Terrorists, Heroes, and the Movies

In the weeks and months following 9/11 Security Analyst Richard A. Clarke was asked by countless members of the Joint Chiefs and high ranking officials of the Bush administration what literature they should be reading to better understand the situation with Al-Qaida.  Clarke would always answer this question not with a book or a research study or an academic article or a journal.

He would advise anyone who asked him to watch the 1966 film The Battle of Algiers.

You see Clarke was trying to get anyone who had any power in the administration to listen to him before 9/11, he had been screaming for a meeting to warn of an impending Al-Qaida attack.  After 9/11 he understood too well what the consequences would be.  When the United States entered Iraq he realized what the difficulties of conducting a war in a land you are not familiar with.  He knew that the famed Gillo Pontecorvo film would be a perfect example of what war with Iraq would look like, and how destructive the cycle of violence that was about to begin would be.

Gillo Pontecorvo’s film is a classic in the neo-realism movement that ran through Italian filmmaking in the early 1960’s.  It chronicled the struggle of French Algerian war from 1954-1962 and showed how a relatively small Islamic country overthrew a powerful, modern Western Nation.  The film depicts the cyclical nature of violence in urban guerilla warfare with both sides performing retaliatory attacks on one another.  The French eventually bring in a ground force and attempt to kidnap and torture leaders of the resistance, only to find that new leaders would rise from the Kasbah to endlessly fight for their freedom.

Sound familiar?

We all have experienced times when we watch a film and draw a level of truth out of it.  This is the inherent draw of films; they provide well orchestrated situations that we all can identify with as human beings.  Sure we may feel a level of escapism but that escape would not mean anything if there was no humanity in the films that we watch.  In The Battle of Algiers Richard Clarke find a connection to a situation in the world through the artistic expression of Mr. Pontecorvo.  People began to listen up, in 2003 there was a large screening of the film in the Pentagon after we had already entered into war in Iraq and were well on the path of Osama Bin Laden.  Other officials began seeing truth in this and understanding the humanity of our enemies, that they were not simply going to turn over when we entered the picture.  That perhaps the same ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not just American goals but could be fundamentally human.  That maybe we couldn’t just flick a switch and find Osama.

The root of our societal misinterpretations of justice can also be seen back with the movies.  While Battle of Algiers shows a realistic side of conflict the movies we have been saturated with in our culture in American give a much different idea of conflict.  We live in a post-Die Hard culture, one where we know what terrorists are, we know what they want, and we know that John McClain is going to take care of business.  There are a massive amount of action movies that have come out in the past 20 years that have followed a similar formula.  Air Force One, True Lies, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Bad Company, and Executive Decision all feature terrorism as a plot device.  These movies are tremendously black and white, the good guys are so good; perfect looks, perfect families, perfect jaw lines.  The terrorists are always pure evil, with only evil motivations like killing innocent people, ruthlessly murdering without a second thought, terribly ambiguous accents that could place them anywhere from Eastern Europe to Kazakhstan.

Hollywood knows that these falsified “heroes’” sell however, there has been an interesting spike in the amount of superhero films that have been released post-9/11.  It seems that Hollywood is continuously feeding the general public with the archetypes that we desire.  This year alone we have Thor, The Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, and the aptly titled Captain America hitting our screens.  The sense of hope that comes from the supernatural and unexplained is a phenomenon we have always searched for at the movies.  That’s why films with special effects and hair-raising visuals have brought in audiences in droves since King Kong.  However are these “heroes” who we really believe in or are they more what we want to see in ourselves and the people around us?  Are these plots a reflection of real life or a desire for the simplicity of good/evil?

If only every terrorist were Hans Gruber and every U.S. soldier were John McClain, cheerily swapping puns as they head on a collision course for an imminent showdown where the good guy kills the bad guy.  Then there are those cheery scenes at the end of the film where people are wrapping each other in blankets and giving each other kisses and reinforcing their newfound peace.  Roll credits…

…However things are not as black and white in real life.  Heroes are not always charming and good looking, sacrificing themselves for the good of others.  Terrorists have families and motives beyond just destruction.  And the unfortunate thing is that there are no credits, when terrorists die there are others who still care about the same cause that are not going to be merely silenced.

So when 9/11 happened we all were primed for what the response was going to be.  The good guys had to go take out the bad guys and everything would be better.  Once we went over to Afghanistan and found Osama then everything would be back to normal, back to what we were used to.  We just had to take him out and then everything would be happy and normal.

Ten years later and countless lives and dollars spent later we have what we want, except maybe our initial feeling of triumph will fade and we will continue to feel that same emptiness we did before.  Maybe we did not create peace; maybe our troops in Afghanistan are not coming home yet.

By no means do I feel like Osama was not at fault, he chose to fund operations that killed thousands of innocent people.  He had his own motives and purposes that led him to believe this was the best way, and now we are left with a generation of people forever changed by his choices.  It was a heinous crime and one he deserved consequences for.  And his death is one that was deserved if he was indeed fleeing arrest.

I take issue with the response that we as American’s have displayed.  The undulating roar of joy was heard from every Facebook and Twitter account, as well as from stadiums and venues across the nation.  Yet what are we celebrating?  The losses of a criminal will always begat another criminal.  Pontecorvo knew this when he made The Battle of Algiers as his generation had seen it with the bloody Algerian revolution.  Let us not forget that this action does not heal the families that suffered losses at 9/11 nor does it heal the lives of people currently struggling with oppression around the world.

Osama Bin Laden is dead, and a week later much of the situation in the world has not changed all that much.  It is my hope that whether we go to the movies or we read the news and books about the world we can find the truth in the fiction and the non-fiction.   And that we can devise our own thoughts and ideas about people and situations in this world, because not everything we see is as simple as the good guys versus the bad guys.


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Timeless.

So this is going to be a very stream of consciousness post, admittedly.  I have been thinking about the Royal Wedding that everyone is making such a huge to-do about.  As we are inundated with coverage of an event that has little relevance to our world I have begun to think about how important it seems to be for people to compare this wedding to Princess Diana’s wedding.  For some odd reason I find myself getting oddly defensive of Diana.  I don’t know why but I dislike people comparing her to Kate because 1) Kate is not nearly as attractive, 2) Diana was a truly spectacular woman, and 3) I have a huge crush on Diana.

I think the reason I find Diana so appealing is that she is timeless, she has a look and a style about her that transcends a certain time or place.  This is a quality that I find rather attractive, not just in women but generally in life.  Things that are timeless in life are not subject to change or folly or any of the whims of humanity.  So in my realization I began exploring the women I find to be timeless and who have captivated me with their beauty and charm…

1) Diana: She is the princess of Wales, and one of the most beautiful women around.  However what made her so special was her heart for people on the fringe of society.  In many ways she would be Christ to people that no one else was paying any attention too.  The image of her walking through mine fields in Eastern Europe campaigning for a removal of these deadly hidden weapons so children would not be killed was an incredibly moving display.  She had a very sad life after her marriage and was unfortunately subject to the paparazzi around the clock.  Her magnetism as a human being was fully realized when she passed away and all of Britain mourned their princess, it is not quite the fairy tale anyone had imagined but Diana also rewrote what it meant to be a princess, opting not to stay in her ivory tower but to go out and make changes in the world.

2) Grace Kelly: I was introduced to Grace as a young child by my Grandpa who would show me old Hitchcock movies and tell me that she was his girlfriend.  I was very impressed.  Kelly moves with a sense of…well, Grace that is unparalleled.  She is quiet yet elegant and an amazing actress to boot.  She handles comic and dramatic flare with a deft touch that stands up through the ages.  From her first performance in “High Noon” to her final Hitchcock film “To Catch a Thief” Kelly stands up as a screen icon.  She would herself become a Princess, of Monaco just east of France.  Her life would also end too early in an automobile accident, but her elegance will always hold up.

3) Juliette Binoche: The finest working actress in the industry today, Binoche is talented beyond words.  She has played such a variety of roles throughout her long storied career, but unfortunately is known to American audiences for “Dan in Real Life”.  However her roles in “Blue”, “The English Patient”, and “Cache” are unforgettable.  She is very pretty, but its her personal sense of will and confidence that shines through the most.  She also has an undeniable sense of class and her involvement with charitable organizations in the 3rd world.  This Frenchwoman has never been married but has adopted children from Cambodia and is working in the Middle East to allow more creative license for filmmakers in Muslim countries.

4) Ingmar Bergman: Casablanca.  She redefined timeless.

5) Esther: I will take one from the Bible here, because the story of Esther is very inspirational.  She is the most beautiful girl in the whole kingdom and the Persian king chooses her not knowing that she in fact is Jewish.  When Esther learns of a plot to murder the Jews in Persia she courageously confronts the King risking her own life and tells of the plot and her own heritage.  A bold move showing the power of Women as illustrated throughout the bible, and a great verse in Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

6) Megan Wantz: I would be remiss not to mention my lovely girlfriend.  She has all of the qualities of the aforementioned women, but is even better because I get to be a part of her life.  I am very lucky, and very blessed.  Seriously though check out that smile… 🙂

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To Graduate School or Not to Graduate School: an Imbecile’s Approach to Decision Making

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.-Robert Frost

Well most of the people who read this probably have heard some way or the other but…I have been accepted into the Masters program at Seattle Pacific University!!!

This is a very exciting prospect and opportunity, and also a very scary and real step out into the “real world” that is so unknown for a college student like myself.  Obviously admittance does not mean that I need to go, but no matter what I have spent a lot of time wrestling over this…so this is my way of written processing.  It has been on my mind quite a bit so just know that whatever I am choosing it is an educated decision that is not without thought.

When approaching this I have a few things I need to consider.  In many ways this is my first major life decision after choosing to go to Seattle Pacific in the first place.  However this seems to feel heavier, since it is locking me into a very direct and concise career path.  Also it is geographically isolating in that it guarantees 2-3 more years in Seattle.  Financially it is a very scary prospect as there are few scholarships/aid opportunities available, and I would have to be prepared to take on around 38,000 dollars in student loans.  It also is a very time consuming program, meaning I would have very little time to work and support myself.  I will have to find a job that works around the schedule of the graduate program and could help support me financially, a daunting prospect.

Granted there are a lot of “cons” in this situation, a great deal of unknowns that I have to think about.  After August 31st I don’t have a specific place locked up to live in, I don’t have a job following June 12th and I am merely going to be another 22 year old with a Bachelors degree.  I could take a year or two off, try and work somewhere and make a living.  I am sure that I could do this, and I know that I would enjoy life and be comfortable.  I would probably never get a great career-paying job with my degree and I would have to live accordingly.

So what about positives, there are many surely, but all of this will come with time.  I have no way of predicting what job I will get after graduating the program or what my financial situation will look like or where I will live.  However no matter what a daunting idea that is it also is the reason why I think I really want to do it.

I realized something about myself the other day while I was going for a Saturday morning jog to clear my mind.  I was anticipating going on my usual lazy-man’s 3 mile loop and hitting the showers, however while I was on the road I found myself behind a 20-something guy of comparable stature and physique to myself.  We both reached a crosswalk at the same time and I was about to continue on the flat course I had been traversing for the beginning of my run when I noticed he turned left at the crosswalk and was dashing quickly uphill.  I had done a run up that way before, a nine-mile behemoth that required me to loop around a lake and head back.  In a split second I did the algorithms for what I should do, having not run a long distance in many moons it was rational and sensical to continue on my simple run, also it was looking like rain and the spending the next hour running in my t-shirt and shorts was a poor prospect…

…So I followed my new running companion, looped around the lake, and got home an hour and a half later happy as a clam.  While I was running I realized that I was going to start graduate school that fall, because that is simply who I am.  Rationality and Comfort are not necessities in the one life I have been given.  I need Challenge, Fear, and Uncharted Seas in my life to feel fulfillment.  I don’t know where I will work or live in the fall or how I am going to pay off all of my debt yet.  But I am on top of it and I trust God’s work and myself in my life decisions.  John 15:5 claims, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  This verse inspires me to work with God in my life, meeting him where he gifts me with opportunities and not ignoring him when human rationality gets in the way.

So this is it everyone, this is my “all-in”.  I am going to graduate school at Seattle Pacific University for the next 2-3 years….

….

Uh-oh….

🙂

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Whatup Longfellow.

Can anyone tell me what movie this poem is featured in...?

There are things of which I may not speak;

There are dreams that cannot die;

There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,

And bring a pallor into the cheek,

And a mist before the eye.

And the words of that fatal song

Come over me like a chill:

“A boy’s will is the wind’s will,

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Lost Youth

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“I am battle-tested bayonets bro.”-Charlie Sheen

I am the Punxsutawney Phil of Blogging...

 

Alright.

I am sorry.

It has been far too long and there is no excusing it, I haven’t posted on this thing since October of 2010, and much has happened in the world and my life since then.  I am realizing that I have migration patterns of a Bear when it comes to blogging; I like to hibernate in my cave during the winter.  However after many reminders from family and friends I am going to start being more diligent with this thing.  So let me begin by telling you all about where I am at and what has transpired since I have taken my little water break…

I am still going to SPU and I am just putting the wraps on my last Winter Quarter as an undergraduate College student.  This winter has been awesome and productive, which is the exact opposite of every other Winter at SPU.  Right after my last Blog post I began coaching the JVC Basketball team at Ballard High School, an experience that was equal parts terrifying and fruitful.  I spent the first few weeks scared out of my mind that I would be found out for not actually being a basketball coach.  I would feign confidence but inside be terrified going to practices, what if someone asked me something I didn’t have the answer to? What if I made a mistake explaining a drill? It was a real horror show for a while but after a little while I began getting a rhythm and building relationships with the kids.  We ended up going 18-1, a record I put fully on the 15 kids who I had the pleasure to work with.  It was an awesome and fun experience.  I was most proud of not getting a technical foul all season, though admittedly I was threatened with one 3 times that I remember…

I also had the good pleasure of Writing and Directing a Comedy film with my good buddy Shane for the Talent Show here at SPU.  This was a super fun challenge and experience, albeit incredibly time-consuming.  The box office results are not fully tabulated yet, but I think we did better than Gnomeo & Juliet. Maybe.

Another huge part of my winter has been thinking about where to go and what to do after I graduate here.  I applied to the Graduate School of Marriage and Family Therapy here at SPU and have been admitted save for a final interview.  This was encouraging because now I know I have the credentials for Graduate School, all that is keeping me is the money.  I know I am going to go to Graduate School, but I unfortunately am short about 38,000 on tuition.  So depending on where the Lord leads I may be entering the work force this summer and beginning to save up for my eventual Masters Degree.  However I am leaving this up to prayer, however if anyone wants to intercede on God’s behalf and provide said 38,000 who would I be to turn you down?!  🙂

All right enough about me, that’s not really what this blog is about.  I want to weigh in on a few things that have been interesting me recently…

1. NBA: In my lifetime there has never been a better time to be a fan of the NBA.  What with the new super teams, young talent, and breakneck style of play you would think you were watching Transformers 3: Hoop Dreams.  I am a Portland Trailblazers fan and my boys have been doing great of late, what with the Gerald Wallace trade deadline coup and the emergence of LaMarcus Aldridge as an offensive threat.  They are looking like at least a second round playoff team, which is nice.  However my second favorite team just became the New York Knicks.  The Carmelo Anthony trade was the best move New York has made since trading those trinkets to the Native Americans for the island of Manhattan.  They are immediately better by having two of the best offensive players in the game and the best playoff point guard in the league now on their team.  The Playoffs this year are sure to make for compelling T.V.  If only my hypothetical Graduate School Donor could supply me with Cable as well for this spring..

2. Egypt: This quarter I am in a class titled Modern Middle East, and I am incredibly blessed to be in it during this period of History.  My professor warned us that we would be living during a tumultuous time in the History of the World when a Tunisian Street Merchant lit himself on fire in protest, causing the eventual Tunisian rebellion.  From this simple act a fire has been lit in the Middle East.  The Egyptian situation has been a shining example of peaceful protest and the strength of numbers.  However their story is far from written, much work and prayer is still needed for the Middle East to pull itself out of the Mubarak regime.  What will be most interesting for the USA to see is if the new government in Egypt upholds the Camp David Treary between Egypt and Israel.  Since this fire has been lit Americans have been generally supportive of the peaceful work in Egypt, however the recent movements in Libya scare us.  Here in America we usually like fire until it goes and burns up all of our oil, and that is exactly what may happen if Qaddafi is overthrown.  It is true to the old Chinese Proverb, “May you live in interesting times.”

3. Movies: This has been such a downer of a Winter Film season, its hard to believe so many bad movies made it through the muck.  However it has allowed me to catch up on some classics that I have been neglecting, such as “Chinatown” and “In The Bedroom”.  Two films that stood out to me were “The Black Swan” and “Biutiful”.  Other than that I was extremely disappointed with Tron and not as impressed as the rest of the world with “The King’s Speech”.   There is finally light coming in this winter of discontent however in the form of Zach Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” and Duncan Jones’ “Source Code”.  Snyder always packs a visual punch and Jones is formerly known as Zowie Bowie, David Bowie’s son and the director of the Sci-Fi doppelganger flick “Moon”.  If you are interested in where I have been spending my blogging time check out my day job website, http://culturemob.com/blog/author/trevorwhite.  The more you look at that one the more I get paid.  This month we began a revenue sharing plan, which sounded a lot like what NFL Owners and players are talking about so I agreed.  I ended up making a 1.24$ after taxes.  I am now cheering for the union…

Anyways these are simply a few thoughts that have crossed my mind lately.  Come to think of it I am more comparable to the Punxsatawney Groundhog of bloggers, I check to see what the weather is like and decide when to emerge from my hole.

Also Charlie Sheen is hilarious, check out this site for some twisted wisdom… http://livethesheendream.com/

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Test Study Strategies for a College Student: A Timeline


1st Day of class: Notice date of the Midterm when the professor hands out syllabus, realize that its 5 weeks away and erase it from you memory.

5 weeks leading up to Midterm: Physically be present at class, but don’t take notes because you are going to review the powerpoints after class.

After Class: Never look at powerpoints.

Friday before Midterm: Realize that the Midterm is a week away, decide that you are really going to buckle down and study/catch up on reading that weekend.

Weekend before Midterm: Play video games and watch movies all weekend.

2 days before Midterm: Review for Midterm in class, which you don’t actually attend this but hear from a friend in the class and realize how close the test is.

Day before Midterm: Try and begin studying, decide that you are too wound up to focus and go for a bike ride to clear your mind.

6:00 p.m. night Before Midterm: Attend Study group with acquaintances in class. Study first two terms on study guide than start small talk. Realize you had more in common with these people than previously expected.

8:00 p.m.: Realize you have spent two hours chatting with these people instead of studying, decide to take one hour break before really getting started.

9:00 p.m.: Get back together and prepare to study, decide that they best bet will be to go to Taco Bell before getting going.

9:45 p.m.: Begin going over notes. Talk about how biased the professor is or the different idiosyncrasies that he or she displays. Cross off terms and concepts that you are sure the Professor is not going to cover. Smart kid in your group decides to leave and study on his own.

11:00 p.m.: Group decides that they have covered pretty much everything, even though you only have five terms defined. You feel confident in the fact that it is mainly multiple-choice test and you can logic your way into answers. Think you will study for essay portion later that evening.

11:30 p.m.: Start playing more video games with your roommate

1:00 a.m.: Your roommate goes to bed because he has a quiz in the morning, perfect time to play some flash games on your computer.

2:00 a.m.: Start making a studying playlist, end up doing some research to find music that is good for studying. Start editing all of your other playlists, catch up all of your podcast subscriptions.

3:00 a.m.: Check out the essay portion of your test on study guide. Read for first time that it is 80% of the test.

3:01a.m. : Begin crying

3:07 a.m.: Stop crying and call good friend in class, who also has just made this realization, decide to walk down to 7/11 for energy drinks before covering essay questions.

3:30 a.m.: Begin poring over book/powerpoints/Wikipedia to find information.

3:40 a.m.: Get into a frustrated dialogue about how unfair and subjective all of the topics are. Make a pact to never take another class from professor again.

3:44 a.m.: Check syllabus and realize that this test makes up 35% of class overall grade.

3:45 a.m.: Cry together

3:50 a.m.: Decide that nothing positive will be accomplished on this night, choose to wake up early and study before the test

4:00 a.m.: Set alarm for 7 a.m. fall asleep

7:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off

10:00 a.m.: Wake up and freak out because you slept through your alarm and friends frantic text messages.

10:02 a.m.: Hurriedly dress and head to library to try and cram before the 11 a.m. test.

10:15-10:55 a.m.: Fill out entire study guide and begin remembering the concepts the professor has been going over all quarter, realize that everything connects and makes a lot of sense.

10:55-11:00 a.m.: Make a pact with God that if you pass this test you will always keep up with reading and never skip class again.

11:02 a.m.: Get the test from Professor, look at first page and realize that you don’t know any of the answers…

12:21 a.m.: Turn in test at last possible minute, you desperately plead with the professor to grade leniently because this class isn’t for your major and you don’t do well with essay questions.

2 days later: Get test back and realize you got an 80%, regain confidence in your scholastic ability. No longer worry about the Final, go home and play video games…

…it’s a wonder I have a 3.2.

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“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mohandas Gandhi


The other day I stumbled across a very interesting website. It was the homepage for the Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t know if you all have heard of this parish but it is located in Topeka, Kansas and is headed by Fred Phelps. It consists primarily of members of his larger than average family. The reason you may have heard of it is because of its infamous pickets and protests against many different things but primarily Homosexuality.

The url for the website is in fact: http://www.godhatesfags.com. I looked around the site for a while and honestly thought it was too much of a joke to be taken seriously. There is a scrolling number on the left hand of the screen letting browsers know the amount of souls God has cast into Hell while they have been on the site. Like I said it is pretty hard to take them seriously.

However this got me thinking about a bigger topic and about my own membership in the Christian church in America. I do not often put up outright religious posts on here but I feel that this is an important one as I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently.

I have been a Christian since I was 6 years old and my relationship with God has been an ever changing journey ever since. I have been a member of multiple different churches, each of which has done some very good and important things. However there has been a growing tendency I have noticed in the church that has really bothered and disturbed me. Its this idea of Hate, and how it manifests amongst followers of God.

There are some very tenuous topics that really upset most churches in America. Homosexuality (or Sexuality in general), Abortion, Alcohol, War, the list could continue. As a Christian and a Human Being I do have opinions on all of these things, but I do not feel that I need to share those right now. I am simply attempting to point out a trend with this post. And that trend is to carry a vendetta for God against people that we deem as sinners. So often we feel as Christians we need to bring truth to people by declaring what we feel is right as loud as we can. In America this looks like a lot of different and at times contradictory messages that confuse and disillusion the general public. This is how the Westboro Baptist Church gets billed as a legitimate opinion of the church. Because we somehow feel it is our calling to be able to have an opinion on all of these things and defend it ravenously. Yet with these opinions also come misunderstandings and miscommunications based on fear of what we do not know or understand.

Homosexuality is the easiest way to understand this concept. Homosexuals are often targeted by Christian groups as sinners and are disallowed close involvement in the church. We often say that we “Hate the Sin, not the Sinner”, but to the sinner this looks no different. It is still Hatred. And once someone is branded with the scarlet letter of homosexuality they are nearly discommunicated from a church system in America that is built for the average family and not the marginalized. As much as we want to be tolerant we still judge, as much as we want to understand we still make assumptions.

With homosexuality I have never understood the churches grand conviction. And how often did Jesus Christ mention this topic? Never. Yet we are so worried about it.

Pastor Richard Dahlstrom at Bethany Community Church preached a very interesting message about this idea of social paradigms last week. He discussed how it is so convienient and easy for us to label others because then we know exactly what we can expect from them and we are not afraid. However when people begin to cross up our labels we don’t understand and we immediately become afraid. He used this passage from Matthew 8:5-13 about the Centurion asking for Jesus to come into his home and heal a man. Jesus knew what the Centurion was all about presumably. He understood the label to put on him. But then the Centurion changed his ideas…

The Faith of the Centurion
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6″Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

When I think about Jesus’ life and what he accomplished here on earth I think about the groups of people he reached out to and the groups he condemned. Christ was compassionate and loving to everyone he came across. He spent time with the marginalized in society. When he spoke out against people he was always talking to the Pharisees’ the zealous religious types that would be judging others.

So I want to make sure that as a member of the Church and the Body of Christ I am open to loving people, and that I am not putting labels up. It is a comfortable thing to do as a human being; we want to know who is on each side. But God calls us to a greater thing, to love.

36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

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