Sunday 5 March 2017

From Renewal to New Horizon - personal faith journey

I was born (again) while studying in university in UK and when I returned after graduating, I was still a babe (in Christ) and was adopted (spiritually) by Renewal Christian Church. In this big family, I grew up under the love and care of many older brothers and sisters as well as the companionship (fellowship) of peers. I learned to talk (ie pray), walk (in God's ways), read (the Bible), and even teach (and mentor) others who joined the family after I did.

Under the watchful eyes of my family members and with much encouragement and support from them, I got to try out new ideas and embark on many adventurous projects. In the process, I grew stronger (in faith) and more confident of my (God-given) talents and abilities.

More than 20 years later, I have become a mature adult (spiritually). So the head of the family (senior pastor) match-made me with New Horizon Church and sent me out to stand on my own feet. But I will never forget the home where I grew up and was groomed for the work that God has purposed for me to do.

Happy 28th, RCC! 💕

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast - arts and ethics

Not that I'm a big fan of Disney, but this article somehow got me thinking: Beauty and the Beast to feature first 'exclusively gay moment' in a Disney movie and I don't have to be a prophet to predict that there's going to be a petition soon to ban or raise the rating (currently PG) of the movie here and/or a call to boycott it.

After all, it's a mean blow to try and brainwash our impressionable kids with the gay agenda using an innocent fairy tale movie. Or is it? Are the artists on the opposite side the only ones guilty of manipulating the audience by subtly infiltrating works that are marketed as harmless frivolity with insinuating values and beliefs?

Honestly, how many times have we pretended to invite friends to a performance by XXX (insert celebrity's name) knowing full well that they will be bombarded with the gospel? What about the much-loved Veggietales which claims to promote 'Sunday Morning Values' with 'Saturday Morning Fun'? We play these videos over and over again to teach (some would say indoctrinate) our children the values and beliefs which we feel they should have.

Pot calling the kettle black, perhaps? Should we therefore take a step back and allow the other side to speak? Ok, I'm playing devil's advocate here but don't stone me yet for this is purely for the sake of discussion - comments are most welcome!

I have to put a caveat though - as a parent, I would still advise those with young children who are not yet mature enough to discern to put off watching the movie. And those with older ones, please do engage with them before and after watching and help them to process what they see. Other than gay identity, there are many other issues which I can think of for you to analyse and evaluate together, eg anger management, power and control, abusive relationships, feminism, chivalry vs chauvinism. So yes, it's fine to enjoy a bit of Disney entertainment, but keep your eyes open for opportunities to chat with your older kids too!

La La Land - comedy of errors

So apparently La La Land is supposed to be a romantic comedy, but the only time it made me laugh was when I heard about the fiasco at the Oscars. In fact, I was cringing throughout the whole movie and I kept screaming (in my head),"There are so many talented actors and actresses who can actually sing and dance (like those in the opening sequence), why did they have to choose these two?!?!" Well, the answer's pretty obvious, isn't it? They needed these pretty faces with BIG NAMES to sell the show! But if that was all there is to it, then I wouldn't be offended. The real problem was that they were also trying to sell something else!

Various other writers have already said their piece about the movie: here, here and here. So I'm not going to repeat the same points. I'm just going to unload my own grouse about it. I am offended because the film tries to sell us real art (authentic, unadulterated jazz and improv theatre) using the vehicle of a banal musical-wannabe where neither is the music soulful nor the acting convincing. To me, that is as offensive as trying to sell golf using sex. True art does not need a patronising nod from the commercial, shallow world of entertainment to prove its value.

I'm also offended because it sells the idea that living (and consequently sleeping) together is to be expected once you fall in love. There was no discussion or hesitation, no questions asked! You love each other, so you live together, then you can conveniently have sex whenever you want. But I must be fair, La La Land isn't the only movie that promotes this way of thinking. It's only one in a whole plethora of films and stories that are changing cultural norms for the worse (in my opinion).

Finally, I'm offended that it sells the idea that breaking up is easy to do. It's never easy and always painful, even years and sometimes decades later. It sets the stage for young people who launch into relationships without thinking of the possible consequences, when they should be thinking twice about whether they are ready for long-term commitment and whether the potential partner is the right one for them. (I've written about being equally yoked some time back.)

Ok, that's enough complaining for now. All this is giving me indigestion but I'm glad I got it out and hopefully I don't have to keep brooding on it anymore.