The Two Lives of Mr. Thomas Anderson

'Film Matrix: a choice in your life' photo (c) 2006, surfstyle - license:

The Matrix is a 1999 film directed by the (then) Wachowski brothers, and starring Keanu Reeves as Thomas Anderson/Neo. At a point early in the story, Mr. Anderson has been arrested, and is being questioned by an agent. The agent, Mr. Smith, says to him, “You’ve been living two lives, Mr. Anderson. By day, as a developer for a respectful software company. By night, you operate under the hacker alias, Neo. Only one of these lives has a future, Mr. Anderson.”

Now within the context of the movie that agent–Smith–is trying to scare Anderson into conformity, keep him a slave to the Matrix. In our world, the paradigm is parallels that of the story: the world, the flesh, and the devil comprise the wool the which has been cleverly pulled over our eyes. As in the world of the Matrix, we have to escape the seemingly gravitational pull of a world that wants nothing more than conformance with the status quo. Like Neo in the movie, Jesus has come into our world and upset that Apple cart.

He came blasting into a culture which prided itself on conformity with the rules, and turned everything upon its head. He said the we needed to be “born again,” to die to ourselves. That indeed it was only on death that we would find life. That it was for freedom that He came to set us free.

We, like Mr. Thomas Anderson, could continue to confirm, toe the line, play it safe. Or we could launch our coracles out into the vast ocean of grace. The late, great C.S Lewis said that “our passions are not too strong, but too weak. We muck about with drink and sex when all the pleasures of Heaven lay before us.”

As the Bible says, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end of the ways thereof is death.” Put another way, and in the words of Bob Dylan, we’ve “gotta serve somebody.”

The question, then is who? Who will we serve?

Self (the devil), or God? “Only one of these lives has a future.”

Choose you this day.

“Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

What say you? Speak on it?

Noah Will Open Doors


Call me strange, or old-fashioned, but I strongly believe when one wants to get one's facts straight one goes to the source. Much digital ink has been spilled regarding the upcoming biblical epic, Noah (starring Russell Crow, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Emma Watson), how it is not particularly biblical, etc. We all know that controversy drives the press, nets clicks and impressions.

It seems however that this controversy is more of a non-troversy, because (and this surprised me) Paramount hired an honest-to-goodness biblical adviser. A man who has been involved since the beginning, a man who (in his own words) has "read probably more than 10 drafts of the script, given longwinded feedback on each, seen every piece of footage that was shot and been flown around the world ... twice."

Remember what I wrote above about going straight to the source? In this case, that source is the man I alluded to in the preceding paragraph: John Snowden. Mr. Snowden (no relation to the infamous Edward), prior to consulting on the Noah film for the past two years, worked in vocational youth ministry in the Los Angeles area. In an editorial for the Christian Post, he gives his careful, measured, informed opinion that People of Faith Can Embrace Noah.

Yes, that's right, the biblical consultant on this multimillion dollar epic has weighed in on this debate that's been raging almost since the picture was announced. He makes a convincing case that this film will open doors, that it does not mishandle scripture, that it presents God at the front and center. Rather than reiterate his case, I'll say this: knowing a thing, or two, about story, I understand that a story at its most basic is about a character who wants something, and undergoes conflict to get it. In this upcoming film, Tubal-Cain (as portrayed by Ray Winstone) personifies the wickedness of mankind, giving the story its antagonist (and Noah's primary conflict). Put another way, any story without conflict would be boring. As author Donald Miller says, one could write a story about a man who wants a Volvo, but who would be engaged in such a tale?

Here, in Noah, the stakes are much higher: the fate of humanity is on the line. So Noah comes into conflict the wickedness of mankind (as personified in the person of Tubal-Cain). His life, and the lives of his family members, are on the line... In what is arguably a post-christian culture, giving people--the young, the old, the indifferent--a story into which they can sink their teeth is a good thing. It will open doors of discussion for we who are people faith to walk through. Rather than criticize Noah, let's rather embrace the opportunity afforded us.

And rather than editorialize any further, allow me to again direct you to Mr. Snowden's excellent analysis: Why People of Faith Can Embrace Noah

Thanks for reading!

Win a Prize Pack from the Son of God


Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (producer of The Voice, The Apprentice, Shark Tank, and others), the couple who brought us the Bible Miniseries last year, now have a feature film about the life of Jesus called Son of God. The film opens this Friday, February 28th, 2014.

As a person of faith I’m certainly interested in cinematic depictions of Our Lord, and indeed how He is in fact depicted. To be perfectly honest, I did not see all of The Bible when it was on; what I did see left me scratching my head. For instance, in Scripture Jesus didn’t enter the tomb of Lazarus. But in The Bible, He does-kissing the dead man on the forehead. For my money, commanding a corpse to rise is dramatic enough all in itself (without any need for embellishment).

I’m certain there were other changes as well. And I understand that neither T.V., nor movies, are the same kind of medium as the written word. That changes may sometimes have to be made for time, for flow, etc. But they should at least make sense.

Anyway. I’m likely going to see Son of God because it appears to be the kind of movie that I can take my family to (unlike The Passion of the Christ, which would be too violent for my little girl). Which is my roundabout way of saying that we who are believers should at least try to support fellow believers who are trying to make wholesome art.

That’s my $.02.

Are you going to see Son of God?

Comment below for a chance to win a prize pack consisting of:

An official tie-in novelization
A soundtrack CD
A 1000 piece puzzle.

Thanks for reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There Are Tools, and There Are Tools

A screwdriver is a tool. It’s used to screw things in, or out. It’s not a hammer–though on occasion, when I’ve not had a hammer handy, I’ve used a screwdriver handle to pound nails. It might, or might not, work.

It’s not the best tool for that job.

Just like hammers, and screwdrivers, the Internet is a tool. One wouldn’t use a Phillips head screwdriver to look up restaurant reviews on Yelp. No, for that one uses the Internet. Specifically, one uses either a smartphone app, or a web browser, to access that information.

This may seem a tad silly, but bear with me. I have a point to make:

Just as there is such a thing as the right tool for the right job, so also is there such a thing as a tool misapplied. I mentioned above how I’ve on occasion used a screwdriver for purposes other than which it was designed. Chances are one can get hurt wrongly using a tool. For instance, a meat cleaver cleaves meat–but it can be used to kill. Is the cleaver at fault? No. As an inanimate object it is entirely amoral.

It’s a just a tool.

The culpability resides with the person who has misused that tool. Likewise, guns are tools. Only when handled can they become deadly.

The Internet can be likened to a loaded gun insofar as it is a tool–one which can used for good (looking up useful information), or ill (exploring the darkest corners of human experience). Just because a tool has the potential to be misused does not make that item a bad tool. Because there is such thing.

It’s a tool which has been put to inappropriate use. Something used for nefarious means. (I’m not here addressing items specifically manufacturered to cause harm. Yet even those things are entirely amoral–for it is in their application that they cause said harm).

And the culpability lies with the human who, in so doing, has made of themself the tool.

A tool of sin.

There are tools, and there are tools.

Which one will you be?

Tell Me About Your Cellphone Service

My wife and I are currently under contract with Sprint–whose coverage has been rather less than stellar. Unless, under their “Network Vision” upgrade push, things get drastically better, we’ll likely jump ship in the middle of the year. (At this point, I need to disclose that it’s my fault my family and I are with Sprint. It was a big cost savings. But, as the saying goes, “ya gets what ya pays for”).

Could you:

Tell me who you’ve got

How your service has been

About your coverage,  please?

As we’re looking to make an informed decision, your input truly helps.

Thanks much!

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