Friday, February 24, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) A Soul Consumed by Darkness

Psalm133:1 says, “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (NLT)

The brilliant and thrilling Harry Potter franchise continues with a brand new story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This film explores the world of witches and wizards of 1920s New York. The United States proves to be much more aware of magic than England, and thus much less tolerant.

In fact, a particularly intolerant family, the Barebones, of fundamentalists publicly protest witches with pamphlets and public speeches. Intolerance presents a very dark threat against the magical world. Such intolerance is what pushes witches and wizards under ground in the first place. However, something much more dangerous lurks in the shadows, a force so powerful that it threatens the safety of New York City.

What is it? From where does it come? What creates it?

Answer: intolerance and judgment.

Romans14:1 says, “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” (NLT)

Intolerance turns an innocent soul into something dark, dangerous, and destructive. By the time, the origin of the force is identified, it is too late to stop it. A lifetime of abuse, intolerance, and judgment poisons the unfortunate innocent to the point of no return.

What better way to defeat the dark force of intolerance than through unity? A team of four underdogs, three from the wizard world and one from the human world, work together to identify the dark force and defeat it to protect both worlds from destruction. They do so with the method of tolerance, peace, and love.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a powerful story that illustrates how destructive and counterproductive that intolerance can be vs. the power of unity.

Which option do you embrace?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2017) The Consequences of Unheeded Warnings


Bullet dodged.

Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." (NLT)

Season 2 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ended last night with a remarkable development in Rebecca's priorities. She finally accepts the reality she actively avoids most of her life. How tragic that an incident as severe as being left at the altar is necessary for the break through to occur. She had to learn the hard way, instead of heeding to the warnings that surround her.

Throughout Season 2, Rebecca shows glimpses of reaching reality right before slipping back into her fantasies. Everyone around her tries to send her the same message. Fortunately, in the final moments of the season finale, reality hits her again. Hard. This time, it sticks.

Josh Chan is not the solution to her life's problems.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, "Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins." (NLT)

He is not a solution, and he is no saint. It is unfair of Rebecca to put such a high expectation onto him. He can barely function on his own, let alone take on a wife. Then again, Rebecca is a well-paid lawyer (assuming her behavior does not get her fired). Who's to say he does not intend to use her as a meal ticket?

As Dr. Noelle Akopian wisely tells her in one of their many sessions, “Because of your mental health issues, you shouldn't be in a serious relationship at all.”

His proposal is unexpected and suspicious. He proposes with her own ring in her therapist's office. Why the rush? Where's the romance? Where's the effort? Why doesn't she heed the signs and red flags in front of her?

From her therapist to her roommate to her insensitive boss to her Rabbi to Valencia sends her the same message. She is simply not prepared for a relationship, let alone marriage. Josh Chan is not her solution. Since this message does not fit her fantasies, she ignores them. She does not head any warnings. She soldiers on to the wedding day keeping herself vulnerable to the inevitable disappointment and heartbreak of Josh's final decision.

Let's recap the romantic interests in her life:
  • Greg, a recovering alcoholic, leaves town for school.
  • Trent, a fellow Harvard alumnus, becomes just as obsessive and unstable as she.
  • Nathaniel, her workaholic boss, shares her daddy issues.
  • Robert, her married professor, simply uses her for sex.
  • Finally, Josh, her now three time ex, leaves her at the altar to join a monastery. One place Rebecca can never retrieve him.

These men are no more equipped to enter a relationship than Rebecca.

Until, she accepts the help she needs, she will never have a fulfilling relationship. She will never have a fulfilling life. Now, the eye-opening experience of being left at the altar forces her to face reality once and for all.

Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." (NLT)

It is uncertain whether Season 3 is underway. However, I look forward to the continuation of Rebecca's journey. Will she find real fulfillment and happiness? Will she ever let go of her unrealistic expectations of Josh Chan? Will he be safe under the protection of a monastery?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hidden Figures (2016) NASA's Guardian Angels

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (New Living Translation)

We are all God's children, regardless of race and regardless of gender. He gives us gifts and abilities expecting us to use them for His glory and to contribute to the good of humanity. In spite of the obstacles in our way.

So, what happens to a brilliant mathematician in 1961, a time of segregation, chauvinism, and low technology? She ignores society's expectations and goes to work for NASA. Despite her gender and race, her gift is too valuable for such expectations to apply. In fact, she is so valuable that she inspires progress for integration within NASA.

Christ says in Matthew 7:1-2, "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged." (New Living Translation)

Her name is Katherine Johnson, and she is one of three African-American woman that the true story Hidden Figures follows through their careers at NASA. Each one of them become instrumental to America's race with Russia to put a man in space. Fortunately, for these incredible and brilliant ladies, America paranoia with Russia alleged threats superseded its prejudice for its own citizens. Thus, it gives these women the privilege of working for such a revered establishment.

Their gifts for mathematics make them invaluable, because of what they bring to the table. Nothing more. Nothing less. John Glenn, the astronaut they launch into space is a kind, open-minded man. He does not allow prejudice to dictate how he treats the ladies. He looks beyond their gender and beyond their race. In fact, he expresses nothing except complete faith in them, because of their abilities.

These ladies are far more than a gender or a race. More than wives and mothers. More than mathematicians. Certainly more than “computers”. They are NASA'S guardian angels. Their math protects him from the dangers of space and provide a safe landing. He relies on their ability and follow-through, more so than a machine.

Hebrews 13:2 says, "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" (New Living Translation)

John Glenn is open to the ladies. He is kind and respectful. He is fully hospitable to their presence at NASA. He not only accepts their help, but also demands it. As a result, they are free and able to protect him. He remains safe through his dangerous, impossible journey.

Hidden Figures is a true story powerful and inspirational enough to bring one to tears. It began as a mystery, developed through a book, and now provided to the public through this film. It, much like these women, is a gift to the people. God bless all of those who struggle to contribute to the betterment of society and a future free of prejudice. God bless Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.