Thinking Out Loud

August 20, 2013

Guest Post: Why We Love Our Hollywood Heroes

My guest blogger today writes anonymously under the name Flagrant Regard. There are some reasons for this, which may or may not involve the Witness Protection Program. Or maybe it’s another one of those deals where somebody famous like J. K. Rowling pens some material under an alternative byline. Or perhaps it’s a lot less interesting than either of those possibilities…  You can catch his writing at — wait for it — Flagrant Regard.

Why We Love our Hollywood HeroesHow many times have you seen this in a Hollywood flick:

Man falls in love with woman, woman appears to have her sights on or a commitment to someone else.

The smitten man – always the story’s protagonist – does his best to win the woman’s affections and to become her ‘one and only’.  But, as the plot goes, the woman’s potential suitor finds himself in a losing battle with the other man in her life, or so it appears. And then of course, there comes this powerful moment in the story where he relinquishes his pursuit of the woman he’s in love with and, burying his hurt, stoically tells her something like, “I love you so much, I can’t afford to see you unhappy.  I want you to be with the man you truly love, and if it ain’t me babe, then at least I know you’re content.”

In some movies the protagonist gets another kick at love’s can as the woman in the story realizes what a truly unselfish man she’s throwing away and, forsaking the safe and familiar, falls hard and passionately for the new guy.  At other times (but is less rarely seen in modern American films) the pursuing male wanders off dejected and alone as he sadly accepts his destiny –  not being with the woman he’s in love with.

In either outcome, we value the protagonist as a true, unwavering and selfless hero who wants the best for the one he loves even at the cost of his own happiness.  Now that’s a Hollywood hero!

We cherish our silver screen heroic archetypes, especially in stories like the above, because of the selflessness involved; the sacrifice that springs from genuine love.  As we watch the drama unfold, we find ourselves wanting to believe in that noble kind of love because we know it’s the right kind to fully embrace and which also ‘sets the bar’ for ourselves.

But what of our heroism with respect to our following Jesus?  How much more should we be ready to sacrifice our selfish wants and desires – no matter how painful it is – in order to make sure the God we claim to love is pleased?  Are we willing to give up all or, like the rich young ruler that Jesus encountered who was not willing to give up that which he held most dear to him, we too walk away without God’s blessing or true fulfillment in our lives?

My wife and I heard these wonderful words of Martin Luther from a preacher just the other day:

“A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.”

In order to gain Christ, we are told it will mean us losing our very lives and sometimes walking away from the things we value most.  Will we walk away from a relationship that God’s word states is not right or will we blithely dismiss the clear instructions of the Scriptures in order to suit our desires or ideals?  Will we say in our prayers, “I want You to be pleased with everything I think, say and do, even if it means my sacrificing the things and/or beliefs I hold on to (which I think matter most).”?

Loving God often means struggle and persecution, but it is ALWAYS about forsaking all in order to gain Christ’s blessing, once we’ve been saved by His grace.  If you view the Gospel in any other light, you are not yet a beneficiary of the truth.  Yes, God is all about love, but he’s also about holy living, exemplary behaviour as befitting His people and He expects TRUE REPENTANCE:  an about face in our hearts toward God and a resetting of our minds that enables us to seek out what God’s will is for every aspect of  our life.

Do you want to be a hero?  Do you want to have the audience of angels and saints in heaven – and your heavenly Father himself – cheering for you?  Then be holy (sacred, morally upright, set apart), be seeking God’s will and be ready at all times to give your all no matter what the cost is to yourself.  This is how we win in this life and in the next.

© Flagrant Regard, 2012

“On His journey vast crowds attended Him, towards whom He turned and said, “If any one is coming to me who does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be a disciple of mine. No one who does not carry his own cross and come after me can be a disciple of mine. “Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not sit down first and calculate the cost, asking if he has the means to finish it? — lest perhaps, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to finish, all who see it shall begin to jeer at him, saying, ‘This man began to build, but could not finish.’ Or what king, marching to encounter another king in war, does not first sit down and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand men to meet the one who is advancing against him with twenty thousand? If not, while the other is still a long way off, he sends messengers and sues for peace. Just as no one of you who does not detach himself from all that belongs to him can be a disciple of mine.”
(Luk 14:25-33)

“Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with patient endurance the race that lies before us, simply fixing our gaze upon Jesus, our Prince Leader in the faith, who will also award us the prize. He, for the sake of the joy which lay before Him, patiently endured the cross, looking with contempt upon its shame, and afterwards seated Himself– where He still sits–at the right hand of the throne of God. Therefore, if you would escape becoming weary and faint-hearted, compare your own sufferings with those of Him who endured such hostility directed against Him by sinners.”
(Heb 12:1-3)

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November 27, 2012

Two-And-A-Half Men Actor Says, “Don’t Watch”

The entertainment press today is all over the story of Angus T. Jones, who gets more than a third-of-a-million U.S. dollars per episode to play Jake on the Chuck Lorre series Two-And-A-Half Men; a role he’s no longer comfortable with. Yes, this is the same show that once starred Charlie Sheen until he appeared to either go off his meds or take too many. Probably the latter. But Jones’ rant is calm, collected and rational. And his command of scripture is both impressive and authoritative.

I’ve seen some press coverage of Angus Jones over the past year and he’s always portrayed as a very refined, decent young man whose mom sometimes accompanies his studio appearances, to the point where I once questioned out loud what he was doing acting on that particular show. Entertainment Tonight’s coverage of remarks he made recently seem to link him to a Seventh Day Adventist church, which is confirmed in an update to his Wikipedia listing.

But the blog specializing in mainstream coverage or religious stories, Get Religion, notes that the interview containing the “Don’t watch” message was posted to YouTube by Forerunner Christian Church, whose webpage advertises upcoming meetings with two names known to charismatics as well as some readers here, Mike Bickle and singer Misty Edwards.  But did Get Religion get it wrong? The show he was interviewed on is called The Forerunner Chronicles.  Similar name.  It is clearly an SDA-friendly site — see the about page — and outwardly bears no resemblance to the church GR linked to; however, the SDA denomination says that the website and the program host aren’t part of their body.

Jones is not scheduled for the next two episodes, which were scheduled well in advance of what’s taken place.

The video itself is rather strange, cutting from an extreme close up at the 0:22 mark mid-sentence to a wide two-shot where he suddenly wearing glasses; with more of this weirdness at 4:53.  I’ve never seen anything like that before.

But I digress.

It’s wonderful to see the young actor take a stand. The show, like so many other prime time sitcoms, is filth. As far as I can remember, I’ve never got much past the five-minute mark on the handful of times I’ve watched.

“You can’t be a God-fearing person and be on a show like that;” he concludes. So wither his contract? Will Chuck Lorre release him from the show? How can you have two-and-a-half without the half? Here’s some wisdom from Chuck posted on the latest vanity card — the production slide that appears for one second at the end of his programs:

I’ve been told that if you change your mind, you change the world – or at least the way you experience it. Let’s take a moment to examine that. The presumption is, if you thought the world was a hostile, ugly place filled with awful people doing awful things, that is what you’d see. Your mind would naturally seek out confirmation for its preconceived ideas (e.g., if you’re intent on buying a red car, as you go about your day you’ll see lots of red cars). If, however, you were able to sincerely change your mind and see that we are all God in drag, that we are the conscious aspects of a perfect universe which had to create us so we could bear witness and stand in awe before its loving magnificence, then that is the soul-shaking reality you’d be greeted with each and every moment of each and every day. In other words, it is entirely our choice as to what kind of world we live in. With a simple decision, we can suffer in the darkness or play in the light. We can be angry, frightened and enslaved, or loving, joyous and free.

Well that clears up everything.


10:30 PM — UNFOLDING STORY UPDATE: Angus has moved into damage-control mode with a somewhat qualified and somewhat limited apology concerning his remarks. More at MSNBC. Meanwhile Charlie Sheen declares the show is “cursed.” More here.

WED. 2:00 PM – FURTHER UPDATE: Journalist Maria Cowell has asked all the right questions in this interview posted at Christianity Today.

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