The World’s First R-rated Christian Horror Film?

Is that a contradiciton in terms? I don't think so. Actually, I don't think I could be more excited about this film. The movie in question is "House" based on the novel by Ted Dekker and Frank Perretti. The book completely freaked me out. It wasn't scary in the typical sense of the word, it was just good old fashioned freaky. Check out the preview for the movie below.

It's a horror story for sure, but it's also part psychological thriller. Of course, it's written from a Christian perspective, so the overwhelming theme of the story is that light overcomes the darkness. But even that simplifies the story too much. The novel (and hopefully the movie) has an allegorical element to it that is as solid as the allegorical elements in "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." And this is what makes it such a great story on so many levels. It's a great story. It's a great scare. It has a Christian worldview with an ending that doesn't leave you feeling dirty or depressed. And it's the first horror story that I've ever read or heard of that has a deeper level of meaning to it.

There is just one problem for many Christians. The R rating. Fox Faith was supposed to release it last year but shied away from it when the MPAA slapped it with an R rating. Now it is being released by Lionsgate which is no stranger to the horror genre. Why is it rated R?  For violence and some terror. The producers appealed the R rating multiple times, but ulitmately the MPAA said that there was nothing they could do to change the rating. It wasn't about cutting out some content, it was the story line itself. There is no blood, gore, sex, or bad language. It's just a really freaky story. 

So where does that leave most Christians? Too many will shy away from it. I would urge all believers of High School age and up to go see it this weekend. It's a great story of redemption, and paints a proper allegorical picture of where we are as sinners without Christ. How do you deal with the R rating? I think we as believers need to be re-educated on ratings. Why in the world do we let a lost and ungodly world decide for us what movies we will see? Too many Christian parents decide on what movies they will let their children go see based on the MPAA rating alone. Let me say this clearly, there are MANY R rated movies that parents have NO BUSINESS alowing their teenagers to go see. But let me say this even more clearly, there are MANY PG and PG-13 rated movies that parents have NO BUSINESS letting their teenagers go see. It's about worldview and the viewer's ability discern between a Christian worldview and a worldly secular worldview. This movie is the perfect example. It's downright scary and younger viewers should be very cautious. But it's worldview is strictly Christ centered, and has a very redeeming story line. Parents, do some research about what movies your kids are watching. Make educated decisions based on your own kids, the content of the movie, and the worldview it is preaching and not based on an arbitrary MPAA rating.

Presidential Election Assessment

America has elected a new president, and regardless of your politics who can help but stand in awe of the fact that we have elected our first African American president? I am not a Republican. Neither am I a Democrat. I'm actually registered as an Independent. I have registered that way because I am a firm believer in voting conscience and morals over party. While my conscience did not allow me to vote for Barack Obama due to his extremely liberal stance on abortion, I cannot help but honor him today for what he has accomplished.

Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Seminary as provided an excellent assessment of the election day outcome from a Christian perspective. It would behoove you to read it. You can check it out here.

Great Daily Prayers – In Hard Times

Here is another great one by Thomas a'Kempis (for more information on Thomas a'Kempis read the post "Great Daily Prayers – Part 1").

IMPORTANT NOTE: When a'Kempis uses the word "temptation," he doesn't mean it in the modern sense of being tempted to do something bad, evil, or wrong. He means the word to be synonomous with tribulation, trials, or difficult circumstances.

O Lord, blessed by your name forever, for it is your will that this temptation and tribulation come to me.
I cannot escape it, but must run to you so that you can help me and turn it to my good.

Lord, I am now being afflicted, and my heart is troubled by my present suffering and not at peace. 
And now, dear Father, what shall I say?–I am caught in the middle of trouble,  "save me from this hour."
Yet I came to this hour so you might be glorified when I am greatly hubled and delivered by you.
Therefore, let it please you, Lord, to deliver me, for what can a poor wretch like I am do, or where can I go without you?
Give me patience, O Lord, even now in this emergency. Help me, my God, and then I will not be afraid of how much I may be afflicted.

An now in these troubles what shall I say?
"Lord, your will be done." I very much deserve to be afflicted and distressed.
Sureley I should endure it–and, oh, that I may endure it with patience until the storm passes and it becomes calm!
But your all-powerful hand is able to take even this temptation from me, and lessen its violence so that I do not completely sink under it, as you have so often done for me in the past, O my God, my mercy!
And the more difficult this temptation is for me, the easier it is for you to change it by the right hand of the Most High.

The Secret to Gratitude – Part 1

I was reading this morning in Luke 11 about when Jesus healed the ten lepers. Out of the ten that were healed, only one came back to Jesus to thank him and give praise to God for the healing that took place. This man was a Samaritan. I've heard this story probably a hundred times, but this morning I was struck by something that I had never noticed before.

These men come to Jesus to be healed of their leprosy. Instead of healing them on the spot, Jesus tells them to go present themselves to the priest. In their day, lepers were outcasts. They were "unclean." Because leprosy was so contagious, lepers were forced to divorce themselves from society and form their own groups so as to avoid spreading their leprosy to other people. If by some miracle, someone's leprosy were go into remission, the leper could not just instantly enter back into society. There were safeguards in place. The leper must present himself to the priest and the priest would examine him and declare him either clean or unclean.

So Jesus tells these men to go present themselves to the priest for examination. He hadn't even healed them yet. But "as they were going" they began being healed of their leprosy. It was the faith in responding to Jesus command that activated the healing.

Now, I've noticed all of that before. None of that was new to me. What I didn't notice was the timing of the one who came back to Jesus. Many English translations miss it. About the one who returned the NIV says that "when he saw he was healed, came back." Rather than "came back," the literal rendering is "turned back." Do you get it yet? This wasn't some time later after he had been to the priest. He didn't have to track Jesus down to thank him. As he was going (to the priest) he was healed, and then he turned back (before he ever reached the priest) to tell Jesus how grateful he was and to give praise to God. The others were primarily concerned with getting their lives back. They had one thought: to get to the priest, to be declared clean, and enter back into a normal life. But for this one man, all that stuff became secondary. He knew he had to get back to Jesus. The thankfulness in his heart was exploding and he had to release upon the one who had brought him healing.

You see this man was a Samaritan. The Jews and the Samaritans hated each other. He had no reason to believe that Jesus would even speak to him, much less heal him. Much like the American church today, the many of the Jews were plauged with a sense of entitlement. Sure, these other nine men were grateful, but the probably figured that if Jesus was capable of healing them, then they had it coming to them. They were God's chose people and if it was available, they were entitled to their healing. But this Samaritan had no such sense of entitlement. Out of the ten, he and he alone recognized the grace that was being bestowed upon him. He had a true sense of how great his need was.

I'm going to write more on this in the coming days and maybe weeks, but for now I'll give you a sneak preview of where my head is at. Here (I think) is the formula:

The greater the need
The greater the grace
The greater the gratitude

Here is what I am asking myself right now and how I am examining myself. How great is my need? Or maybe: how great do I perceive my need to be? Do I have a proper perspective of myself before a holy God? Do I express it my gratefullness?