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Archive for May, 2008

No, the movie wasn’t like the book, and I think some of the original intent was lost by obscuring it in more introspective and mature themes. But taken as a story alone it had merit to rightly excite the imagination on some points. Perhaps some will read the book who would not have otherwise.

I can hardly believe that I have seen two movies in the movie house in less than one month. It is amazing on several fronts. I could comment on several aspects and themes within the movie but one theme and two scenes most caught my attention. Both scenes involve the subway station. The first one, escaping out of that gray world of immature fights and flirts, was the most visually striking of the two, but it was the later that forced the deeper message on me. In that instant just before passing between the tree trunks from Narnia to the railway tunnel in London, knowing what bliss and purpose you have, to understand what mundane and ridiculous existence you return to is so stark a contrast. Then to be a moment later clothed not in royal attire, feared and loved by all, but eyeing fellow travelers with suspicion and disdain at their sad attempts. But wait. This is a narrow view of the transition. You now have a newer, higher perspective on your mundane existence. You are a king, a queen, and a son of the Most High. You are looking into this difficult world with eyes of confidence in your calling, pity for those unknown by the Most High, hope for your future, and purpose in your every choice and action. For this reason the interpretation of Susan kissing the handsome Caspian and then being accosted by the schoolboy is only half correct. For whatever distractions C.S. Lewis has Susan falling to later on, she is fully enamored of Aslan when in Narnia. In the mundane, out of control world you serve the Most High, not thoughts of blissful relationships. As Lewis said in his sermon, “The Weight of Glory” concerning “beauty, the memory of our own past [of a blissful moment]”, “they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy…For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world.” But what does Lewis say attracts us to that world? “To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son-it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain.” He goes on to describe a second sense of glory, “to shine as the sun”. “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words-to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” And how does that effect our everyday? Lewis says, “A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside.” Ah, the retreating walls of the subway into Narnia, heaven. But no! Narnia in all the stories is not heaven. The new Narnia beyond the thatched, stable door in “The Last Battle” represents heaven. So what is Narnia and when am I going to answer my last question? Narnia is a higher plane we live on like the Promised Land (more on that another day), closer to the Savior, more attuned to our position and purpose. In the everyday existence, Lewis reminds, we must “remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” We await total heaven but let us live in the higher plane of His presence looking in on the our everyday lives with new eyes of seriousness and relaxed confidence.

I urge you to read “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis. It is easily found online.

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In the movie “Prince Caspian”, conflict and near ruin come because two important characters clash. The first character, Peter, is the oldest of four and was once the high king of Narnia. The other character, Caspian, is an orphaned, only child, who has had his throne robbed. The clash comes when Caspian, who’s the one who positioned his troops in and around Aslan’s How, wants to stay and defend his stronghold. However, Peter wants Caspian to move his army to attack the Telmarine’s castle. Caspian feels jealousy for Peter’s already-stated authority, feeling that he should command his own army. In the end he gives in to Peter’s plan. While the plan is already underway, Caspian decides to change Peter’s plans, feeling that his role is too small, by saving Doctor Cornelius. Caspian, after nearly killing his uncle, Miraz, gets a horse for himself, the Doctor, and one for Peter. Peter, thinking that his own skill and valor can win the battle, hangs on to that feeling at the cost of ‘his’ troops. Peter, finally seeing that the battle is lost, calls a retreat, but part of ‘his’ army gets trapped and killed by the Telmarines. When they get back to Aslan’s How, Peter and Caspian flare violently at each other. Peter, who feels the blow to his selfish pride, is somewhat humbled by his loss of his self-glory in the losing of a battle. He is angry at his own mistakes and Caspian’s, and he takes his anger out on Caspian. Caspian is angry at the loss of his troops, and thinking it useful he points out in a very bad tempered way that if they had followed his plan his troops would still be alive. Both Peter and Caspian are brave, skillful warriors, noble in action and speech and have taken upon themselves great responsibility. Peter loves his brother and sisters and the land of Narnia, but he is somewhat proud. Up until recently Caspian has not felt love for anyone except Doctor Cornelius. Caspian is somewhat bad tempered. In the end both Peter and Caspian are humbled. Peter is humbled when Edmund, not him, shatters the chance of the White Witch’s return, and when Susan and Lucy remind him that Aslan is the way to victory. Caspian is humbled when he realizes that his hate is destroying him. In the very end Caspian regains his rightful throne and Peter returns to his own world. The conflict was resolved when Peter forgives Caspian and lets him keep the High King’s sword.

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Polished Regression

A well known person visited my neighborhood today.  There was much ado.  He resided in the halls of power not so long ago and would dwell there again though not in the lime light.  His presence 4 short blocks from my humble abode did cause considerable congestion without and within, oh, and curiosity, too, to be truthful.  But I could not bring myself to be involved other than to pass by on my way to the grocery store for some requested crackers. The area was crowded.  As I thought to scan the titles of my poems this evening, the following one seemed apropos.  See if you agree by clicking on Is this how? Why the vagueness? I don’t know, perhaps to make you think or because the demise is vague and subtle.

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