Smurfs, The Lost Village – Movie Review

I took my kids to see this movie last week and they loved it! Me, not so much.  Growing up, I really never watched the Smurf’s on TV, so maybe that’s why I really didn’t care much for it. The climax was unexpectantly better than I thought it would be and made up for the bland plot though, so it wasn’t a total loss.

This movie is about Smurfette and her trying to figure out why she is the only girl in the whole village. Good question! Later on, she, along with her other friends, stumble upon a lost village made up entirely of girls Smurfs. They escape Gargamel, his vulture and Azrael several times and there was one scene that was funny to me, but just one. The script was dull.

The movie does have a feminist leaning. The roar at the end being “You can be whatever you want to be (if you’re a girl) and you can do anything a man can do. What I hear is ” you are special because you are a girl, not because of any merit.” I wont get into how annoyed I was by this throughout the movie because my kids were oblivious to this message anyway, but it does feel like I am seeing this 3rd wave feminism everywhere now, and I do not want to be a part of it. Maybe I will write about this later, as for now, I’ll just roll my eyes and enjoy the fact that my kids are entertained for the moment.

Recommendations: Little girls. This movie is geared for girls. I don’t think tween boys and older will like this movie.

To the Christian: The movie is just fine for kids. There isn’t anything inappropriate in it that stood out to me.

Be a Star

We’ve all done it. I pull up to the pick up line to pick up my kids from school and I can see my friend in her car waiting also for the bell to ring. Phone in my hand, I send her a text “I’m watching you” and she immediately looks around trying to find me. I have a big grin on my face and we both laugh and wave. It’s fun, we smile and then move on.

Another scene: I get upset at the person who almost ran over my kid in the parking lot. Phone in my hand, I post on facebook how people are so inconsiderate, I get several likes throughout the day, I feel justified in my emotion. It’s informative, I feel better and then move on.

Another scene: My child’s coach benched my kid for her bad attitude. Phone in hand, I post a rant about how it’s about the game not about winning, how some people take their public positions too seriously, and how I am taking my kid out of sports forever because the system is rigged against girls. I get several likes throughout the day. I feel justified in my emotion. It’s passionate, I feel better and then move on

There are so many other examples of these “scenes” I can give! As a very wise woman once told me: “Anna, you feel things very strongly.” Madam, yes I do! Some people call it passion, others soul or having convictions, or just plain emotional. And there is nothing inherently wrong with having strong feelings about true things. But there is something wrong when you have to constantly let someone or, in many cases, everyone know about your feelings.

Our phones are in our hands constantly. Even when my teenager is grounded from his phone, he “just wants to hold it” and know it’s there. Our phones and letting people know everything has become our comfort blanket. The time to sit and pause when we feel something strongly gets shorter every second. Even when our kids do something sweet for us, we don’t even take time to relish in their act of love. Can I confess: I’ve even asked my child to “redo” that act of love so I could post it on line. The beauty of God’s world, the cute things my children do, the romantic whims of my husband, the great Bible study I read, an elevating time during prayer, and even when I am sinning in my anger – I lay out for all the world to see.

Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”. Luke interviewed Mary for his gospel (Luke 1:1-3) because there is no other way he would know that she “pondered about things”, unless she told him. What was she pondering? We can only guess. Maybe it was about her delivery of Jesus, about what she though when she held the Savior of the world, about what she felt when the angels glorified Him, what she sensed when she heard the shepherds exclaim in joy and awe, or her gratitude for the gifts of the Magi. These precious moments were private, as many other things should be. We must fight the temptation to post or text quickly. There is nothing wrong with posting cute things, or how the Lord  has blessed you. All I am advocating is that we take the time to treasure these moments in our heart. To ponder over our pain or the unjust done by others and seek out comfort through prayer, through Bible verses and even through sound advice from a trusted sanctifying friend. To think through our persecutions, our trials and our struggles in the light of the Gospel and our testimony. Maybe even to take the time to thank God for those blessings or pray for strength to be a good Christian witness. And maybe, even to talk to our kids and thank them and hug them for not being little heathens that day.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 says, “. . . aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and . . . so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” When non-believers see our posts complaining, ranting, venting, or “just saying” we run the risk of ruining our testimony.  We fail to act properly. As Christians we should first run to God, our spouse and then maybe to a trusted friend before we tell the world our feelings – especially if we are experiencing strong feelings.

Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Don’t get defensive when another brother or sister corrects you in love.  What a paradox, we want everyone to know what we think, but do not want to hear what others have to say about what we think. Prepare yourself for reproof if you forget yourself while in the throws of passionate reprisals. And we should be careful not to be tempted to get in on an unloving rant, or like the self-righteous post.

My dear brother or sister, I say these things because I am preaching to myself. I am so tempted to share my anger, my joy, my pain, any and all of my feelings. There is no wisdom in this.

Proverbs 17: 27-28 says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

Philippians 2:14-16 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

“I wish there were less stars in the sky”, said no one ever. Let’s be stars.


Ghost in the Shell – Movie Review

When I saw the trailer to this movie, I was very excited to see it. The visuals and effects were mesmerizing.  And they are, but that is it. The plot is very bland, the characters are somewhat convincing, and where the movie tries to be emotional, it really comes out wanting. The best actor in the movie was Major’s mother, Hairi (Kaori Momoi). Her scenes (about 20 minutes total) were the most moving, despite the lack of emotion portrayed by Johansson.

This movie is set in a futuristic age where mostly everyone is a type of cyborg – humans with robotic features or robots with human features. Major’s (Scarlett Johansson) brain  is saved from an apparent crash and is the first of her kind. She is all robot except her brain and she struggles to find her identity throughout the movie. Is she a robot or is she human and how can she be both? Throughout the movie she finds out where she comes from, who she was, and how love prevails.

This is a movie set on the uniqueness of the protagonist, and unfortunately she really wasn’t that unique. I was disappointed in this. I am not into sci-fi that much, but even I can recognize a good story in a genre I  don’t enjoy extensively.

Recommendations: I can only recommend this movie to those who like the original anime. (Maybe, because I really do not know if the movie botched the story line of the anime or not.) Also, if you don’t care about movie depth and love great CG, then this would  be a good movie to watch. And to those who like cyborg/internet/sci-fi genres, then this may be a good fit.

To the Christian: The movie is rated PG-13. Frankly, Major looks naked half the time. The suit she wears is very close to looking like her skin, but there is a slight difference. There is a moment when she is very close to another female and it looks like they are about to kiss, but thankfully they don’t. There are cuss words thrown through out. I really don’t think I would let my teenagers watch this. They’re not missing out on much. If they like great CG, I would recommend they watch Kong – Skull Island instead.


A Jealous God

As a woman, I am no stranger to jealousy.

There is a difference between jealousy and envy though. Put very simply, jealousy is when something is mine and I hate that you’re using it. Envy is when something is not mine and I hate the fact that you have it. Lately, I have been feeling jealous a lot with my handsome 19 year old spending all his blooming time talking to his little girlfriend. He is mine and someone else is “stealing” his love, attention and smiles from me. (Once he is married, I pray my feelings will change, but until then HE IS MINE, NOT YOURS!)

In my devotional today I came across a word I don’t often hear as a characteristic of God. In Exodus 20:5 it says, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. . .” God is a jealous God. He is jealous of what comes before my eyes. He is jealous of what I do with my time. He is jealous of anything that “steals” my affections, my attention and my smiles from Him. Notice it’s not that I spend time with my children; it’s that I enjoy spending time with them more than I do spending time in His Word. It’s not that I love to crochet and listen to music, it is that I love doing that more than I love spending time in prayer – speaking to Him. It’s not that I love trying new foods and visiting new places, its that I enjoy them more than visiting with His people in His church. It is about my affections, or feelings about things that is the problem.

God does not want to compete with my loyalty. But before God can be jealous of what takes His place -this is something I have missed all this time – I first have to be His. Unlike my son who will one day marry and no longer belong to me, I will always belong to God. And He is rightfully jealous of anything that takes priority over Him.

In “Knowing the Living God” Paul Washer writes: “God is jealous in that He will not surrender His claim to that which is rightfully His.” God is not envious of my time spent on facebook. He doesn’t pine away hating that I have more fun with a screen than with Him. He’s is rightfully jealous of it! Why? Because He bought me with a price! Because He made me co-heir! Because He adopted me! Because He justified me! Because He is my owner and I take that for granted and meander into the arms of anything shiny. In a way, I am adulterous! We have all seen it. The wife who has a husband with a wandering eye. How quickly she tries to avert him with anything to keep him from giving his affection away. I am like him, belonging to someone else, placing my eyes on things that do not satisfy. Allowing my love to fleet to other things that continuously let me down. Busying myself in the temporal, the mundane and the finite. Hi, my name is Anna, but you can call me Gomer!!

It is Holy Week and revival week in my church. I have spent the last couple of days really contemplating my affections and what I delight in. Do I delight in His Word? Do I love His Church? Do I enjoy spending time in prayer? Do I rejoice in telling my children, friends and family what He has done in my life? Do I find spiritual things boring? Is my devotional a chore? And if I answer these questions honestly and the answer isn’t the one God would approve, what am I going to do about it?

There is comfort in belonging to Him. I am comforted that He is jealous because if He wasn’t, that would be even more frightening. It would mean I am an orphan (John 14:18). It would mean I am a commoner (Romans 8:17). It would mean I am abandoned.(Hebrews 13:5) It would mean I am alone.(Matt.28:20)  It would mean I am a child of darkness (Acts 26:18) and of wrath (Eph. 2:3). It would mean my father is the devil. (John 8:44) So, I am thankful, He in His mercy, has laid claim to me. But because He has, He perfectly harbors certain feelings because of what I do. He is perfectly and justly  jealous of my affections, and it is I, not Him, that needs to change.

Thankfully, He is also perfectly patient, forgiving, compassionate, loving and longsuffering. He will not abandon me or forsake me. My Father owns me, and knowing that, may I strive not to make Him jealous.












The Great Good Thing – Book Review

On my reading challenge I get to pick a book of my choice every once in a while. I decided to go with an author I’d never read – a Mr. Andrew Klavan to be exact. I first heard of Mr. Klavan on a show I watch called “Louder With Crowder”. He was a great interview and his quick wit just cracked me up. If you haven’t listened to these two fools just talk about life, you really are missing out. They bounce off each other’s comebacks and it is great comedy.

Mr. Klavan is an author and also has his own show called “The Andrew Klavan Show” on the Daily Wire. His latest book is an auto-biography on his conversion. The whole title of the book is: The Great Good Thing – A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ.

The book is a beautiful story. Some things that are vital in a church are sound preaching and worship; and the testimonies of the saints. This book is Mr. Klavan’s testimony and it left me wanting to know more about how he is doing in his faith now. Not because I doubt his conversion, but because I truly am excited for him! There were also so many things that he said that echoed my conversion. He truly is an author and his word usage is artistic. He does give a little more information than I would have liked on his past sins, but it does help in seeing from where God saved Him.

I got the audio version of this book and I was grateful that he is also the reader. The book had me laughing out loud quite a bit. Mr. Klavan does have the gift of joy. He elaborates more on this towards the end. He truly seems genuine and I greatly enjoyed his book.

Recommendations: I recommend this book to those who love to read about people’s testimonies. To the philosopher or writer at heart. To the Christian who has forgotten his joy. Or to anyone who enjoys reading Klavan books.

To the Christian: I really enjoy hearing about how others came to faith. I truly wish Mr. Klavan the best in his journey to Heaven. I also hope he continues to seek out God’s Word even more. The book does contain drug and sex references. God took Mr. Klavan from a very dark place (He did so for all of us). Although these paragraphs are not detailed, they are shocking sometimes – at least they were for me. I am used to hearing less detailed testimonies. But it really helps the reader understand just what mess Klavan was taken out of.

I truly hope we hear more from Mr. Klavan. I follow him on twitter and he always seems to have something witty to say.



Unicorns in the Bible

Originally posted on June 15, 2011

Answers In Genesis had a very interesting article today about unicorns. I didn’t know this, but apparently the word “unicorn” is used several times in the Bible, but in the King James Version. You can read about the article here.

Well this prompted me to look up some verses in the King James and I think I must conclude that the “unicorn” in the Bible isn’t referring to an ox or wild ox, but to a rhinoceros.

The word “unicorn” didn’t always mean  what we now portray as this magical horse with a horn growing out of its head. In the first edition of Webster’s Dictionary 1828 here are the two descriptions given for a “unicorn”:
1. An animal with one horn; the monoceros. The name is often applied to the rhinoceros
2. The sea unicorn is  a fish of the whale kind, called narwhal, remarkable for a horn growing out at his nose.
Notice how there is no mention of a horse or a fantastical being. The word “unicorn” meant just that – animal with one horn.

Just because we today have a connotation with the word “unicorn” it doesn’t mean readers in the 1800’s did back then. Look at the word “gay”. The word “gay” in the 1950’s meant happy. The word “gay” in the 1990’s and now means “homosexual”. And even now I hear teens use the word “gay” to reference something that’s “lame” or “silly” with no reference to sexuality. And that is just in a span of 60 years – much less 400 years!

Also, if the Bible says that it is speaking of an animal that has “one horn”, there is no reason for us to think it is speaking of an animal with two equal sized horns. For example and ox has two equal sized horns. There are two types of rhinoceroses. One with one horn and one with two horns. In Deuteronomy 33:17 the two-horned rhinoceros is the unicorn that the writer (probably Moses) is talking about: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”(emphasis mine). Manasseh and Ephraim were brothers and later where tribal names of the children of Israel. And one of the tribes was much larger than the other! Just like the horns of the two-horned rhinoceros.

I believe a rhinoceros is referred to a unicorn because it has just that, one horn.  An ox or a waterbuffalo on the other hand, have two large horns of equal size.

Look at the verse in Job 39:9-10 which says: “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?” This verse speaks about the inability to tame a unicorn. You can tame an ox, but try taming a rhinoceros!

There are other verses in the KJV Bible that could interchangeably use “rhinoceros” or “wild ox” for “unicorn”, but this is just an example of just how awesome God’s Word is. It is vast and deep.
Answers in Genesis is getting a lot of ridicule for what they stand for – that the earth is young and that God made this beautiful earth in literally 6 days and rested on the 7th and not millions of years. The people at AIG are creating a new theme park called The Ark Encounter. And because of this, some skeptics were asking if the “unicorn” would be included since it’s in the Bible. Yes! I do believe the unicorn will be included, but not the ones these people think!