Friday, May 23, 2008

Prince Caspian Sanitized

Despite Doug Phillips of Vision Forum having denounced C.S.Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series as promoting worship of pagan gods, Lewis' writings in this series oozes Christ. By oozing I mean that every page, scene, theme, and creature or person points to Christ--His dominion, rule, presence, and importance in every day life. If it is not portraying one of these aspects it is revealing the antithesis. When you read the books, you can see Christ and His centrality to each part of the story. The Narnia stories are about Christ and the Christian life, both the simplicity that is in Christ and also the deep, rich, layers of truth that is waiting to be mined. Lewis wanted to write in such a way that children, in particular, would be learning Scriptural truths, doctrines, and the lessons of Christian living without having to be whacked on the head with it.

Yet now we have conservative Christians saying that we cannot and should not read any story that might have magic, witches, classical characters, and so forth. Which would include the Bible if they actually stopped to think about it: for example, the Witch of Endor, the sun standing still or someone being raised from the dead. After all, if you had seen Christ perform a miracle would that not have seemed pretty "magical" to you in person??? But let's consider: a newborn baby, hummingbirds, the sunrise, the sounds of the ocean, and an endless number of other magical, wonderful, amazing, startling things in our King's world.

My main point, however, is that while the books are fabulous, the new Prince Caspian movie has taken all the Christianity of the book and sanitized it. Disney Studios and Walden Media wiped all the Christianity contained in the books out and replaced it with a "faith is nice" action story filled with a teenage girl playing he-woman and killing grown male warriors with out flinching. They had to fabricate teenage angst and pride in Peter who is in competition with Caspian. And to really make it a lame story they HAD to put some knowing looks and romance between Susan and Caspian and add a pathetic, totally out of place kiss between them. Basically they took what was an incredible story and rewrote it entirely only keeping a few of the threads and scenes for interest. Ultimately, Prince Caspian the movie, is not the same story at all. They are accurate in saying at the beginning that the movie is BASED on the book by C.S.Lewis. The names are the same, but the story lines have been altered to influence the innocent to deny God and Christianity.

Granted, there might be interesting special effects and graphics. But many of the elements in the movie are repeats of previous ones. For instance: does everyone have to have an Indiana Jones style oil trough that lights up with a torch????

The conservative Christian community has been in an uproar over the "Golden Compass" books and movie and that author's declared motive to teach children to hate God. Hopefully there will be an uproar over how the Prince Caspian movie denies Him too, but I doubt it. Especially since the movie version of Prince Caspian reflects the watered down gospel which modern American Christians are glad to adopt because it is so inoffensive and makes every one have that "feel good" sensation. They look for the entertainment value, instead of searching for "the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (See Romans 11:33) Christians need to start to develop a taste for the rich, endlessly powerful gospel feast and to exert themselves to live it, day in and day out with fervor.
In excerpts from the book:
"--the feast came into existence--sides of roasted meat that filled the grove with delicious smell, and wheaten cakes and oaten cakes, honey and many-colored sugars and cream as thick as porridge and as smooth as still water, peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, pears, grapes, strawberries, raspberries--pyramids and cataracts of fruit. Then, in great wooden cups and bowls and mazers, wreathed with ivy, came the wines; dark, thick ones like syrups of mulberry juice, and clear red ones like red jellies liquefied, and yellow wines and green wines and yellow-green and greenish-yellow....thus Aslan feasted the Narnians till long after the sunset had died away, and the stars had come out; and the great fire, now hotter but less noisy, shone like a beacon in the dark woods, and the frightened Telmarines saw it from far away and wondered what it might mean. The best thing of all about this feast was that there was no breaking up or going away..."
This passage shows the feast Aslan provides us: rich with endless delights and joys never ending. Yet we tend to settle for watery products of the world's imagination (like the Prince Caspian movie) instead of holding fast to Aslan and the rich gifts of truth He wants us to grasp.

Perhaps someday we will see the real Prince Caspian, the true Kings and Queens of Narnia, and Aslan himself portrayed accurately on screen. Meanwhile, I and my children will keep re-reading the books.

posted by--Queen Lucy

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Delicate Arch

We had an extraordinary time on our recent trip to southern Utah. We traveled all over, including to Natural Bridges, Zion, Escalante, and several others. Zion was my favorite park as far as overall beauty and wonder, but one of my most favorite hikes we went on was to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. My mom has a picture of it hanging in the schoolroom with the moon in the background, so I kind of knew what it looked like, but I still really looked forward to seeing it when we were in Arches. (click on the picture to the right for a much larger preview)
As we pulled into the parking lot at the trailhead you could look off into the distance and see lots and lots of tiny specks walking up and down a face of slickrock leading up to a ridge, which my mom explained was the trail up to the arch. It was an estimated 3 miles round-trip — yeah right. As all trailhead signs, this one was wrong too. It ended up being a 4 1/2 mile round trip (I tracked it with my GPS. I can honestly say that this trip was the first time I have been able to pick up every single satellite from horizon to horizon.) but the hike was still enjoyable. It had a gradual climb going up. When we reached the slickrock it became steeper but once we made it up to the base of the ridge it leveled off for quite some time. The last and final jaunt up to the arch’s main viewpoint was a fairly wide trail along the side of a rock fin. You don’t actually see the arch until you are basically on top of the viewpoint, when the rock fin stops.
The arch itself was really neat, and the last one we saw at Arches. Where the viewpoint is situated is actually on the edge of a massive rock bowl, probably 200-300 feet wide, with the arch on the opposite side. The left-hand side of the bowl has a slope enabling people to be able to walk around it under the arch. You can see from the picture below how large the arch itself is, using the people as a scale. By the way, that is actually Zach and I to the left under the arch.
It was hard photographing the arch because of all the people, but there were a few moments when it was all clear, thankfully. I still got a lot of really good pictures of the structure. Of all the arches we saw on our trip, Delicate Arch probably ranks as one of my favorites.

This post was written by: J.Dub