Saturday, April 4, 2009

Truth by the Book: The Neverending Story

Truth by the Book: The Neverending Story

Truth in the Land of Make Believe
by Father Ignatius Xavier
A Storyblazer Review of Movies

Truth by the Book
The Neverending Story

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Some people retreat to the world inside books in order to escape the ordinary and sometimes depressing world in which they live. Bastian Balthazar Bux escapes into a antique bookstore in order to escape three bullies who want to throw him in a trash dumpster. Once inside he meets the mysterious owner Mr. Koreander. He is reading a big book with a weird symbol on the cover called ‘The Neverending Story’. Bastian the bookworm’s eyes are drawn to this new piece of literature as a hungry bear is drawn to a camper in a tent. When asked if he can soak up the words of this new story, he is denied by the owner.

The reason for the denial is that the book is not a safe one to read. In ordinary books you become the character your reading about, Tarzan, Captain Nemo, Peter Pan, but when the book is over, you get to go back to the real world and lead your normal life. Not so with “The Neverending Story.” Despite the warning to keep the book cover closed, Bastian borrows the book and absorbs himself in its pages, literally.

The main crux of the story involves the magical land of Fantasia which is being ravished by terrible force called the Nothing. The Nothing sweeps through the land wiping out of existence anything it touches. Along with the Nothing matters, is the sickness of the ruler of Fantasia, the Childlike Empress. A young warrior named Atreyu is sent on a mission to find a cure for the Childlike Empress and to possibility find a way to defeat the Nothing.

As Bastian reads along he begins to slowly realize that the characters inside the book are aware of his presence. They hear him when he shouts in fear. When the hero Atreyu looks into the Magic Mirror Gate, he sees Bastian reading the book that he is a character in. What freaks him out the most is when The Childlike Empress tells Atretyu, “He is listening to every word we say.” Through reading the book, Bastian has become a permanent part of the Neverending Story.

It's just a STORY. It isn't REAL!-Bastian

If the Neverending Story is a dangerous book to read the Bible is most certainly very lethal. The Bible contains living words that attach it self to the human soul like a leech. It sucks out all the bad sin tainted blood and leaves its life giving spirit in place of it. It sucks up the Nothing in our souls and leaves Someone who fills it with His all-embracing presence.

As the characters in the Neverending Story are aware of its reader, the principal character of the Bible, the Lord Jesus, is aware of its reader. When we read Scripture, if our spiritual hearing aid is working properly, we can hear God’s word speaking to us personally. He doesn’t speak to us in a vague general sort of way as normal human authors speak to people in books, but speaks specifically to us in that very moment we are reading it. The Holy Spirit who permeates the pages of the scriptures interacts with the reader and makes God’s story a permanent part of his inner being.

Unlike the characters in the Neverending Story, we are not always aware of the one who is reading our lives or that we are even in a story. Our lives are an open book to God who is also the author of the book. God is an active reader who becomes part of our stories and invites us to actively participate in it along with him. God wants us to give ourselves totally to Him in freedom so that our story will be Neverending.

The words of Holy Scripture speak directly to the human person, giving the reader words of encouragement, challenge, and personal instruction. If you let the Word of God get into your bloodstream you cannot go back and lead the life you once lived because God’s story has taken root in your soul. If you don’t want God to invade your life, don’t pick up His word. It’s dangerous and not a safe book.

Copyright StoryBlazers 2009

DARK TRUTH Revenge of the Sith

DARK TRUTH: Revenge of the Sith

Truth in the Land of Make Believe
by Father Ignatius Xavier
A Storyblazer Review of Movies

Revenge of the Sith

So, if you think you are standing firm,
be careful that you don't fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

Darth Vader is the most feared murderer in the galaxy. You better not cross his path if you don’t want to be chocked or sliced in two with his light saber. If you tick him off he can blow your planet up with his moon sized battle station the Death Star. He single-handedly killed most of the Jedi Knights who were the custodians of peace throughout the galaxy. How did this man formally known as Anakin Skywalker become the Dark Lord of the Sith? Did he seek after power and glory and other un-godly things and become corrupt along the way? Actually it was the pursuit of something good that caused his downfall from a intergalactic hero to an intergalactic villain.

One of the many abilities that the Jedi have is the ability on occasion to see into the future. On one particular occasion Anakin sees to his horror the death of his wife Padme. He is overcome with fear, worry and anxiety about her impending death. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious) offers a way to save Padme’s life. If Anakin will forsake the narrow-minded rules of the Jedi order and learn the ways of the Dark Side of the force, it will give him the power to save her from death.

As Anakin is tempted with power to do something good (save the one that he loves and who is carrying his children) by what he has been told is a bad means. His anger and hurt at the Jedi Council is used to loosen his resolve.

Anakin is distraught that the Jedi Council denied him the rank of Master and that his mentor ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is constantly on his case about being a better more disciplined Jedi. This resentment slowly grinds away at his defenses. With his wounded pride Palpatine convinces Anakin that the Jedi are corrupt and have turned against the republic and against Anakin himself.

Obi-Wan: You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind until now... until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.

Anakin Skywalker: Don't lecture me, Obi-Wan. I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the dark side as you do. I have brought peace, justice, freedom, and security to my new Empire.

Obi-Wan: Your new Empire?

The first step in convincing Anakin to trust in him and to eat the forbidden fruit of the Dark Side was to convince him that good was really evil, and that evil was really good. His fear of losing his wife and his animosity at the Jedi Council caused him to bite into this lie and the fruit of that action was Anakin giving his allegiance to a man who in all reality didn’t give a hoot about whether his wife lived or died. He just wants Anakin’s skills to off the Jedi so he can be free to be ruler of the universe. Along the way Anakin began to love the evil he had embraced and to hate the good he had left behind.

After he kills the Jedi he is confronted by his wife who can not believe the things he has done. Feeling confident about his new found abilities, he informs his wife with total arrogance and pride, “I am more powerful than the Chancellor, I... I can overthrow him! And together, you and I can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!” Crying she responds “Anakin, you're breaking my heart! And you're going down a path I cannot follow!”

Moments after this tearful plea for Anakin to abandon his new dark path, Obi Wan steps out of Pademe’s spaceship. This sends Anakin into a fit of rage, as he believed she betrayed him in bringing the disgusting Jedi to where he was secretly killing those that stood in the way of his new found love of power. In a fit of rage he starts to strangle her. The very reason he embraced the dark side was to save his wife’s life and now here he is chocking her.

A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. CCC 1753

You cannot embrace evil to do a good act. The evil you embrace is always more powerful then you are and will hold on tight and destroy you in the process. Sin will always tempt you with good things in a distorted way. It will try to convince you that the evil you are doing is worth the good it will bring about. It will pump you up with enough pride and make you think you are more powerful then the dark forces that are actually in control of you. It will promise you much and deliver you little.

The devil promises us delight and pleasure in his false promises and then turns around and kicks us when the evil we have embraced crushes us underneath its heavy weight. After Anakin’s broken body is encased in his menacing armored suit, he asks about the health and well being of his beloved wife. His new mentor in whom he put his trust punches him with the semi-lie that in a fit of rage he killed her. This is not what he intended when he put his faith in this man.

It is better to suffer and let bad things happen to you then to do bad things and let it destroy you. If you trust in Christ, he will take your hurt, pain and anguish and turn it joy, peace, and goodness. He can take your crappy situation and make it smell like roses. Jesus tells us we must pick up our cross and carry it. This is the only way to eternal life.

Let us trust in the Lord who loves us, even though it will cause us temporary pain, and not in the devil who hates us, which can cause us momentary and even great comfort, but eternal pain.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36

If we have failed and crossed over to the dark side, God offers us redemption in Jesus Christ. In the end Anakin repented and was redeemed as he lay dying in his son‘s arms. God desires the death of no one, (that is NOONE) so even the worst sinner can step out of his dark suit and come into the light of day.

Let us not wait till were on deaths door to turn back and rest in the Son’s arms, because today is the day of salvation. So if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95:7)

Found at

• Be prepared for things to go wrong.
• Size matters not.
• It's not wise to upset a Wookie.
• Sometimes it's better to fly into an asteroid field.
• In negotiations, a thermal detonator can come in handy.
• Electricity really *hurts*.
• Never cast your lightsaber away, you just might need it.
• If your droid sneaks up on you while you're kissing a princess, ignore him.
• Boys from backwater farming planets are better shots then imperial storm troopers.
• Never proclaim your "moment of triumph" before it actually happens.
Posted by Steubiefom

No Hiding The Truth: The Truman Show

No Hiding The Truth: The Truman Show

Truth in the Land of Make Believe
by Father Ignatius Xavier
A Storyblazer Review of Movies

No Hiding The Truth
The Truman Show

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed,
or hidden that will not be made known. Matthew 10:26

Truman Burbank is an ordinary guy. He goes to work, spends time with his wife Meryl , drinks beer and hits golf balls with his best friend Marlin and dreams of going away to Fiji. But there is a secret about Truman that everyone around him knows that he doesn’t. His whole life is a TV Show. Truman thinks he lives in the town of Seahaven on the Gulf Coast near Tampa, but in actuality it is a giant soundstage in California. The cameras have been on Truman, broadcasting his life to the world, ever since he came out of the womb. All his friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and even his wife are actors. The show is broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Millions tune in to witness Truman, eat, sleep, work and play.

To keep Truman from discovering the truth about his world, there are constant reminders about what a great place Seahaven is. From his youth he has been trained to fear water and his attempts to leave the island are foiled by lack of good transportation. There have been those who have tried to inform Truman of his reality, only to be booted off the show. One such former actress who got canned for all most spilling the beans is an woman named Sylvia.

One night she calls into a rare TV interview with creator, producer and director of the Truman Show named Christof. She boldly declares to him the injustice of what has been done to Truman. She tells him, “You're a liar and a manipulator and what you've done to Truman is sick!" . . . Christof responds

"I have given the chance for Truman to lead a normal life. The world, the place you live in, is the sick place. Seahaven is the way the world should be."
Sylvia shoots back with "He's not a performer, he's a prisoner. Look at him, look at what you've done to him!" To that Christof replies that if Truman really wanted to know the truth he could. “If his was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him.”

This prophecy starts to come true, as Truman starts to see cracks of reality unfold all around them. Stage lights fall from the sky, he walks into stage sets, and most mysteriously of all, he sees his dead father standing on the sidewalk on his way to work one morning. Slowly he begins to work out the puzzle of his existence and it eventually leads him to outside world despite Christof’s best efforts to keep stuck in TV land.

1.7-billion were there for his birth. 220 countries tuned in for his first step. The world stood still for that stolen kiss. And as he grew, so did the technology. An entire human life recorded on an intricate network of hidden cameras, and broadcast live and unedited 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to an audience around the globe. Coming to you now …… in its 30th great year, it’s The Truman Show!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Certain militant atheists and Satan himself would like people to believe that God does not exist and that this material life is all there is to reality.

Those who hate or misunderstand God try to suppress the truth about his existence hoping people will pass through their life never questioning the ultimate meaning of reality as Truman did about his. No matter how hard the evil one tries to keep the world in ignorance on a soundstage of unreality, God’s truth can not be hidden for too long without it seeping through the lies that try to fence it in. God’s signature is written on every piece of creation and his voice echo’s deep within the human heart. His radiance shines forth in those men and women committed to testifying to the wondrous certainty of his mysterious presence.

Despite the fall of man kind, a seed of truth lies wedged in the heart of each man and woman. When a person starts to feel the seed scratch his soul they can either ignore the inner irritation or try and seek to scratch it with God’s reality. To those who seek the truth they will find it. (Matthew 7:7) The cloud of sin only blocks God’s presence it doesn’t obliterate it. God is only too willing to let his light break though the clouds of ignorance and doubt so those that are prisoners can be set free to fully live life. (John 10:10)

Each and every one of us is the star of his own reality show. God, the angels, and saints are tuning in. They are routing for us and praying for us just as Sylvia did for Truman. In particular we have special woman interceding for us. The Blessed Mother Mary prays that each and every one of her children would see the truth about God and walk off the unreality of unbelief. Her prayers open the heart to receive the heavenly rain that falls upon its soil, causing it to come alive with the flowers of truth and reality. When our paralytic legs get the strength to walk, we like Truman can leave the fake world constructed by lies and falsehoods and walk out into the truth constructed by God.

We can then join Truman in saying to his past life,

“In case I don't see ya:
Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”

A Few Extra Thoughts to Ponder

“Did you ever think about life
as a metaphor for television?” - Chuck Palahniuk

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,

-William Shakespeare (from As You Like It 2/7)

Sam: I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into? -

Frodo: I wonder. But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know , or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know.

Sam: Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, or course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards.

-J.R.R. Tolkein Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Persecuted For The Truth: HP&TOOTF

Persecuted For The Truth: HP&TOOTF

Truth in the Land of Make Believe
by Father Ignatius Xavier
A Storyblazer Review of Movies

Persecuted For The Truth
Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix

Blessed are those
have been persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

As Harry Potter, famous boy wizard sits in his ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’ class, his new teacher Dolorous Jane Umbridge informs the class about recent current events in the wizarding world. “Let me make this quite plain. You have been told that a certain Dark Wizard is at large once again. This is a lie.” These words puncture Harry’s heart more fiercely then any knife could have. Years ago when Harry was just a babe, he survived an attack on his life by the most dangerous wizard in recent memory, ‘He Who Must Not Be Named‘, Lord Voldemort.

This dark wizard who was feared throughout the land terrorized and killed many people including Harry’s parents with the unforgivable killing curse. When he tried to use it on Harry, the protective spell of his mothers love shielded him from the attack. The curse rebounded on its originator turning him into a little wisp of a phantom and turning Harry into an instant hero. As far as the wizarding world is concerned, ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ is gone, finished and done for.

Harry responds to professor Umbridge’s statement with “It’s not a lie! I saw him. I fought him.” During the last event for the tri-wizarding tournament, in whom Harry is a participant, he is transported from the safety of Hogwarts School, along with fellow friend and competitor Cedric Diggory, to a grave yard wear he witnesses the rebirth of his archenemies, Lord Voldemort. Cedric is killed in front of him, and Harry barely escapes with his life as Lord Voldemort and his gang of Death Eaters try to do Harry in. When he returns to the safety of Hogwarts, he lets the world know that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned.

‘Professor Umbridge gives Harry detention for piping up in class and challenging her version of the truth. His punishment consisted of writing several times ‘I must not tell lies‘. He writes this with a special pen that uses his own blood as ink and causes the scars of his words to be written in his hands. Despite the unpleasantness and injustice of this act, he continues to try to warn people that their arch enemy is back. But it seems as if the majority wants to live in the illusion of what is pleasant and nice.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ Mark 4:9

Instead of the acceptance of this important piece of information, Harry is looked on with scorn by the people who once looked up to him as a hero. The minister of magic, head of the wizarding government, Cornelius Fudge, despite the incontrovertible evidence that the Dark Lord has returned insists “He is not back.”
He tries to suppress and ignore the warnings and to inform the community that there is nothing to worry about. Along with scorn from the government, the media adds its little stab at his heart. ’The Daily Profit’ through its tabloid journalism tries to make Harry look like a nut job.
And if that didn’t hurt enough some of his friends who looked up to him as a hero on the Quidditch field (the big sport in the wizarding world which is equivalent to rugby on broomsticks) now treat him as if he had the plague.

If Harry remained quiet and just summated to what everyone wanted to believe, he wouldn’t get so much grief from everyone. Realistically Harry can not be silent about the truth he has witnessed. He has seen with his own eyes, the return of the dark wizard. And the disapproval of the government, the media, and his friends can not change that. Even physical torment can not keep him quiet to what he has seen and heard.

Christians have witnessed an evil more wicked then Lord Voldemort and have a remedy to defeat that evil. They have witnessed to the world that is shrouded in darkness and have offered a light to dispel that darkness. But just like poor Harry they are treated with scorn and resentment. Many don’t like light of truth shining in their dark corner of what they perceive to be well lit.
They try to stuff the candle out by destroying it.

Fudge is using all his power, including his influence at the Daily Prophet, to smear anyone who claims the Dark Lord has returned. Fudge isn't in his right mind. It's been twisted and warped by fear. Fear makes people do terrible things, Harry. The last time Voldemort gained power he almost destroyed everything we hold most dear. Now he's returned, and I'm afraid the Minister will do almost anything to avoid facing the terrifying truth. -Sirius Black:

Jesus testified that those who listen to the truth hear his voice. Those who didn’t like the sound of Jesus’ voice tried to silent him by ending His life. But Our Lord rose three days later and sent the Holy Spirit to continue proclaiming God’s truth to the world. Jesus told his disciples that,

“On my account you will be arrested, and brought before men who will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” (Matt 10: 17-24) 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20

Not everyone wanted to hear Jesus voice then, and not everyone wants to hear his voice echoing now through the voices of his sheep. For the last 2000 years, Christians have been willing to be persecuted physically, socially and verbally for witnessing to the truth of Christ. The fire of Christ’s truth is so bright and burns so deeply within certain souls that nothing can stop them from letting it shine in the world through their witness. The light of martyrdom has shone more brightly in the 20th century then in all the past 20 centuries combined.

Harry Potter knew that to betray the truth would kill his soul and that to live in a lie would bring no peace. He persevered and suffered for the truth no matter what the cost. For Christians Truth is a person and to lay down your life for him brings the guarantee of eternal life. Perhaps you will never lose your life physically for Christ, but you may be ridiculed and made fun of. You may gain the scorn of family, friends, and society. But the sufferings you may endure from others is nothing compared to the rewards you will get by serving the Lord of Truth and Light.

The Legendary Truth

Truth in the Land of Make Believe
by Father Ignatius Xavier

A Storyblazer Review of Movies

Fantasy & Science Fiction Films as a mirror reflecting God’s Truth

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

The last place you would expect to find God is in a world overrun by vampires. The year is 2012 and 90% of the world has been wiped out by a lethal virus. 1% survived with immunity to the virus but were hunted down by the 9% that had turned into vampires. The last remaining normal human being is U.S. Army virologist Lieutenant colonel Robert Neville who is accompanied by his faithful dog Sam. He spends his days hunting, exercising, playing, searching for other possible survivors via a radio broadcast, and trying to find a cure for those turned into vampires, he has dubbed Dark Seekers.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. Psalm 139: 7-8

He thinks he is the last man on earth until he meets survivors Anna Montez and a young boy named Ethan. They heard one of Robert’s radio broadcasts and have come from Maryland to New York to find him. She tells a bitter and skeptical Robert that it was God who led her to him. “The world is quieter now. We just have to listen. If we listen, we can hear God's plan.” Mother Teresa tells us that “We cannot find God in noise and agitation. In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls. In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice.”

"The people, who were trying to make this world worse... are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness."-Robert Neville quoting Bob Marley

The last place you would think you could learn about God is in a science fiction horror movie. But God is always found in “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.” (Phil. 4:8) A good story will always reflect God’s truth. Jesus used stories to illustrate certain key points he wanted his listeners to understand because a good story incarnates truth into a knowable form that people can grasp easier than a straight theological lecture.

Peter Kreeft says of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, that one of the reasons why we love Middle-Earth so much is because it is more real then our own world. Through the lens of Fantasy we can see the truths in our own world more clearly. The purpose of this small set of essays is to get you to see the truth of the world more clearly through the medium of fiction portrayed in science fiction and fantasy films.

This genre of film is immensely popular with a great many of the worlds movie lovers as shown by the box office receipts it generates. Because of the popular appeal of this genre, it is ripe with opportunities to find traces of God in its storylines and images. You can not escape God’s presence. If you go see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, He can be there. If we look and listen with the eyes of the Holy Spirit we can see an analogy of God’s truth in many of the popular science fiction and fantasy films we love so much. So come and take a journey with Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Spiderman and others as we explore God’s truth in the magical worlds of cinema.

Fiction is the truth inside the lie. -Stephen King

As you travel along the road of words in these essays some key quotes, either from the film itself or from some other reptile source, will stand out boldly to highlight certain key thoughts or ideas in the story. The quotes will either make a certain point more clear or just give you something fun to ponder about.