Monday, December 17, 2007

Bourne Then and Now

This weekend we watched The Bourne Ultimatum, and then The Bourne Identity, because one is not enough. I love these films, but everytime I see one, I have to get on my soapbox about action film heros now vs. in the 80's.

When I first saw The Bourne Identity five years ago, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to read the Robert Ludlum novels which the movies are based on. I was very surprised to discover that Jason Bourne in the novels is really a chauvanistic jerk. He kidnaps Marie from a hotel and forces her to help him at gun point. It's been long enough since I read them that I don't remember if they get together, but I think at the least she helps him of her own free will after that. He is also ruthless and amoral. I recommend the books, because the stories are great, but they are definately different. There is also a Bourne Identity movie made much closer to the time of the books, and it's Bourne is very close to the book Bourne. We didn't enjoy it very much.

However, knowing the books, I laugh everytime I watch the new Bourne movies. It is such a great example of how the cultural expectations for men and relationships leave a lasting imprint on the hero. Far from the macho jerk in the books, Bourne in the movies is a Really Good Guy. He's an assassin, but he only kills the other assassins who are trying to kill him first. He doesn't carry a gun, but rather finds one each time he has to use one. He can speak any language, evade a chase in any tiny vehicle, defend himself with a ballpoint pen or rolled up magazine, yet he is lost without Marie. When it comes time to enlist Marie's help, he offers her a lot of money, and lets her choose. That is so much more appropriate behavior, because women today need to choose their destinies. It isn't until the bad guys kill Marie that he moves from reactive to proactive, and we know it's all because his heart is broken, so we can forgive just about anything. He's a killer we can love. He hardly even swears.

I sit there laughing and pointing out these things as we watch, and I love the films because Bourne is the kind of hero I can empathize with, for all the above reasons. I guess I'm as shaped by the culture I live in as Bourne is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

GOZ Christmas musical

This year Madeline and Abigail are dancing in the grand finale of our Glory of Zion Christmas musical. I've been having fun going to the rehersals with them and seeing more of the musical. Their part is at the end, but if any of you would like to see the musical, you can watch the live webcast online on Dec. 15th at 6:30pm CST. The link is You just choose the webcast info box at the bottom left corner of the screen, and follow the directions. The picture quality isn't the best, but the sound will be good. I'll try to wave at the camera. Maybe you'll see me!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Own Little Hanukkah

This year we are celebrating Hanukkah, along with Christmas. So, tonight, something funny happened. For a little background, Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle that happened when Judah Maccabee led a small army against the Romans, and reclaimed the temple in Jerusalem. It was before the time of Christ, during the 400 years between Old and New Testament. After they cleaned and prepared the temple, the Jews dedicated it again to the Lord. The Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, was scheduled to last for a week, but when they went to light the menorah, there was only enough oil for one day. It took 8 days to consecrate new oil for burning, so they couldn’t wait for that to happen. The miracle was that the oil lasted for the entire eight days, until the new oil was ready and could be used.

So Hanukkah is a celebration of God’s miracles of provision, and the Hanukkiah is a menorah with nine candle holders instead of seven like in the menorah. The middle candle is called the “servant candle,” which is a prophetic picture of Jesus. Jesus is called the light of the world, and said that if you want to be great in God’s kingdom, you must be a servant.

So, back to the story…I got nine votive candles and lined them up with little tea lights in them. I lit the center candle and the first candle on the left. We'll light one more each night. We enjoyed it for a while, and then I blew them out. William came by and said, “Hey, these aren’t burning!” I responded, “Yes, I blew them out because I didn’t want to use up all the tea light before the end of the eight days.” Ummm….Oh, that’s exactly what Hanukkah is celebrating-the miracle of the oil that lasted when there was only enough for one day. It struck me really funny that I was having the same worries the Jews had. I’m not sure I’m quite able to keep the votives burning for eight days straight just to see if the Miracle of Light happens in my living room.

By the way, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah too. See the following scripture.

John 10:22-39

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, `I have said you are gods'? If he called them `gods,' to whom the word of God came-and the Scripture cannot be broken- what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, `I am God's Son'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

It's interesting that Jesus keeps referring to the miracles He has performed, especially in light of the fact that they were celebrating the miracle God did at the first Feast of Dedication at the time.