Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast aka Cinematography and Controversy and why to watch it

Unless you live under a rock (and if you do, thanks so much for coming out to read this!), you should be aware that Disney is releasing their live action remake of Beauty and the Beast round about now. That's big news in itself, especially considering the enormous success of Cinderella back in 2015 but the last few weeks the buzz around this new release is that its being hyped as containing the first openly gay Disney character and according to the director, ""a nice, exclusively gay moment". Naturally, waves of outrage are surging through the Christian community and equally naturally, every film / book issue isn't REALLY an issue until all bloggers have fully expressed their opinion (whether wanted or not) so here I am.

Let's all take a deep breath. Yes, I was being rather sarcastic a sentence or two ago but to tell you the truth, this whole shindig is making me roll my eyes somewhat. Having said that, I realise there are people out there who are genuinely concerned and others who are probably unsure so I'm explaining why I definitely will be going to watch it.

So why is everyone so upset? From what I understand and hear, Christians especially, are unhappy with Disney's decision because it 1. ruins a family film, 2. Disney are pushing their gay "agenda" and 3. it's glorifying sin. If there's any I've missed, feel free to post in the comments and I can address them there.

1. It ruins a family film. As far as I know, there's only one scene which really displays homosexuality and its fairly minor so 95% of the film shouldn't be ruined! It's also a fantastic opportunity to explore this topic with kids and have that conversation around homosexuality and what the Bible teaches. It's better that they hear it from you than someone else and this really could be the moment.  Plus, it's a great way to show them a very clear example of a movie portraying something God says is wrong as right as they will inevitably come across other similar messages and perhaps be confused. Also, I really hope you're not boycotting Beauty and the Beast and letting your children watch Downton Abbey because that is slightly hypocritical ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Not having a go, just a reminder to everyone, including me, that as Christians we should be consistent.)

2. Disney are pushing their gay "agenda". I would be more surprised if they weren't at this stage but that still doesn't mean we shouldn't see it.  Yes, perhaps, Walt Disney would never have allowed it but he's long since gone.  Disney is not a Christian company and they are not run by Christians, so why do we expect them to hold Christian values? A whole lot of of different agendas are being constantly pushed upon us in films - euthanasia, open relationships, nudity and more are all being portrayed as normal in many modern films. We shouldn't be surprised at it but expect it.  Jesus calls us to go into the world and to missionally embrace culture (my pastor's coinage here not mine). This does not mean that we participate in or applaud sin but rather, engage with those around us rather than boycott everything that offends us and cut ourselves off from others outside our Christian bubble. I read an excellent article when Me Before You was released which I can't find now talking about how we need to watch it so we can have meaningful conversations with others about these issues. The same is true here.  Yes, "agendas" are always going to be pushed - whether right or wrong - but with the Bible and Holy Spirit, we know what is right and wrong and should not be adversely affected.

3. It's glorifying sin. Because bestiality is not? Ok, so maybe you're thinking that the beast bit is ok because it's so fantastic no one could possibly think of it as real. On the other hand, homosexuality is much more common in today's society so it's more dangerous to glorify it. Well, God makes it pretty clear that sin is sin whatever it is. Yes, something that is wrong is potentially being shown as a positive and good thing. Yes, sin may well be glorified in this movie but you know what? I think Jesus would go watch it because (see point above), He engaged with culture. He went to the places where the super religious righteous people would not go and associated with the people they would never acknowledge to win their hearts. I'm watching this movie not only because I think I'll enjoy it but because it's an opportunity to experience what those around me are interested in and to better understand and win their hearts.
Picture from Risen which is well worth a watch!
Finally, we're arguing over this scene before the movie has even been released. I've found from experience, that you can't judge very accurately if you don't know ALL the details so I'm keeping a very open mind for now. I love the trailer, I love the lead actors and I can't wait to watch it! Maybe I'm preaching to the converted here but my advice would be to consider the facts wisely and carefully rather than making an emotional and rushed response and make sure that whatever you do or don't do, it's ultimately for God and His glory.

As for me, I'm going with friends to a gorgeous old fashioned cinema with velvety seats and chandeliers to watch it on the big screen with a fancy dinner at a posh restaurant after. Bring it on!

Friday, 3 March 2017

March Reading List + Apology

How, HOW is it March already? The new year started just a week or two ago, surely? But no, time paces heedlessly on and in a couple of weeks, we'll be a quarter of the way through 2017. It's scary how fast time moves as you get older although this year it is exciting because every day brings me closer to my USA trip! (More to come on that front๐Ÿ˜Š). First things first though, last post I promised a review of The Lizzy Bennet Diaries for Hamlette's "I Love Jane Austen" week and I'm afraid it never eventuated. I know I keep saying it, but real life is very full on at the moment and even though I started my review, I never got round to finishing it. If you're reading this Hamlette, I do apologise! One day....

The onset of March also means that my first month of attempting dedicated reading is over and I come to report on my progress and also set this month's goal.

New: The Hobbit
I tried it before and couldn't make it past the first few pages but this time I got through and I actually rather enjoyed it! I struggled a bit with the poetry throughout but right from the onset, loved the quality of writing. Talking about literature? The Hobbit is exactly that and the skill of word use interwoven with the darkness of life, passion of the brave and amusing touches of English humour enthralled me - and well, made me pretty jealous actually. I wish I could write like that! I probably will go back and watch all The Hobbit movies now. I've only gotten through the first one before, mainly because I've never really enjoyed Richard Armitage's acting. Sacrilegious, I know.

Old: Yes there were some of these including The Golden Road by LM Montgomery of which I finally bought my own copy! Browsing the book section in second hand shops is ALWAYS a good idea.

Rhyme: Um... reading poetry hasn't been my thing of late. I used to love writing poetry and reading it so I really should get back into it. This is my way of confessing that I did NOT read a book of poetry over February.  Most remiss of me. I'm trying to feel guilty.

Soul: Good and bad news on this front. The good is that I kept up better than I expected with the Bible readings but the bad is that of late, I've gotten out of my routine (not completely my fault) and they've fallen by the wayside a bit.

New month, new beginning, new hope. Here is March's reading list:

New: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Old: Jane of Lantern Hill by LM Montgomery (I read it recently but it's one of my very favourites of hers so why not get a double dose)
Rhyme: A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Soul: Keep up with the weekly readings for March + finish Mark's gospel.

Any suggestions for April?