Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Out of the darkness...

This particular section I enjoyed in Peter Leithart's book House for My Name. He is discussing the contrast of light v dark in the Johannine gospel.

He draws a parallel between living in the dark as the living under the old covenant administration, and living in the light as embracing the new. Usually the assumption is made that walking in the darkness means that you are some way not saved, and you are far away from God. For those in the old covenant that may well be the case, but it is certainly not true for all people. There were those that walked in the dark who still knew God, but that needed now to step out into the light. This is the problem John is addressing here.

"But how are the Jews 'darkness'. The reminders of creation help us see what John means. Light and darkness are used in John 1 in the same way as they are used in Genesis 1. In Genesis 1 darkness is not evil. God separates light and darkness and still says both are good. Darkness is a part of creation; it is what comes before dawn. Since darkness comes before light, it is like the Old Testament period. It is good in itself, but the old covenant darkness is always intended to be temporary. It is supposed to last only until the light comes, until day begins. The sin of the Jews is not living in the darkness. Before the light comes, that is only thing they can do. Their sin is to cling to the darkness when the light has come. The sin is for darkness to seek to overpower the Light, instead of giving way to the Light. The sin is to love shadows rather than the reality."

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Shakespeare is Alive

One of the foremost things I have learn to value at New Saint Andrews is that we need to be those who learn from the past. When I read Luther, Calvin or Augustine often I am so immersed in the text or their ideas more generally, it is like there are right there, alive and well. It is if they are speaking and teaching me this very day. G.K. Chesterton comments on the same phenomena:

"Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture tomorrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with an original song. That who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare tomorrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth he has never seen before."

Friday, 4 December 2009

"Nine" Tim Burton

An unsleeping light drapes the darkened sky. An eerie desolation fills the landscape. The ground is hard and course. A stage set ready for adventure and story telling. Yet despite the obvious aesthetic quality and charm of the characters, Tim Burton’s movie Nine fails to satisfy both with its story and the worldview it conveys.

A band of nine strangely doll like, yet somehow robotic characters, join together to fight a machine ridden world. Only the small flecks and speckles of human civilisation endure. The film is dark, and suspended sense of horror is sustained through the film. The tone is melancholic at best, and provides not one moment of comic relief. This sombre film is in my opinion too scary and unnerving for children, its intended audience. Yet the thin plot, a ninety minute endeavour to destroy a single machine, fails to satisfy the adult viewer also.

As the story progresses, the nine heroes suffer numerous casualties. Confusingly however, once the remaining couple destroy our villain, the souls of fallen characters, which bear a peculiar shade of translucent green, are released back into the world. These souls represent their maker, the last human on earth. The message of this film is ultimately humanistic. Although mankind is extinguished for their folly and arrogance, the souls of those freed, ultimately depicts a world in which folly counts for nothing. Humans are victorious, despite the circumstances. Although it may provoke discussion, this film will leave children puzzled and confused and will prove in no way edifying.