be judged by their appearance or ethnicity, and we could all worship God together, as a whole. What a wonderful dream that is!

While I too, have a dream, I have also HAD a physical nighttime dream. Or, to be more precise– a nightmare. One that awoke in me a fierce and burning desire to jar me into speaking out… oh, but you’ll see in a minute.

In the dream, I was a sort of omnipotent presence hovering around a most horrid sight: In someone’s machine shed, scientists with lab coats and clipboards bustled over desk-high machines up atop a large platform. Several were looking anxiously below. Below, on the ground, were two girls, friends, who had evidently been drugged and kidnapped as a part of a heinous experiment. They stood, facing each other. One of the girls had some sort of IV in her arm, running a green fluid into her system, and a fiendish helmet upon her head, with heat-sensing goggles. Both were awake. The scientists commenced their experimentation, then, switching on the helmet and handing the helmeted girl a gun. From beneath the girl’s helmet, I could see from her perspective what she could see: She saw her friend, her dear friend, as little more than a vicious, snarling animal ready to attack her, despite her friend’s desperate pleas (“It’s me! Don’t you recognize me?!”). Using the heat-sensing goggles to find her friend’s weakest spot, the helmeted girl lifted the gun– and fired at her friend’s head, to the wicked delight of the scientists.

Naturally, when I awoke, I was horrified. Outraged. And scared to pieces. But then the meaning, the symbolism of it all, struck me like that bullet just then.

The scientists are Satan and his cronies. They inject society with lies, partially because they are lazy and want the job to get done quicker, and find it easier to have us turn against each other and destroy one another, rather than have them directly do it themselves. Look at the KKK, in King’s time. Look at the Nazis. Look at (yes, I am fully aware of this controversial topic, but, as I said, I am a highly politically incorrect and controversial person. You have been warned. Repeatedly.) Planned Parenthood (fun fact: its founder, Margaret Sanger, was incredibly racist, an atheist, an evolutionist, and a firm believer in eugenics– that is, the “cleansing” of society of the “unwanted”. The physically, mentally, and socially impaired. “Impure” races. In fact, this is the very reason so many Planned Parenthoods are established in black neighborhoods– back then and today. If this truth did not disgust and appall you as it did me, well….). All of these cult followings have one thing in common: devaluing human life, or at least, certain human lives. The lie, “The weak people are killed off in “natural selection” while other, stronger members climb to the top of society at the weaker ones’ expense” is total and and absolute balderdash. Making us out to be nothing more than “highly evolved” animals, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In 1 Corinthians 15:39, in fact, it states, “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.” (NKJV, emphasis added), which shows us exactly what God thinks of macro-evolutionary thinking.

We are all HUMAN. We ALL hold GREAT VALUE in the eyes of our CREATOR, Who loves us enough to LITERALLY DIE for us. Each and EVERY one of us. So much for the “weaker, less valuable ones”. So much for “natural selection” in humankind.

The bottom line is, the more you start thinking of yourself or others as nothing more than animals (“highly evolved” or otherwise), or less than human, the more liable it is that you will start treating yourself or others as animals or less than human. The girl in my dream didn’t recognize her friend as human, she saw her as an animal– and, more stomach-churning,  she shot her like one. No one, I repeat, NO ONE with ANY ethical/moral compass at all will want to treat themselves or other people like that. No one. But a good many handfuls of people who possess this worldview (not all) are slaughtering other people– their OWN FLESH AND BLOOD (we’re all descended from Noah)– as we speak because they believe they are so-called “superior” racially, “more highly evolved,” etc. And it MUST stop.

My metaphorical dream, like King’s, is that we will all be valued as God’s Image Bearers, as HUMAN BEINGS. That we all will realize this truth someday, and start committing ourselves to it. That we are all created EQUAL, and are ALL loved EQUALLY by an all-loving, all- knowing, all-powerful Creator King. And someday, I know that this dream, like King’s, will soon come true. Thank you.

“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, to deny people their rights before the Most High, to deprive them of justice– would not the Lord see such things?”  Lament. 3:31-36

“All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.” 1 Corinth. 15:39

 

New Year– New Opportunities

New Year– New Opportunities

(First off, apologies for not posting this sooner during the beginning of the year– things got a little crazy busy for me.)

Who doesn’t love the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes? Some of my favorites in the series are of Calvin working with snow, building snowmen and snow forts with Hobbes, and, perhaps the one of the more relatable scenes, Calvin griping over snow (or, more specifically, lack thereof.); I tend to be in rare agreement with Calvin on such occasions– if it has to be this cold out, we simply NEED snow.

There’s something magical about wintery weather, sometimes, concerning snow: it’s cold enough to nip at our bare little fingers, ears, and noses until they’re bright crimson, yet, when snowflakes start drifting downwards, like manna from the heavens, it almost makes standing out in the icy tundra worth it (especially if they’re drifting down near a lamppost– reminds me of Narnia 🙂 ). You need to endure the sting of winter’s chill to witness the true beauty of the snowflakes.

It reminds me of what we as Christians, as humans, have to endure through life, even as we transition into the New Year. Yes, often the start of a brand new year is cause for celebration– but troubles still can occur. Trials and tribulations are tossed our way. Heartbreak, tragedy, lies and chaos unexpectedly rush into us like strong, stinging winter wind. But we sometimes forget about something– there is always hope, even when it seems hopeless. Always God’s love, even if it seems destitute, like nobody cares. That, friends, is what snowflakes remind me of: beauty, hope, and God’s love for us. At times, God is watching our character to see what we’ll do, if we’re willing to be brave and stand firm in the storm to get even a glimpse of His Love and hope for us, or if we’ll back down. Some will go “indoors,” where it’s a nice, cozy, and safe little comfort zone, thinking they can still enjoy themselves and please God. But the reality is this: We NEED to go all-out for Him.  Sometimes, you need to tough out the the chill to get to the results, and to get closer to God. That’s what truly counts.

All of this reminds me of another Calvin and Hobbes strip; the one picture of it posted above, in fact. Calvin and Hobbes talk about how the snow wiped everything recognizable out, and how everything’s now like a clean, white page of paper to write on, and, like the snow, the day ahead of them is an exciting one filled with brand-new possibilities. (I think it appropriate that this was Mr. Watterson’s last strip of the series, and appropriately timed with the new year.) As believers, we must look beyond the hurts of this world, to Jesus, who, like snow, can give us a clean slate, more hope and better possibilities in this world (and the next!) than we could ever ask or imagine. This does not mean our life will be entirely pleasant, or trouble-free, but Jesus does promise to always be with us, and that He will help us through our sin, sorrows and snares. It is only a matter of letting Him help, and faith in Him. We can go it our own way, playing it safe from life’s raging storms “indoors”, or be brave. Take the leap of faith and courage. And leap into the loving arms of Jesus, Who will never forsake you.

Wishing you all a blessed (albeit belated) New Year!

 

 

“The Force Awakens”– a Fan’s Review

“The Force Awakens”– a Fan’s Review

(Spoilers up ahead if you haven’t yet seen The Force Awakens. Read at your own risk.)

So, this is my fourth official review, and yes, again, it’s on S.W. (Don’t worry, fellow Pokegeeks, I’ll get to Pokemon, too. Eventually.) This time, it’s about The Force Awakens, highlighting both good and bad aspects of the movie, as well as some questions and the like to help get more gears grinding in the theories department. Also, if you have theories of your own, after this article, that you’d like to share, then fire away! 🙂

I’ll start with the cons first, so we can get the negatives out of the way, and move on to the better stuff.

The main problems I had with The Force Awakens was that it was sometimes too predictable, the plot line was a bit weak, and that too much of the plot was obviously based off of A New Hope. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE S.W. …. but the plot really made me think they weren’t trying all too hard. Solo’s “Qui-Gon Jin death”? Seen it. The larger, more powerful version of the Death Star?  A bit of a yawn. The “droid [they] were looking for”, because it contained vital information? Even the location of where the droid, BB-8, was found, Jakku, was pretty much an almost identical Tattooine, biome-wise– and both it and Artoo were found by Force-Sensitive people.

Anyone else seeing a pattern of deja vu here?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I liked the hunt for Luke. I did. But I honestly felt like it wasn’t, well… STRONG enough of a plot to grip its S.W. fanatics in its clutches. Like it still lacked substance. You look at almost all the previous S.W. films in the franchise; all of them at least have lengthier prologues to kick-start the movies. Not really so much the case here, to my disappointment. And it’s very unlike most S.W.  movies, which usually seem to emphasize the good underdogs versus a corrupted government, in more ways than one– this one’s more like a “good” government versus a bad one. No one’s really in charge of the galaxy at this point, just bits and pieces of it. Which makes the story not only somewhat weak, but also confusing, as well. Is the New Republic mostly in charge, or The First Order? You can’t really tell if it’s a situation more like that of the original S.W. trilogy, or the stuff of the prequel S.W., in short.

To increase the critical point of view, some of it was also somewhat predictable, at some points. You know Rey won’t turn in that BB-8 unit because both it and she are key protagonists who wouldn’t do that to each other. Similarly, you also know that, obviously, it is WAY too early in the series for Kylo Ren to turn back to the Light Side, if he is to eventually become redeemed (this isn’t The Clone Wars, after all). You know, heartbreakingly, that his father won’t make it; however, this is a common theme in almost all S.W. movies, save The Empire Strikes Back:  a key figure has to die (Episode 1: Qui-Gon Jin, Episode 2: Shmi Skywalker, Episode 3: Padme Amidala, Windu, and millions of innocent Jedi, Episode 4: Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Episode 6: Darth “Hideous”, Yoda, and Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker. See my point?).

Speaking of Ren and his dad, I was, however, very surprised at Ren removing his mask/helmet so early in the series– you’d think that someone who idolized Vader and his being a “man of mystery,” would’ve kept it on until at least Episode 8… but nope, gotta cram it into The Force Awakens. Same goes for the revelation that he’s related to the Solos… as many may recall, Vader never revealed Luke’s true paternal parentage until Episode 5. Too early for all those important pieces of info, Abrams, waaaaay too early. It does not compensate for a lacking storyline, sadly. You need to break it up a little, add suspense, build more tension and more action, a rising climax, before just tossing that kind of revelation at us. It makes for a greater movie.

The movie is around average S.W. length, yet so much true potential for the plot remains bound and locked up tightly. If they unleashed the movie’s “force,” or a much improved plot line, I think, in many ways, it could have been better.

However, despite these things, there were also quite a few positives in the movie, and I will begin with one of my personal favorites (and yes, to those who actually read my previous The Force Awakens post about a certain theory, I MIGHT be squealing like a little girl. Might.):

My theory was RIGHT (!!!!!). Ren was both Luke’s nephew, AND, at one point, his padawan learner. This then, makes perfect sense as to how Ren obtained Vader’s helmet, and learned about his grandfather’s tragic, albeit violent and disturbing,  past. The final piece of that puzzle has slid in perfectly, and in that sense, I couldn’t be more satisfied.

The graphics were amazing. We’ve come a long way since the 90’s. In this aspect, Abrams is kinda working it, a bit. I love especially how Ren’s lightsaber was portrayed– like fiery blasts, to match up with his obviously fiery little temper tantrums.

Rey. I love her “can-do” attitude, her outfit, her almost daughterly-like connection with Han Solo… simply, everything. At first, judging by the trailers (which one should be very, very careful in doing), I naively assumed Finn would be the Force Wielder, simply because he was in possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber. Boy, was I wrong. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that it was her, though the full revelation didn’t hit me until she used her powers on a stormtrooper. (Although, I personally think a green lightsaber would look far better on her, but to each his own, I guess) Initially, I didn’t even really care for her name much, but the more I heard it, the more it grew on me, especially spoken softly. I view it like “ray”. A hopeful beam of sunshine in a big, darkened galaxy. I really like it.

Finn and Rey’s “potential relationship”. It is clearly obvious from Day 1 that Finn has something of a thing for Rey, insisting on holding her hand as they run from stormtroopers and asking afterwards if she was OK; eventually, it gets to the point where he’s actually willing to lie a little to try to break into The First Order’s base just to rescue her. It takes a while for Rey to reciprocate the feeling, but she soon does, saving him from monstrous Rathtars, and feeling shocked and betrayed that he would abandon the mission to get away from the First Order. She fights to defend both herself and him near the end of the movie, and, when Finn remains unconscious in the Resistance’s hospital, she lightly kisses his forehead, thanking him for his help. As we all know by now, I am a sucker for just tidbits of romance, and I look forward to, with great anticipation, the development of their future relationship. I get the feeling we’ll be having yet another “Han and Leia” thing on our hands, pretty soon. :3

The overall membership and empathy of the characters. As always, I love, love, LOVE it when the characters interact, bonding-style, with each other– whether it’s Han giving Finn girl advice, or Leia embracing Rey and telling her, “May the Force be with you,” at the end. Finn’s empathy with those his fellow soldiers gunned down is what even turned him against The First Order. And who doesn’t love Chewie, and the way he relates to characters?!

All these things are awesome, but they sometimes lead us to more questions, and theories:

Does the ending of “The Force Awakens” mean that Rey will be trained as Luke’s newest padawan? Most likely yes, BUT (key word), Luke might at least be more hesitant. After all, the last time he did such one of his pupils, his own nephew, turned on him and killed all remaining students. Maybe he’ll be worried the same will happen to her– would she turn or be destroyed, too?

Who are Rey’s parents, and why did they leave her on Jakku? Why not take her with them? Are they still alive? Oh my heavens, this is deep. I’ve heard everything from her being Luke’s daughter (because, if Luke knew she was a Force-sensitive, maybe he wanted to protect her?), to being Obi-Wan’s daughter (because the Jedi Order was non-existent, its rules for chastity no longer apply to Jedi, and also her British accent and lightsaber-defensive fighting style are very similar to his…. also, it was his voice that called out to her in the vision.), to the one my best friends all favored, after seeing it together: Han and Leia’s long-lost daughter (getting her spunk and beauty from Leia, and piloting and resourcefulness skills from Han). If I had play favorites, I’d say I’m torn between the last two theories (but I’ll be honest, I’m biased; Obi-Wan is my favorite Jedi :3 I’d love to see someone like him on-screen again), but hey, you never know…

Team Finn or… Team Kylo? I’m Team Finn (for obvious reasons), but one of my besties is Team Kylo; however, if the whole “Rey-is-secretly-the-Solos’-daughter” thing turns out true, it’d be incredibly awkward between them (about as awkward as Luke learning Leia’s his sis… AFTER being kissed by her)…. although I’ve countered her theory numerous times with: “He tried to kill her. Repeatedly. I don’t think she’d jump at the chance to go out with him.” BUT, I will say that there are subtle– repeat, SUBTLE– implications that he MIGHT be attracted to HER, albeit in a distasteful manner, or perhaps uses this in his favor, to intimidate her. Instead of going to the trouble to find BB-8, he makes her faint, and carries her, damsel-in-distress style, aboard his ship to interrogate her. A lot of what he tells her is interesting, too. He says, at one point, that he always gets what he wants, most likely referring to the images of the map, but could also be hinting to her. He takes off his mask/helmet thingy, just for her, when she icily quips that her wanting to kill him “happens when [she’s] chased by a creature in a mask.”– something he most certainly didn’t do for the likes of Poe, who claimed he couldn’t understand Ren because of it. He also treats her more gently than he does Poe, when interrogating; Poe is shown as treated more harshly, and less of a “guest”, as Ren refers to Rey as. At one point, Ren even tells her not to be afraid of him, and simply give him the information, though it is also noted he still taunts her all the while, within relatively intimate distance. Naturally, Rey refuses, and not only uses the Force to resist his mind-probe, but uses it to escape. Ren is absolutely furious at this, and, after climatic events, gives chase to Finn and Rey through the snowy woodland of the Starkiller. He knocks Rey out, not killing her, and he and Finn engage in a brief lightsaber duel, only for Finn to be knocked comatose and left for dead. Thinking he had won, he Force-reaches for Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which flies out and lands… in REY’S hand. She and Ren then duel, getting closer and closer to a cliffedge, and at one point it looks as though they’re evenly matched– it is here that Ren outright OFFERS TO TEACH HER (when I saw that, I was all, wait, how’d I know that was coming?? HOW’D I know that was coming??), revealing he doesn’t think she’d be a good Force-wielder without the likes of him. Fortunately, she chooses good over evil, defeats him (leaving him badly wounded but very much alive– another Vader parallel– waaaaaaiiiiiitttt, does this mean she IS Obi’s daughter??? O.O ), and escapes with BB, comatose Finn, and Chewie. I’m willing to bet that old Snoke, whoever he is, will give Ren a huge rebuttal for his weakness concerning her, if Ren is in fact at all attracted to her, but then again that might not be the case– to declare “Team Kylo’s” theories as factual, we must have solid, sufficient evidence, which for the most part we lack. On Team Finn’s end, however, there is more evidence–Finn has a canonical crush on Rey, etc– and thus I am more supportive of it (plus, I usually root for the underdog good guys anyways). But only time and plot complexities will tell.

Overall, I will say that The Force Awakens had good characters, decent character development, decent transitions, and excellent filmwork; however, plotline-wise, Abrams needs to get more serious and creative about this. Yes, it’s certainly nice that he pays a tribute/homage to Episode 4 and bits of 5 and 3, but if it gets to the point where it’s TOO predictable, with too little of a new story, then you run into a problem. The fans want old mixed with new; traditional mixed with FRESH (or at least, from what I’ve seen). If he heeds such advice (not only from me but possibly from others as well), I honestly think this new S.W. trilogy could be BEHEMOTH. GARGANTUAN. It’d have the fans’s eyeballs glued to the screen, half clutching their popcorn bucket, half-squeezing their armrest so hard their knuckles are white with exertion, because of the thrills, chills and anticipation. Make that kind of movie.

Now to my fellow fans… what did you think of Episode 7? Anything in particular you liked? Favorite characters? Favorite theories?