Footloose (and what it says about mourning and dancing.)

The movie that defined a generation, right? An oldie but goodie?

Well, they did a remake in 2012 I believe, and I watched it and it sucked. So I was looking forward to seeing the original masterpiece. And it was basically the same as the new one.

Except I have to say, the cast made the original. Kevin Bacon and his best friend really get you through.

But if the movie defined a generation, I’m concerned. The teens in the movie do some really reckless, stupid things, and they don’t really explain why they thought it was a good idea.

But in the end Kevin Bacon makes a good speech with a good point, one I’ve been thinking about this week.

He convinces everyone that dancing is biblical. Which it totally is. I don’t give much for denominations, I figure, each to their own as long as it’s not against God’s word; but the no dancing trend in the 80s and in some churches still really gets my goat. The Bible says to praise God with dancing, David danced, Miriam led the Hebrews in a dance after they left egypt, and Ecclesiastes says there is a time to mourn and a time to dance.

I have no problem with dancing as long as it’s clean.  In fact some people consider it part of spiritual warfare to dance.

Biblical dancing is the best because you don’t have to be good at it, you just make it up, God doesn’t care. No one else does either if their heart is in the right place.

I just got done with VBS (VAcation Bible School) at my church, and there’s never been so much dancing and enjoyment at any VBS in my memory and I’ve been going to them and participating int hem since  I was 8 or 9 years old. sO I have a decade under my belt. The kids were loving th music, and so were the leaders, we all felt celebratory.

It was simple, but that was fine. It didn’t need to be big, the point was that the kids were just enjoying God, and so were the adults.

And for me personally, it marked the anniversary of my cousin’s death. I’ve spent a year in mourning you might say, though I didn’t go all Footloose with it, and now it seems like the time to dance.

Actually, you can dance all the time as a Christian, because our joys and our sorrows tend to intermingle. That’s our life. And it’s not a bad life. Not if you believe it’s just the shadow of things to come.

People really want to live forever nowadays. Or they don’t want to live at all. It seems to be one or the other. And I think for both the reason is they don’t believe in heaven. Or if they do, they believe in it as this abstract ethereal thing that hopefully exists, but it has no bearing on the rest of their lives. Even Christians fall into this.

But how does a heaven like tha fit into Jesus’s instructions to bring heaven to earth? In the Bible heaven is the place filled with the presence of God.

LEt me unpack that a bit. We in the church always talk about “the presence of God” but do we understand what we’re saying? How is it different then just saying God?

It’s complex. We believe or are supposed to, that God is so vast he can’t fit into our perception, so when He is with us, it is never fully all at once there, or it would overwhelm us. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 that we see dimly as through a glass. Like a telescope you might say. We look at God as something far away that HIs SPirit makes closer and bigger to us, but if we were close enough to see him clearly without the telescope, we would burn up. (Like the sun or a star.)

The presence of God refers to the amount of him we can sense and recognize. Though it is not the God only gives us a piece of Himself, when you get God, you get all of Him,  Just like the 1 John says whoever has the Son has the Father also. (And therefore the Spirit.) Only God could make himself both small enough for our minds to hold, and large enough to fill our bottomless void of needing love.

That said, heaven is the Christian’s dream, or it should be. Because in heaven our mortal limitations will be removed and we will be like Christ. Paul said “I will know even as I am known.” The Christian wants nothing more than to know God as well as God knows him or her. To finally have more than enough understanding of God.

We can’t have that here, but we are meant to be getting ever closer to it, because our eternal life doesn’t start in heaven, it starts on earth.

And that is why we say “Let heaven come to earth.” And goodness knows this earth needs some heaven.

To get back to the topic of dancing, mourning is at bottom not a part of heaven. Rejoicing is part of heaven. If anyone decides to embrace mourning as the truth of life, they have given up hope. And we shouldn’t do that.

If you’ll pardon me for using as superhero yet again as an example, I would point out Batman as someone who embraces mourning as the fuel for his fire. The only thing giving his life a purpose is his grief and anger.

Happy people puzzle cynical people, have you ever noticed that? And they annoy them. And they make them envious.

Now if someone is depressed, I know the answer isn’t as simple as just saying you perceive things the wrong way, but realizing that there is another way, and there is more to life is the first step toward wanting that for yourself, which is a step toward getting it.

And those of us who are already fairly contented with our lives, we need to celebrate that, dance, sing, have a party.

Until next time–Natasha

The Pain Problem.

I saw the movie Adrift today. IF you like survivor movies, you’ll probably like it, but it’s very sad I’ll warn you.

It does have some interesting moments where the main character Tami makes choices that would be hard for us to make, and its theme of love getting you through hard things is of course timeless.

And it ties in to something I was thinking about earlier today. About pain. ‘

How do characters in movies handle pain? 9 out of 10 times?

I’ll have to fire some shots at even my favorite superhero flicks for this, because without fail the hero and villain always have a tragic back story. The villain uses pain as a reason to be what they are.

But actually superheroes are not the biggest offenders here. Any melodramatic television show you like has painful experiences as the driving force of the character’s issues. Usually they give some speech about it. Often taking it out on another character on the show.

Am I the only one who ever wants to tell these characters to get over themselves? Like they think their lives are so much tougher than most everyone’s, when in reality, they are probably better, only so much can go wrong on a show, right? Some of you have lived with the reality of one thing going wrong after another every day, it’s not fun.

These shows might be praised for showing raw emotions, but it’s not very real to me, because people rarely act that way, and when they do, it seems blown out of proportion.

It wouldn’t be saying anything new for me to say that we all suffer pain. But have you ever considered why we accept this as an excuse for bad behavior? Why does the stuff our therapy is made of justify the stuff our prisons are full of?

The child who bangs their knee and take out that frustration by hitting their sibling goes to the corner, the adult who does that gets excused because they have a hard life.

I get it, we’re all human and we shouldn’t judge each other too harshly. But it’s not right to act that way regardless.

Is our pain a bad thing? I don’t think all pain is good. Everyone knows the difference between the pain of healing and the pain of damage, for instance. The pain of getting squeezed too hard in a hug versus the pain of being socked by your brother or sister. It’s not on the same level. So some pain is clearly bad.

But what about the pain that seems to come for no reason. The pain of loneliness for instance. If you’re a Christian like me, you may wonder why this happens.

I had lunch with a friend today and we both have had trouble retaining other friends. I imagine we both blame ourselves in part for that, and sitting there, I wonder if both of us were thinking “So where does that leave us?” Do we just repeat the same pattern over and over again?

I have started many friendships that never went very far, even when I really wanted them to. And the problem could very well be with me. But there are worse people than me who manage to retain friends. Haven’t we all met or been that person who never dumps that one friend who is clearly a bad influence and kind of a basket case? Yet they get stuck with.

Heck, what about our relatives who get stuck with, though they don’t deserve it. You ever wonder why the nicer though quirky people can be the hardest to stick with? I am not sure why that is. It could be that we feel guilty for minding their humanity when we know they are good people, while with bad people we can always just complain about them. Go figure.

Many lonely people wonder why no one stays with them. There’s many reasons I suppose. In my case circumstances never seem to line up for it.

How do we handle that pain? And is it bad? How could it be good?

Well, I can’t say when or how, but the age old answer of God’s Timing is the only one I’ve got.

That’s not just an excuse to do nothing, as some suppose, but it is the acceptation that once you have done all you know to do, the rest is up to God.

Pain is not ever going to seem right (unless you’ve got a masochist side) but it can come to make you right again. I have wondered why God uses pain to shape us. But knowing human nature, I realize that nothing else ever compels us to choose as much as pain does.

Think about it, major decisions usually involve pain. Even having kids is painful. But that pushes you to a decision. A crisis fuels you to make a change. Why do people wait till their health breaks down to adjust their diet and exercise habits? Because pain makes it real.

We all wish it wasn’t that way, and I warrant you, God never wanted it that way either. But it is that way. Because we’re stubborn.

But pain doesn’t make us a slave to God. As I mentioned earlier, pain is people’s excuse often enough to do what’s wrong. And though their anger is understandable, it is not right. Because we all hurt, and we can’t make innocent people pay for what we feel.

Pain drives you to do either the right thing or the wrong thing, but which it’ll be still depends on you. The promise God makes us is not that we won’t suffer but that our suffering will lead us to Him, and not to destruction.

And that is the greatest gift of all, from my perspective.

Whatever I feel when I suffer pain myself, I know it leads me back to God.

Check out Adrift, I think it’s a good story.

Until next time–Natasha.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Reloaded.

Aw, nostalgic books being turned into movies. Whoever thought that was a good idea?

It worked out well for Charlotte’s Web, I’ll even give you the first Narnia movie and the Lord of the Rings (mostly.)

But studios can’t seem to keep it real with adaptations. Hence the nightmare to fans that is the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie.

Ahhhhh!

I saw this in theaters the first time and I couldn’t believe how terrible it was then, and now I’ve re-watched it to see if I misjudged it the first time.

I didn’t.

I could list all the things wrong with it, but it would be every single scene as far as I’m concerned.

However, I know some people think it’s good, even the best, and they might be coming from the perspective that trying to follow the book too closely ruins a movie, holds it back.

i would ask why the Narnia movies aren’t more popular then? If they didn’t suck, after the first one, I think they should’ve made a splash. Of course it’s hard for anyone to compete with the Avengers.

I don’t really want to talk about this movie in length, my mom literally blocked it out of her memory she hated it so much, and I didn’t remember most of it. What I do want to speculate on is whether this movie adaptation of a book really works.

If you’re like me and you read the books before you watched the movies, you always like the books better…save for a few rare exceptions. And people who don’t read the books or read them after the movie don’t get why we get so upset.

It’s like this, when you grow up loving something, reading it over and over again, and wishing you could be a part of it; a movie feels like a chance to really see it, and have that. When the movie inevitably fails you, it’s a hard hit. What’s harder however is that people accept this movie as the version of the story, and you are stuck with that.

Why does it matter? Because it’s our dreams, our childhood. No one likes to see it knocked.

I suppose I should get over it, it’s just a movie right? But why so little effort? Why do they not care? Why do other people not care? We’re losing the depth and dimensions of these books, and some people will never read them because the movie turned them off to it.

I am sad to see Classics going out of style, and having a terrible time getting any kids I know interested in them. Kids can watch do much movie fiction, reading it seems like a waste of time to them. How can I explain the quality versus quantity to a kid who thinks Gravity Falls is a good show…?

Because they don’t know better, but still, seriously Hollywood?

Well we’ll always have The Avengers right???

Maybe not after Infinity Wars 2, but we’ll see.

Anyway perhaps I’ve just been complaining through this whole post, but I can’t help but think old stories have value they way they are, or they would not have become so popular. Narnia affected so many kids and now I can bring it up and no one even knows what I am talking about.

I want it to be preserved, in its own form, that’s all I’m saying.

Until next time,– Natasha.

 

 

A is not for effort.

Second to last day of School!

4 years frm now maybe I’ll be done with college. There’s a thought.

I didn’t think I was goign to go right back into school once I finished homeschooling, but  I can tell you that homeschooling makes college a lot esaier.

Ues, indeed, the whole thinga bout it being harder becuae you aren’t used to it is a myth. yes it’s more time consuming.

But the average homsechooler has sat in church services and classes their whole life, so bieng lectured for two hours about something isn’t so unusualy and most teachers make it more interactive then taht.

Doing homework comes naturally to us.

And as for making friends. no I haven’t exactly. But I made a lot of acquaintances. I take the time to know some people’s names. Like t he girl I ride the bus with sometimes. The librarian. People from other classes… people in the tutoring office I go to. No big deal.

I dont expect toahve a lot of friends at college. Soem people seem to be able to make friends, but most of us only see the same people a few hours a day. But I am generally liked, so no complaints.

All in all,w hile I’m tired and ready for a break (all oen week of it) I am not overly worried about doing well. I’ve made Bs ina l my classes, Id o hope to bump two up to an A at least, but IW ont’ cry a river if I don’t. College is ahrd, and the person whpg ets an A isn’t always the one who understands better. sOetimes people get this adrenline propelling thme to scrape together an A. I actually know few people making A’s; the college professoers don’t hand them out as much as they are supposed to.

I did all the extra credit I could, the rest is either luck or memory. I can’t control that. While I always could have done more, according to my family I’ve worked hard, and accroding to my classmates I’mt he smartest in class. If I make a B, it must be really hard to make an A.

And that’s okay. I’d still make honors if I wanted to.

I want an A. but I have many other classes to get on top of that in. IF between three classes a high B was my average, that’s not so bad.

Am I going to blame my teachers? No. Some students seem to prefer blaming them. Me, I prefer thinking I can do better. Because then I can do better, I’m not stuck at this level. If I ever get a teacher who hates me and is determined to fail me, I might just drop.

I can take hard work, but unfairness is another matter. However I doubt that’s going to happen.

I’ve learned that half the people in college don’t want to learn, they want to have a grade that says they’re smart. Because clearly, a smart person can never fail. (Did I ever mention how bad I am at Geometry?)

If the teacher won’t give them that grade, they drop because they don’t want to look stupid. But they only look more stupid when they have to retake the class they didn’t even finish.

Good grades are not  about being smart, they are about how much you learned. And  I am smart, but I don’t always learn as much as the professor wanted. Sometimes it’s a matter of pacing, other times I got behind. And other times it’s practice.

I never got letter grades as a homeschooler save for once when my mom tried it, she didn’t like it so we stopped. I like having something to aim for and more competition then just myself.

yet I don’t care so much that it ruins my fun if I d on’t get a 90% on an assignment. If you get a B, you’re learning enough to keep up. A C means you probably need to up your game.

AT the end of the day, even an A doesn’t mean much if you hated it and you forget it all later. I’ll remember more because I enjoyed it.

So, make what you will of that, it’s my experience so far, until next time–Natasha.

Jumanji!

Hey there movie fans. Ready for this one?

This is an east movie to review. I watched the original Jumanji and the new one on the same day. I actually recommend doing that if you can, becuae the new oen fits inot the old one like a sequel. and considering it’s been around 20 years, it fits like a glove.

They did everything, they came up with a explantaion for why the game is a video gma,e why it appears to be haunted, and why it is so much cooler if you’re actually in the Jungle. Th eonly falw I see is that they’re making a sewul, and thism movie was basically a decades-in-waiting sequel.

If anyone who loved the original was worried that they’d retell the story and ruin it, don’t be. Proper homage is paid to Robin Williams and his story, while an interesting parallel story is told. They also find a way to make you believe that the characters would not forget everything at the end, because luckily, no one’s future is handing on one character being able to win the game, like it was in the first one. (The only part that you didn’t like about the ending.)

This new one is a lot less sad too, but been with its wonkier style where people have three lives, you don’t lose respect f or the value of life. Two characters do push each other off cliffs or whatnot and lose lives doing that, and claim it’s no big deal. But that is balanced out when other characters sacrifice one of their lives to that someone can live and they can get out of the game.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think they managed to use the extra lives thing as a way to demonstrate how important lives are. And who would have seen that one coming.

And thank you actors, this movie is actually funny. The first one wasn’t, though it was interesting. But this one knows when to not take itself too seriously. g any real video gamer would know a game like Jumanji would not be likely to have cake make its characters explode, that can be overlooked since it’s supposed to be riffing video games in general.

And you thought Wreck-it-Ralph took them too seriously. But it works in Jumanji because you know the game kind of has a consciousness.

And it now has a creepy villain, not just a crazed sharpshooter. The villain isn’t on screen much and isn’t actually super important to the story, which is a good thing, because in the small amounts he was there he was creepy as heck. And his short screen time is very effective. You don’t like him form the start.

Somebody give Jack Black an award for this role please. It was over the top, but he played a completely convincing 16 year old girl trapped in a middle aged man’s body. He even walked like a girl. he committed himself to this part. He was definitely the funniest character. But the other three all had their moments. I never knew Dwayne Johnson and…whatever the girl who plays Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy’s name is… had it in them to portray nerds stuck in hot shot bodies. But they did an amazing job. Each character had the facial expressions of their teen counterparts down pat. It looked like it took months to perfect. (If not, then dang, that’s some talent.) I’d say Kevin hart was the only one who just played himself. But he still did a good job of portraying the other character.

To my surprise the moral life lessons in this movie were not shoddy either. I don’t like the sexual ones. But it wasn’t too bad mostly. Nothing that wouldn’t go over your kids heads likely as not. But as played as the be more confident message is, I bought it. We see signs of both nerd characters wanting to have more confidence before they go into the game, and we even see signs of it in the girl, and then the game is just the catalyst that psyche them. A nice touch they kept from Robin William’s was that they use the context of the game to deal with their real world challenges. The nerd stands up to his jock best friends, who finally reconciles with him and learns to respect him again. The weird girl who needs confidence and the nerd confess their love ( I could’ve done without the kissing, but it was supposed to be funny. To their credit, I like that their real world kiss was a lot sweeter that their video game one, implying that even out of it they have chemistry.) The selfish pretty girl turns out not to be so bad once you snatch the phone from her hand. And she even turns the tables on the smart girl by telling her she’s being judgmental. It kind of surprised me that a movie about a video game would bring up such a hit to the gut kind of idea.

The life lessons they learn are also not that you have to change your look or your personality and it will make you cool. Being cool actually isn’t the point. (How refreshing in a teen movie.) The point is to be a better version of yourself then you were before you went into the game. To know yourself better, and to care more about the people around you. The movie takes a real feel kind of life or death bonding approach to their friendship.

In other words, it’s the near impossible balance between weighty where it needs to be and lighthearted when it fits. It’s not the best movie every of course, or the most profound, but for the type of movie it is, it’s easily the best one I’ve seen.

Until next time–Natasha.

Living is Dangerous

I spent the last two days hearing speech after speech about dangers. Here’s what I learned, everything leads to cancer, anything can kill you, and none of us are healthy.

I’m serious. Everything we use they say at some point it lead to cancer or death. The plastic straws at restaurants are killing the planet. Nevermind the billions of tons of other plastics. We end up eating this, or drinking it in our water, and you guessed it, it can cause cancer or infertility

To this I say BS. I’ve heard about so many things this week that are slowly killing me. It used to freak me out and I wished I could change. But now I am adopting a philosophical perspective.

A blog I follow, BeautyBeyondBones is fond of the quote “To live at all is vulnerable, because life is vulnerability.” I’ve got a news flash for the acturians out there who are figuring out all these statistics: Life is dangerous.

Life is both the most fragile thing we have and the strongest. There’es no real reason any of us should be alive if I go by what I’ve heard this week. We all live surrounded by toxic materials, and eating poorly, event he health food nuts don’t always know everything.l Why aren’t we all dead? Why aren’t we all weak and sick.

A lot of us have health problems, ,myself included at times, but nothing like what we should have if all this stuff was a deadly as they say.

The truth is, life is more than biology. That sounds sentimental, but it;s not. Ask a doctor who’s been in practice a long time, they will probably tell you that some patients do better than others for unknown reasons. Sometimes something int he person is just tenacious.

Case in point, my Grandpa has cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and about a hundred other serious health issues. There’s no reason he should be alive or mobile, they the man can still walk, albeit it with great difficulty. he’s close to dying, but he’s been close to it as long as I can remember. We pray for him, I think that’s all he’s living off of.

Anyone of those things can kill you, yet all of them have not yet killed him. His doctors are mind blown.

There’s no science to explain this. Sometimes life or death appears to be a foreordained thing, or a matter of willpower.

Maybe young people now are suffering more health issues because they are more depressed. Considering the teen suicide rate, have they lost their will to live?

I used to think everyone felt good all the time and only I felt sick or head-achy. Now after college term no#1, I realize that I m probably the exception. Other people deal with pain and feeling bad way more often and more intensely than I do. They just don’t complain because they consider it normal.

I got to thinking about this, and how about a hundred or two hundred years ago it seems like people didn’t deal with stress issues. And I realized, they just didn’t call it that. When I read the Anne of Green Gables series, headaches that are clearly caused by stress are spoken of as a fairly normal occurrence, frequent in some people. And other neurosis are mentioned, with humor.

In fact I think Montgomery was onto something we have missed when she treated these headaches as unimportant. To people with the right attitude, they are. People suffered then and weren’t able to drug it away as effectively as we are now, but My theory is that because they accepted it as part of life, they suffered less in a way.

Physical pain, it’s part of the human condition. It just used to be that no one was surprised by it. No one expected to escape it. Toothaches, they were normal. Headaches were common. Stomach aches were a matter of course.

Cancer, if it existed, it was just one way to die. A painful way, but there were worse.

And as for our toxic environment, I actually don’t believe we are worse off than before by much. People didn’t eat so well back then either, and they used toxic things without even knowing it, at least we take precautions.

No, ladies and gents, if we are more unhealthy now, I am beginning to think it is because of our attitude. If we have less will to live, then we will have less of a life.

I hate feeling bad, but I am not crippled by it unless I choose to be. And I find that even when I’m hurting, life is still enjoyable if I choose to focus on other things. I hope my problem will be resolved, and goodness knows,I’m not telling you to just accept suffering if you can improve your life and get rid of it.

But I am encouraging you not to sweat it over every little thing. Yes, this stuff can kill you, but you’re gonna die anyway. A short life is not a wasted one.

If you’re living in fear, trying to get as healthy in body as possible, but neglecting other things that are more important, then your health is nothing to you. And I know many people concerned with health who are sick all the time.

The skeptic may not like this theory, but sometimes I think God will cut off someone’s ability to achieve what they are obsessed with, because it’s not that important.

The Bible says the word of God and the fear of God is strength to your bones and health to your body. I feel better when I’ve read the word.

Call is psychological if you like, but the point stands. Health and life is something more than a biological equation.

You should be as healthy as you can, but avoiding health risks is impossible. I can tell you that right now. If you don’t have the industrialized ones in the Western World, you’ll have the lack of sanitation ones in the Third World. The Asian countries may eat healthier, but they have more pollution.

It doesn’t matter. Dot he best you can without being crazy, and leave it at that. Live well, and living long will either follow, or will cease to be so important. because it’s not.

Those are my thoughts for now, until next time–Natasha.