Tag Archive | freedom

Beauty and the Beast: A Movie Review

beauty and the beast“Can anyone really be happy if they’re not free?”

Yes, I did take out my phone during the movie so that I could jot down this quote from Disney’s live action “Beauty and the Beast.” My 14-year-old daughter and I finally got to see this amazing movie with some friends on Friday night. I had read the hype. I had seen the posts about the gay kissing scene. I couldn’t believe all that was being said in such scorn.

Fake news doing its best to cast dispersions wherever it can.

A father’s love for his daughter (Maurice, played very well by Kevin Kline, and Belle, portrayed beautifully by Emma Watson of “Harry Potter” fame) and a daughter’s love for her father take a very close backseat to the love story of Belle and the beast in this grand tale. What was added to the original animated movie and what was left out did not take away from the pleasure.

I went into this movie with an open mind, wanting to watch it critically, yet not wanting to jump to any early conclusions. I soon found myself caught up in the fun of the old songs brought to new life and the way computer generated imagery brought to life the household objects in the beast’s castle.

Gaston (Luke Evans) was as dastardly in this film as he was heroic in The Hobbit: “Battle beauty and the beast castof the Five Armies.” The mob mentality of the citizens on the hunt for the beast reminded me sadly of how easily people are swayed by one charismatic person’s twist of the facts. Does the beast have claws? Yes. Does he have big, sharp teeth? Yes. Use those things to scare people and a mob is born.

Though the timeline is vague, it appears to be a few days later when Belle has become friends with the beast. He takes a chance and addresses the idea of someone like her ever having affection for someone like him. When she suggests, “Why not?” he is encouraged and asks, “So you could be happy here?” That’s when Belle says what I’ve quoted above: “Can anyone really be happy if they’re not free?”

When Belle discovers that her father is in danger, the beast immediately says that she must go. He’s willing to give her up, though at this point he loves her, because he knows it’s the right thing to do. Through her act of caring for him after the wolf attack even though she was very afraid, and his letting her go, though it would condemn him to beasthood forever, sacrificial love is shown.

Love grows not from boasting and blustering about how wonderful we are and how much the other person needs us, but by the acts of kindness that help the other person see how valuable they are, despite appearances. Belle tends the beast when he’s injured, even though he had raged at her just moments before. The beast gives Belle access to the most wonderful library (definitely her love language) she has ever seen. Small acts; huge results.

Courage, hope, service to another, sacrifice, freedom. These are all themes brought out and examined all from within the package of a well-loved story and grand musical numbers that will continue to stand the test of time.

Love that is required and devotion that is paid for is not real. Only when we give those things freely can we be truly happy.

 

images from (1) movies.disney.co.uk and (2) IMDb

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We The People, part 2

img_6772I rode by that burned out house yesterday that I mentioned in Part 1, (read that here before you continue: We The People, Part 1) and there were workmen there and they had the front of the house torn down to the studs. The word that came to mind when I saw that was “rebuild.” Seems apropos.

As promised, here is the second part of my examination of the Preamble to our Constitution. Previously we looked at establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility and providing for the common defense. Use the link above to read that post.

Promote the general welfare: To me, this is one of the biggest issues. I see the need for compassion in order to promote the general welfare, but not entitlement and dependence.  Allowing for the killing of unborn children,  attacking the traditional family, legislating parenting rather than encouraging faith-based organizations to help teach good techniques doesn’t promote the general welfare. Promoting the general welfare means doing what’s best for everybody. I think the role of government is to ensure that everybody has the ability to prosper.

Making sure quality education is available to everyone helps promote the general welfare. Giving handouts does not. Arresting parents who let their kids play in the park a block from their home does not. Policing in such a way that people of color are afraid to have an encounter of any kind with law enforcement does not. Encouraging anger when those angered don’t know what to do with that emotion does not.

But again, if man is sinful and separated from God, and people’s views of what is best differ, then hearts need to be changed before the general welfare is going to be achieved.

Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Liberty. Freedom. We have a Bill of Rights. I think the role of government is to ensure that those rights are upheld. Once those rights start being revoked, the blessings of liberty fall by the wayside. I fear that our bent toward not offending those who are utterly too offendable is trampling on those rights. When we have freedom, we actually look out for each other better. Or at least that’s how it should be. The Bible says, “Don’t use your freedom as license to sin.” Oh man, those are good words. There is no blessing in a “me-first” attitude.

People need to be heard and they need to believe that they are cared about, and they need IMG_6771to be taught to stand on their own two feet. That’s a part of the government’s job. But that’s also the church’s job. The two entities absolutely must work together instead of being poles apart. People have so misrepresented the idea of the separation of church and state that the church has become a shell of what it was intended to be: a force for good in society. The separation of church and state was enacted so that the state didn’t take over the church. That’s why the Pilgrims left. The free exercise of religion is essential. If only the government would see the good that the church could do, and not be so afraid of it. If only the church was bolder and less concerned about popularity and more concerned about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Nothing short of a revival is going to heal our land. I don’t think our nation can be great again without it. The question is, which leader is more likely to lead us in that direction? And who is willing to give the church a kick in its collective butt to do what it’s called to do?

Rebuilding. That’s what we need in our country.

And revival in our own hearts.

God bless America.

I’m open to civil discussion on any of these matters. Feel free to comment, but keep it civil.

Our Unbridled Freedom Will Lead To Our Ultimate Destruction

eagle-of-freedom-31539Freedom of religion.

Freedom of speech.

Right to bear arms.

Freedom of assembly.

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We hear a lot about freedom in America. But what happens when those freedoms have no boundary?

Freedom OF religion becomes freedom FROM religion. Your religion is wrong, so you shouldn’t be able to practice it. If someone doesn’t believe in God, then your practice of our religion offends them. There should be no sign of faith in any public place. That’s not freedom. It’s no longer about practicing your religion without government interference; it’s about demanding that I not be offended because of your beliefs. Without the boundary of love, that freedom has become twisted until it’s unrecognizable from its original intent.

Freedom of speech becomes license to spew hatred to any who disagree.  You have the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, about whomever you want. The other person’s feelings don’t matter. It’s not about being able to voice your opinion without fear of prosecution anymore. Without the boundary of love, that freedom wounds deeply and wins no souls.

The right to bear arms becomes an incensed fight to stockpile weapons that have nothing to do with hunting or hobby. It doesn’t take into consideration logical arguments about waiting periods and mental health. Other fears, experiences and thoughts on the matter aren’t important. Without the boundary of love, that freedom screams irresponsibility and insensitivity.

Freedom of assembly becomes an excuse to riot and destroy and loot in the name of a worthy cause that could be so much better supported with peaceful demonstration. You’ll get your 15 minutes of fame, all right, but what have you proven about yourself? Without the boundary of love, that freedom simply shows the world your worst side.

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness becomes an excuse to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, to hide our elderly in nursing homes, to forget the disenfranchised, to change our gender, to marry whomever we want, or to do anything else that we might see as the way to our happiness. We can justify anything. There are no longer black and white issues. Nothing is wrong anymore. It’s MY life. Stay out of it! Without the boundary of love, those rights are excuses to make things more convenient for ourselves.

We’ve lost our moral compass. In the name of freedom we are chasing every wind and demanding that we be allowed to do whatever we want without interference, and the government is catering to the loudest voice. And the consequences of this unbridled freedom will be our ultimate destruction.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Free to love, free from the tyranny of sin, free to worship God with no barrier, free from condemnation because Jesus already paid the price. But shall we then use that freedom as a license to sin?

May it never be.

Let Freedom Ring

I’ve been contemplating freedom today as we remember those who gave their lives serving our country in the Armed Forces. Both of my sons are AFJROTC members at their high school. The thought of them someday going into battle as full time airmen scares me. But the thought of where this country would be without the sacrifice of those who have gone before scares me as well.

My younger son, Nathan, and I were talking about how the Americans stole the tune to Britain’s national anthem, “God Save the Queen.”

From:

O Lord our God arise
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall
Confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On Thee our hopes we fix
God save us all

we get:

My country ’tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing.
Land where my father’s died
Land of the Pilgrim’s pride
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring

The people who founded our country were looking for freedom in a new world; a place where they could freely practice their religion without fear. The tyrannical government they were fleeing wanted none of that. The battles fought in the Revolutionary War bought our freedom from a country that wanted to keep us under its thumb.

There are many people who think that we should not engage an enemy that has not come upon our shores to threaten us. But I am not of that frame of mind. I think an enemy of freedom wherever it is found is our enemy. Freedom does not just belong to Americans. Everyone deserves the chance to worship as they choose, to say what they will—be it stupid or not, to have choices. Yes, that freedom comes at a price. It always has. It always will.

I’m proud of our soldiers. They understand the price. They have seen the devastation bondage causes. They have witnessed the joy freedom brings.

IMG_2877Justin, my eldest, will one day soon be one of those soldiers as his desire is to serve his country in the United States Air Force. I support him wholeheartedly. To every serviceman or woman I personally encounter I say, “Thank you for your service.” To those who live under tyrannical governments, who have no freedom and who live in fear every day I say from afar, “Don’t give up hope. Be strong. I pray you are not abandoned by those who would leave you to suffer alone, just because you’re not American.”

I promise you, that will never be me.

In Memory Of Those We’ve Lost

american-flag

Because I believe that freedom is not primarily for the privileged, but for the oppressed, and because I believe that the strong are obligated to take up the cause of the weak, and because I believe that those whose voice has not been silenced are duty bound to speak for those who have no say, I will fly my flag proudly today and say thank you to those who have given their lives not only to protect America, but to fight for freedom all over the world.

Free Indeed

Basketball_3_5Pastor Ed Young wrote of a time when he would take his two sons around to different parks to look for pick-up basketball games. One day they settled in to play a half-court game while another game was being played on the other half court. As Pastor Young watched, the difference in the two games was astoundingly clear: In one, there were no rules, and it was a free for all. In the other, a clear set of rules was being followed, and boy, did he see some great ball being played. The players clearly knew what they could and could not do, and some were even calling fouls on themselves. The rules set them free to shine with some amazing b-ball skills. On the other half court, no rules created mayhem. In volleyball terms, we call that “jungle ball.”

The same applies to the road: If drivers aren’t following the rules, accidents happen. If you drive the wrong way on a one-way street, you’re going to crash into someone sooner or later. If you don’t stay on your side of the white line, again, an accident is likely to occur. There is only freedom to get where you’re going safely if everyone abides by the rules.

Yes, we want freedom, but that comes with a responsibility to be aware of those around us and to live by, yes, rules. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

We’re so big into “rights” in America. But really, so much of what we call “rights” is really “privileges.” If we put other people before ourselves in every circumstance, then we are truly practicing freedom; the freedom to love people the way Jesus called us to love. And boy, will we see some life being lived.

John 8:36 reminds us, “So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” Because He set me free, I am His bondslave, bound to do what He wants me to do, and that is to not put myself before others.

 

Image courtesy of bayoupreps.com

First stop, Texas

After two days of driving, with an overnight stop in Hattiesburg, Miss., we made it to David’s aunt and uncle’s house in Justin, Texas. The cool thing about their place is that they live in a community of airplane pilots who all have hangers behind, in or as part of their houses. There’s an airstrip all around, and planes come and go throughout the day. It’s an aviation lover’s dream.

Morgan got to experience driving for the first time–in a golf cart. She loved it. The boys drove also, and ran around just loving the fact that they weren’t in a car for 10 hours.

Tonight, the boys went with their cousin back to his home about an hour away, and the rest of us enjoyed dinner and then sat outside in the dry air and breeze of a Texas summer night and watched fireworks exploding all around us for more than an hour. I didn’t even attempt to photograph them, as they never look as good as when you’re there. It was the perfect setting. We didn’t have to fight crowds, and we were far enough away not to be deafened by the booms, and we enjoyed a diversity of scenes from the comfort of our own chairs.

Tomorrow, we start making our way to the Grand Canyon, stopping overnight in Santa Rosa, N.M.

Happy birthday, America. We’re enjoying getting to know you a little bit better this month.

Thankful today for:

426. the freedom of our country

427. our founding fathers and their vision

428. family

429. the sites that await us in the next couple of days

430. that we have the ability to give our kids good gifts

431. watermelon

432. dry heat

433. other people’s fireworks

434. America