Coffee Talk: Avatar & the Big Picture

WARNING: If you haven’t seen the movie, this discussion contains spoilers.

I heard the buzz and reviews; then saw the awards and accolades roll in like a flood, but I was completely against going to see Avatar in the movie theater. For starters, I saw blue people with pointed ears, and long tales swinging through trees in the previews. All of that weird action screamed sci-fi (and I do not like sci-fi). The movie was also pretty lengthy, and that did not work in its factor. This has been a very long and challenging year, and I did not want to commit $10 and three hours straining my eyes for a 3-D “experience.” So, I made an agreement with myself: “I’ll get around to watching it someday whenever it came out on DVD.”

The DVD hit the stores and I was hoodwinked into watching it almost immediately. As I sat down to a relaxing evening of writing, two friends arrived at the house with the temptation in hand. There was so much peer pressure that I resorted to popcorn in the microwave and reclining on the leather sofa as the word AVATAR appeared on the big screen.

So there we were, ten minutes into the movie and I discover that the lead character, Jack Sully, is a disabled Marine and former war veteran. I’m loving him already! Then I discover that he has a bit of a “don’t mess wit me” attitude; I like that too! He also has a gentle and humble way about him. Before the first hour, we see him struggle with loyalty and love, big decisions and small ones, mission accomplishment, and loving the earth that God has given us. He is a man of compassion, and I am cheering for him right away.

Then we meet the female warrior, Neytiri. If anything ever goes down, I want her in my corner. She was a strong warrior, wise, observant, confident, and very passionate. She reminded me of my days of service in the Marine Corps, where I was almost fearless. I mean, I wasn’t interested in jumping out of trees or airplanes or anything crazy like that. However, I loved to work-out. I could run fast, jump high, push and pull-up with the best of them. The Marine Corps values physical fitness, and as a woman, your physical abilities demand respect. So, I’m all in at this point in the movie.

Then we spend the next hour or so being reminded of the realities of life: to love and be loved, to be hurt and then forgive again, to be greedy and self-centered, to be prideful and righteous, to be humble and defeated, and to make hard decisions.

I have now watched it twice, and what I believe to be the turning point in the movie continues to stand out to me. Jack sees the great Toruk flying high and dominating the sky. Jack said, “Toruk is the ‘baddest’ bird in the sky, why would he ever look up?” As humans, we are just like that bird. We fly high on our ideals of money and fame and power and respect. Maybe we fly high on our mental capabilities, our advancements in science, medicine, and technology. We fly high on our intellect, our philosophy, our psychology. We are “bad” people, who have it going on! Why would we ever look up to our creator, God?

One answer to that question is because, like the movie, there is always an unexpected enemy, an obstacle, or a hardship waiting in the winds to attack! Eventually, we will all go through a storm, take a stand, or go to war! We all end up fighting something or someone anyway.

The true question is: What or whose side are you fighting on?

Natasha’s Study: SDWSC Chapter 2

 

SDWSC Official Homepage http://www.sdwsc.com/

Scripture Reference: Gospel of John 12: 1-7, Matthew 26: 6-13, Mark 14: 3-9

Mary of Bethany took action; she did something…

Discussion Point 2: “She acted out of her love.  She knew that Jesus loved her, and she loved him back.  She lived loved.  That’s the whole point of the gospel, isn’t it?” Elisa Morgan, page 12

Yes, that is the point of the gospel.  You believe and therefore, you do.  We do not act out of obligation or earning; we do so out of love.  We know that we are loved and blessed, and through us, the world will be blessed.

Mary knew that Jesus loved her, and she seized the opportunity to reciprocate that love by anointing him for burial.  None of us will be able to rub oil on Jesus’ feet.  Then again, I don’t know, there may be spas in Heaven.  On the other hand, we have been given the privilege to express our love for Christ, by the way that we love and treat others.

“Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King (Jesus) will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the lease of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 37-40 emphasis added, New International Version

We express our love for Christ by the way that we love others.  We have several opportunities (some of which are listed in the above mentioned scriptures) to express our love to God and others.  Sometimes we miss opportunities simply because we don’t seize the moments.  God has already equipped us with every gift and talent needed to respond in a way that would be pleasing to him.  Expressing our love towards God is the very reason that there is a diversity of skills among us.

So, if you are gifted in teaching, then teach well…serving, serve well…cooking, cook well.  Say “Hello.” Smile.  Listen. Care.  Encourage.  Be a Peacemaker.  Don’t miss these small opportunities to express love to another.  One small jester may result in a big change in someone else’s life.

How do we miss this element of the gospel?  What if we each seized our “moments” to express love?

World View: No More Fairy Tales

 

We now know that according to Iran’s Embassy in London, the Iranian government no longer plans to stone Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the forty-three year old woman who was accused of adultery.  Since the time of her arrest under Islamic law in 2006, she was publically flogged and then imprisoned.  Stoning for a woman in this situation requires that she is buried up to her chest, and stones are then thrown at her head until she dies a slow and gruesome death.  According to the Amnesty International Report, “The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.”

CNN link for reference: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/07/05/iran.stoning/index.html?iref=allsearch

Some are encouraged that the culture of the Iranian society is changing, as reflected by the unwavering support that Sakineh has received from the both of her children (most surprising her son, who has been credited for this particular case receiving international support).  The fact is, however, that the situation has not changed, and that is sad.  Of course, this case is not completely resolved, and within the past few years there have been several others like it.

There is much that we could discuss here.  Please allow me to narrow the focus of the discussion a bit.  In reading this horror of today’s reality, I am reminded that this is the same culture of the women that we have come to know, love, and cherish in the bible.  We claim to love them but do not see their situations clearly, and therefore, cannot understand them completely.  The society and culture revealed in the bible does not display a safe place for women.  Somehow we read the bible and conjure false images that, Esther married a king and they lived happily ever after; Ruth married Boaz and they lived happily ever after.

That is simply not the case.  When Esther said, “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.  And if I perish, I perish (Esther 5: 16B),” she meant that literally.  In the book of Ruth in the bible, the widowed Naomi was bitter because she had a death sentence.  Her husband and two sons (ex. her financial support system) had died, and she was old, therefore, not a prime candidate to marry again.  Had God not intervened in her situation, her best hope would have been to live the remainder of her years as a poor beggar.

Tamar could have shared Sakineh’s death sentence.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, could have also been sentenced to death for her accusation that she had conceived a child of the Holy Spirit.  Thank God that Joseph received a message from the angel and did not accuse her of adultery.  The woman caught in adultery in John 8:3-11 was certainly on her way to a stoning, until Jesus intervened and challenged the person who had never sinned to cast the first stone are her.  It is not until we see the gravity of these situations, that we understand the true significance of the deliverance that comes with God intervenes and when Jesus steps on the scene.

Sakineh’s case has reminded us to pray for God’s deliverance from the injustice that women suffer all across the world.

Will you share your prayers here?

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