Monthly Archives: February 2013

Films verses Books

I enjoyed “The passion of the Christ” but the book’s better.

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve read a book and they make a movie of it and it’s awful? When I heard (nearly 12 years ago now, where the does the time go?) that they were going to make The Lord of the Rings into a film I nearly cried but, fair play, Peter Jackson and his team did very well. But the Lord of the Rings apart, I could give you a long list of books that I love that have been made into films that I hate. So here are some of them, in no particular order;

The Princess Bride

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (REALLY bad film)

The Da Vinci Code

A couple of the Harry Potters (one or two were ok though)

The Bone Collector

Dracula (choose any version you want,  none of them are as good as the book)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (both the Swedish and the English films are weaker than the book)

The Great Escape (Now don’t get me wrong I love the film but the book – wow what a story of true heroism and ingenuity)

The Colditz Story (Same as the Great Escape)

All Ian Flemming’s Bond stories with the exception of Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale.

I could go on – (Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories, especially the Hound of the Baskervilles) but I won’t.

Other people tell me that the Twilight series is quite bad and so is the Hunger Games (I haven’t read them so I can’t really comment.)

There have also been quite a few films about the life of Jesus – everything from Jesus of Nazareth to the Life of Brian (although not strictly about Jesus of course, it was about the Messiah. “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!”) . One of the most recent is The Passion of the Christ. Now I found the Passion of the Christ to be a good film. It is well done, I really like that the dialogue is in Aramaic, the acting is good and the way it tells the story of the last few days of Christ’s ministry is excellent. But again, its not as good as the book.

The Bible story is brilliant. Tension, build up, excitement, torture, execution, love, betrayal – everything a good story should have, AND we have four versions of it so we get four times the ‘enjoyment’.

We’re in the run up to Easter, the time when this story takes place, and as we get closer we, in the Church, start to think more and more about what Easter means. Why was Jesus betrayed? What is Good Friday all about (and why is is it Good)? What does the resurrection mean to us in 2013? The film tells the story and tells it well but it doesn’t go behind what it all means. As you read the book you can do that.

Now I don’t claim to have all the answers, just as I don’t claim to know why Dobbie the House Elf was killed (oops, spoiler alert!) but I do know where we can explore these themes more fully.

If you would like to find out more leave us a comment or a message on our Facebook page.

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Take what you need…..

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Take what you need….

We live in a world of rush, of instant, of right now. We get impatient with the kettle when it doesn’t boil fast enough, our computer annoys us because it takes 15 seconds to start. We have TV on demand, cars that unlock without us even having to look for our keys and twitter to keep up with all the latest news/gossip in case we missed something. We’re so right now we’ve forgotten the idea of slowing down, and the Psalm that says, “Be still and know that I am God” has virtually no meaning for most people, being still is now not in our nature.

But it is within my lifetime that we didn’t have mobile phones, blue tooth was something you got from eating too many sweets. Twitter hadn’t even been thought of and video calls were the realm of Doctor Who and other fantasy shows. The pace of life has certainly picked up over the past few years.

But in-spite of (maybe because of) all our advances we are still a generation of needy people and even though the expressions of those needs have changed the underlying causes are still the same.

We need more twitter followers and Facebook friends, when I was in school we needed more schoolyard friends – underneath, whether they are physical or virtual friends, we still need acceptance.

“So I have a tatt and 27 facial piercings, get over it,” is not so different from, “I have pink spiky hair and listen to the Sex Pistols.” We grew out of it and our tolerance for those superficial differences has, hopefully, developed.

“Sorry mum, I’ve put the Wii controller through the tele screen” is only the modern (more expensive) incarnation of “Sorry dad I kicked the ball through the window.” The need for forgiveness hasn’t changed even if the bill for damages has.

We are, essentially, the same people with the same problems, needs and worries as the people to whom Jesus spoke. The causes of those fears and problems may be different but the feelings we have inside are, essentially, the same. We, like the people of long ago, still worry about our family, our taxes, our homes and friends and while it is true we don’t have a Roman invasion to worry about there an an awful lot more cyclists around now don’t you think, or is that just my fear?

2000 years ago Jesus spoke to those needs, fears, worries and concerns. He addressed the issues of tolerance and acceptance, of forgiveness and faith, he demonstrated what real love looks like, so why, oh why, oh why do most people (justifiably so in most cases) see the Church as the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. Instead of tolerance and acceptance most people see the Church as intolerant, a place of rejection; instead of forgiving and faithful most people see the Church as condemning and dysfunctional; they see no love for humanity and only hatred of any group that doesn’t fit into narrow, pre-prescribed ‘Church’ boundaries. It seems the Churches are actively trying to find reasons to exclude people – but when I read the Bible all I see is Jesus welcoming anyone and everyone with no exceptions!

So where is the care? Where is the concern? Where is that love for humanity that Jesus showed and the Church talks about so much?

Well, we at the Melbourne Welsh Church want to change those perceptions –

Love your neighbour as yourself, go the extra mile, do not judge – and the list goes on. These are not just great quotes but, we believe, ideals to live by.

So we’ve put up our sign – “Take what you need…” and we all need something.

Maybe it’s love – that love that takes us as we are, with all that means.

Perhaps its care – not just of our bodies but our minds and spirits as well.

Is it healing we’re after? – wholeness, the fulfilment of all we can be.

Faith and/or grace – those churchy words that can mean so many things or nothing at all depending on who you are.

Are we seeking Forgiveness, if so who off? Ourselves, a lover, friends, enemies even?

Acceptance and tolerance – not mattering who we are, how old we are, where we are from, the colour of our skin, who we love and care for, the size of our bank account and any of a million other little differences.

Hopefully the Melbourne Welsh Church can offer all these things, our aim is to be radically inclusive, welcoming, accepting and serving all we can.

Don’t expect perfection – we’re far from perfect but our aim is to welcome anyone and everyone for that is what Jesus did.

If you’ve taken one of the slips of paper from outside the church and landed on this blog we hope you find what you need – who knows you may even find it with us.

Leave us a comment, send us a tweet or leave us a Facebook message – we’d love to hear from you and hear how we can help you find what you need.

www.melbournewelshchurch.org

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Church sign of the week 2013 1

If history repeats itself I am so getting a dinosaur.

A strange way to start this year’s blog, but hidden inside this message are a couple of theological and philosophical points that show who we are and what we believe at the Melbourne Welsh Church are.

Firstly (I hope) it proves that we are not some ‘crackpot church’ that denies the idea of evolution. As far as we are concerned the world was not formed 5000 years ago. Dinosaur skeletons are not some massive Divine joke meant to make scientists look silly. “Look!” Says the white coated humanist, “I’ve found a 2 million year old blind dinosaur called a Doyouthinkhesaurus” and the creationists has a great laugh at his expense. I know God has a sense of humour but seriously, dinosaur skeletons? What about oil, cold, diamonds? Did he scatter them about for his amusement too?

As a Christian I find it impossible to deny the concept of evolution, the theory of the Big Bang. And why should we? In the opinion of many scientists the theory of the Big Bang and evolution goes further to explain the presence of God rather than deny it. Creation screams of order and design, the hand of God visible in the very fabric of the universe.

As a second point I hope the sign says that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Don’t get me wrong here, the grace of God, his mercy, love and forgiveness are very serious issues. How we make his love and grace available to the world is also important but if we can’t have some laughs along the way I must have the Maker wrong. Look at the platypus, tell me God doesn’t enjoy a laugh. He ordained me, he has a huge sense of humour.

The things that are serious we will take seriously but for the rest – we’ll join God for a good laugh.

Very few of the people that walk past and smile at the sign, and I’ve seen a few already this week, will read this blog. That’s fine – all they will see is a silly sign and if it gives them a smile then it’s done its job but for those who do read this hopefully they will realise that there is a lot of thought that goes into what we put up for the world to read.

But when I do get a dinosaur – I’m so getting a T-Rex and calling him Tiddles. Then…….

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