Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Snow

A note as per my review, you may even want to call it a full disclosure. I received a note from a friend, Rob Harris about a new movie he was in titled, A Christmas Snow. I know Rob from his involvement in a little independent film called Jesus Fish some time ago. We became friends along the rest of the guys at Tiroma Films. It is good to see Rob and the rest of the folks at Tiroma starting to get more recognition for their work, they deserve it.

With some hesitancy I purchased the movie A Christmas Snow. If it hadn’t been for knowing that Rob was in it, I don’t know if I would have purchased it or not. I was surprised at the story and unique twists that had components of Its A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. While there are components of those stories, there is enough originality here to please most Christmas fans. There is quality story and very good to terrific acting in the movie.

A Christmas Snow follows a single father, Andrew, and his young daughter, Lucy. Andrew is a widower who has fallen in love with a scrooge of a girlfriend, Kathleen. In a surprising turn of events, Andrew, played by Anthony Tyler Quinn, has to leave his pesky, and at times, rude daughter, Lucy, played very nicely by new comer, Cameron Ten Napel with Kathleen while he attends an emergency business trip. Kathleen, who doesn’t care much for children, and has reasons to be a scrooge, reluctantly agrees to care for the child for what is supposed to be a couple of days at most. The character of Kathleen is played very nicely by Catherine Mary Stewart. On the first night of Lucy’s stay, Kathleen decides to make a run to the store, along the way, she has two incidents with a homeless man. Sam, played beautifully by Muse Watson is a mystical sort of man despite his situation. As the night progresses, she agrees to take Sam to the bus station where he is attempting to catch a bus to visit his family for Christmas which he hasn’t seen in many years. The bus station is closed so Kathleen invites Sam to stay with her overnight because he had helped her from an attempted robbery at the store. That night, a snow storm hits the community and it changes everything.

As the story progresses we see characters change and a terrific performance by Muse Watson. One of the things we see is that things are not always as they appear and sometimes behaviors can be explained if one takes the time to listen. One of the things I liked was that while seeing this happen with the characters on screen the viewer also has their opinions changed and sees things from a different perspective, thus having their opinions change. I found myself caring for characters I initially didn’t like, and found myself following the story with that traditional, ‘Holiday’ feel I personally like to experience.

As many readers may know, I am also a pastor. As a pastor I follow some traditions of my own. One of those is I always teach on a character in the Christmas story known as Simeon. Simeon is a little known character in the Christmas story. We read about Simeon in Luke Chapter 2. Through the process of A Christmas Snow, some of the lessons, and the story of Simeon come out. It is one of those beautiful things to see in a film, the reality that in a non preachy way, spiritual truths and concepts can be learned and taught in a thought provoking way. The inclusion and importance of a Biblical story, related to Christmas thus provides a Christmas memory and experience that not only entertains, but also causes the viewer to reflect on their own life, their own experiences. We soon realize, that dreams are at times possible, and if we allow, God will find a way to help us realize our dreams and desires. This is a huge part of the Christmas story often left out, or simply not known to many who don’t read the whole story.

The truth is, there are a ton of lackluster Holiday movies that seem to manipulate and take advantage of their audience. It was refreshing to see one that respected the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus, but doing so in a respectful way. While faith is an important backdrop in this film, it is done in a respectful way that will cause the viewer to reflect on their own stories and not insult the person who is not as faithful to the religious associations of Christmas. While only time will tell for the larger movie viewing audience, I expect this movie to become a regular Christmas tradition at my household. There aren’t many of those ‘classics’ in my repertoire of Holiday Films, but A Christmas Snow has as much a chance to become a classic for my home as any holiday movie I have seen in some time.

I expect that A Christmas Snow will be much better than expected for many giving it a chance. It has all of the ingredients to add spice to that Christmas Cider, along with enough touching and tender moments to brighten up the lights around the house. Then, as many families with children known, there are those surprises that come about when some of those presents under the tree are opened. Thankfully, there is also the love among families which we all want and we all desire, but at times don’t experience. Many of us dream though, we dream dreams that all things are possible, and that healing can take place. For those reasons, I will watch this again, not just for my own joy, but for the opportunity to once again, experience some of those good things, some of those blessings if you will, that we all look forward to, especially at Christmas time.

To see the trailer for the film, click on the following video. If the video doesn't appear, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkfcAIXI2Fg


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Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

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Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Is Up With Television These Days?

Am I the only one who has noticed as of recent the improvement in television programming? I have heard from others that they think there is more originality and better storytelling on television than there are for theatrical release movies. It has me scratching my head and asking; ‘What’s up with that?’

I am not normally one to watch network television, for all kinds of reasons, mainly it has to do with the same old storytelling and frankly the time consumption it takes to watch 42 minutes of programming that takes an hour of your time. That is where I can openly state; ‘Thank God for TiVo and DVR recording!’ With the advent of these devices, I can whip through an hour program in about 44 minutes. I don’t know about you, but for me, time is valuable. With that said, I have discovered several programs this year that are for my wife and I, a step above the rest and programming we consider must watch television, the surprise in all of this for us, it the number of programs on network television.

I recently decided to go through and list my top 10 programs of the year. I will also share a few worth honorable mention.

First the two honorable mentions:

Surprisingly the first two programs on my honorable mention list are on the History Channel and air back to back on Mondays. The two are American Pickers and Pawn Stars. These are two reality programs that explore real people, in their real jobs. American Pickers follows two long time friends as they traverse the countryside looking for what some consider junk, and others consider valuables. The relationship between these two characters and the stories of those they come into contact with is refreshing. On the flip side in Pawn Stars we see the operations of a successful pawn shop in Las Vegas. While we learn about the operations of pawn shops, we also learn about the valuables many people have. While American Pickers falls just short of my top 10 list I find the packaging of these two programs together make them both worthy of honorable mention in my own top 10 list.

There is one other program my wife insisted I put on my list, and I agreed, it is the ABC program, Castle. In this crime drama we see a unique perspective between writer Matt Castle and detective Kate Beckett. Mixed in are original mysteries and the relationships between Castle and Beckett. Castle, a single father, gives his input to help solve crimes while at the same time using his deductive reasoning. In some ways the show is similar to The Mentalist on CBS, but enough unique differences to at least give it an honorable mention spot.

#10 on my list is the new CBS Hit of the season, and a remake with a retelling of an old standard, Hawaii Five – O. Here we see an adequate modernization of characters created in my own youth. As with the original, and other programs such as Miami Vice, this program will contribute to the cultural norms of society, from its music to dress, this program is on the cutting edge. It shows what can be done when one recreates an older program, but at the same time realizing it needs to go in its own direction as much as possible. There is a good blending of characters and enough good stories to keep the viewer going. I especially appreciate the focus on friendship and family.

#9 on my list occurs on Wednesday nights, again on CBS. It is the new program, The Defenders starring Jim Belushi as attorney Nick Morelli and his partner, attorney Pete Kaczmarek played by Jerry O’Connell. This series follows escapades of two real life Vegas Attorneys and the chemistry between O’Connell and Belushi is nothing short of wonderful. We also see a little different twist on the old standard courtroom drama. CBS has done a good job at incorporating story, chemistry, drama and comedy. We also see a different side of the law with a focus on defense attorneys. We see that the stories and perceptions presented by the media of the charged individual does not always mean they are guilty. The Defenders does a good job at presenting value in the old adage, ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Thankfully it does it in an entertaining way where we see some attorneys who are still willing to stand up and fight against injustice.

#8 on my list is another CBS program, Criminal Minds. This is one of the older programs to make it to my list, this in and of itself not only says something about the quality of this program, but the quality of the new season of programs. Criminal Minds is more than a CSI style network thriller; there is a quality presentation of the profiling procedure and the investigative procedure of understanding human psyche. Dealing primarily with the serial killers and psychotic killers, the characters and chemistry is outstanding. The stories are thought provoking and not what one would expect to see on network television. Criminal Minds is graphic and at times difficult to watch. Much like the highly respected CSI programs it goes a step beyond though in its themes. I appreciate it because each weekly episode can be seen as a stand alone show.

#7 on the list is yet, another CBS program. It has what may be one of the most enjoyable and entertaining characters of any program on television. That is the character of Patrick Jane played beautifully by Simon Baker. The Mentalist, while having strong ongoing themes, stands alone with each episode. This is a character driven show that is fun, entertaining, and enjoyable to watch. The character and plot line are unique enough that one can’t have too many ongoing expectations as to the plot. This season has had enough twists and turns to keep the show in my top 10 despite it also being an older program. The enduring fan base for The Mentalist is not lost. It is in many ways everything good about what television used to be.

#6 on my list is the first from ABC television. It is a new series with one of my favorite actors, Michael Imperioli formerly of HBO’s The Sopranos. Imperioli plays Detective Louis Finch on the crime drama, Detroit 1-8-7. The opening episode of this one grabbed the viewer, and has kept them through out the season. Not since Hill Street Blues have I seen as shocking an opening episode to a series. The character development in this program, especially Detective Finch and his partner, Detective Damon Washington, played by John Michael Hill has something many motion pictures could learn from, character development. The viewer finds themselves caring about these two and other characters in the program. There are always surprises around the corner, and I suspect there will be more by season’s end that will surprise the viewer.

#5 on my list is the favorite of many. While a pay per view network program, Dexter has in many ways replaced the lost and needed entertainment provided by programs like HBO’s The Sopranos. This Showtime favorite has Showtime doing what many once thought unthinkable, that is taking over as the top cable network for television series. The remarkable thing about Dexter is that one finds themselves rooting for a serial killer. If you don’t know the themes and concepts behind the series you may want to be careful before making too quick a judgment as to the appropriateness of this program. While Dexter Morgan is a serial killer, he is one with more of a conscious than one may realize. In most years Dexter would be my top program, this year it took some time to get into the character development, but once it did, it has taken off and soared. Even with the slow development of the early part of the series, it is still strong enough to be #5 on my list. That says something about this terrific all round cast that many consider the best show on television. The advent of this show alone almost makes it worth it to purchase the Showtime package. The fact that Showtime has another program on my top 10 list makes Showtime a worthwhile purchase.

#4 on my list is another Showtime program, The Big C. Now understand, while a short series it is still strong enough to do two things for me. One is to have the program at #4 on my list, the other is to do as many critics have already stated, have Laura Linney’s name placed on the Emmy for best actress in a television series. One shouldn’t stop there though, while there is an almost certainty of her winning this award, her performance is far from the only outstanding performance. The top 4 of my top 10 is so close that either program could have almost gone in any of those spots, if this series had been longer, it would have been no contest. This series dealt with a character going through terminal cancer, but much more than that. There was everything from rude neighbors, to family, affairs, and learning from mistakes. There was even the exploration of faith and eternity explored in beautiful, touching, thought provoking ways. There was one episode dealing with forgiveness, in of all places, a church that was simply breathtaking. Showtime in this program did everything right. There were more than a few teary moments and Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Phyllis Somerville, John Hickey, Idris Elba and Gabourey Sidibe made up the best ensemble cast not just in television this year, but the best ensemble cast period. Not only was The Big C refreshing for television programming, it was thought provoking and for many, life changing.

#3 on my list will be for many a shocking surprise, the program on The History Channel is a spinoff series and far more suspenseful, entertaining, and breathtaking than its predecessor, Ice Road Truckers. The program, IRT Deadliest Roads is not only a challenging portrayal of culture, it is a hold your breath program. IRT Deadliest Roads follows truckers from the television series Ice Road Truckers as they drive in India’s Himalayan Mountains. We see the exploits of several truckers driving on roads that are what most would consider undriveable. We also see the exploration of a culture in their treatment of women and road side manners. The next time you get caught up with the headaches of driving the freeway during rush hour, DVR any episode of this program and push play on the DVR, it won’t take long to help you realize, it could be worse. Fortunately, reality television doesn’t get any better than this years IRT Deadliest Roads. We see more than just driving on roads though, we see people who care for each other, stand beside to help each other, and then challenge themselves in their choice of job over family. We see real emotions, and real life situations where the essence of what some thought was right is challenged.

#2 on my list will be a large surprise to many, AMC’s The Walking Dead. Another short series for a television program, but what they pack into this series is far more than a simple Zombie film. This program pays tribute to the George Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. The Walking Dead is well acted, features some of the best special effects, period on television or the big screen, and has a story and character development to boot. This program is not for the kiddies, but neither should it be ignored by those who are opposed to gore, or horror formats. This is more than a gore fest, (which at times it is); it is also an exploration of the human condition and societal issues. When one watches this program, they will likely think of the world of television in the past. Some will be offended that non pay television programming has gone as far as this one has. It airs on Sunday nights and is late enough that children shouldn’t be watching, but older children, with discussion from family will likely get more out of it than many realize, if one looks for the deeper themes. The strength of The Walking Dead is the story and the exploration of today’s society. Unfortunately many won’t stay long enough to see that due to the graphic nature of the program. That is unfortunate because this program has a lot to say, and is at a deserved #2 on my list. If looking for an exploration of commitment to others, the advent of hope, and the need to let others go this program has a lot to say, while at the same time, being entertaining.

#1 is in my opinion, the CBS new show, Blue Bloods. In a simple phrase, Tom Selleck is back, and he is back on top. Blue Bloods follows the exploits of New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, (Tom Selleck) and his family which are all involved in some way in law enforcement. The series does not feature any single character as a primary character, it is more of an ensemble cast and the underlying story of family is the primary reason I enjoy this program. As many likely realize, values of programming are important to me, what a program provides beyond what is seen on screen is one of the primary things that drives me to the program. So far, this season of Blue Bloods has been exceptional.

In each episode of Blue Bloods there have been various ongoing themes which I greatly value. In each episode of the season so far, you see the value of family, including at times, even in the dysfunction, the importance of coming together. We can see that despite the differences that often exist, that coming together, and valuing each other is important. The program does this in a variety of ways, not just in conflict, but in little things often lost. In each episode we see the family together around the dinner table, realizing among themselves the value of family, and the roles of those in the family. We also see a tribute and respect paid to the men and women of law enforcement. While there are undoubtedly those who blacken the eye of law enforcement, it is refreshing to see a program pay obvious tribute to law enforcement and those making the sacrifices to protect others. We also see the importance of faith in the family unit. Not just on occasion, but so far, in every episode we see the family come together to pray, whether around the table or over the casket of a fellow officer killed in battle. The value of prayer and faith is refreshing to see, especially when done in a positive light, not in a preachy way, but a subtle way that will eventually plant the seeds of thought for the viewer to also see the value of faith.

With Blue Bloods not only do we have in my humble opinion the best program of the season, CBS has to be recognized for their outstanding work at providing what is to me, the best network on television. After that, The Discovery Channel and Showtime have a lot to offer, but thankfully it isn’t just these networks and programs that are doing wonderful things, we see other programs continue on HBO like True Blood, and even other networks like ABC. While there are those that still need to catch up, it is refreshing to see television have such an impact on society, not just in the world of entertainment, but with the social needs many have. While the economy is down, we don’t have to be left behind in quality entertainment, we don’t have to be left behind because the programming provided on television has once again, started to have an impact, an impact not just in the ‘free’ entertainment provided at home, but also in quality that is unmatched in many of the theatrical, high cost movies. Sure there are those who are still flocking to the theater, but for some of us, thankfully there is more to do at home with our families in an affordable, enjoyable way. Thankfully, some of those programs like those mentioned above also realize and respect the value of family, even when zombies walk or the police protect, there are things we can all appreciate and value from.

I realize that for many, many of your favorites are left off. We all have our own opinions, our own taste, our own reasons. Feel free to post your thoughts here and enter the discussion, the discussion where we might find out about a new program we haven’t seen before, a program that may just touch us and inspire us in ways we hadn’t imagined.

The following is a video from Blue Bloods. It exemplifies the things I like about the show. To watch the video, just click on it, if the video doesn't appear, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEvI78n8y4M&feature=channel


Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

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You can also Help The Virtual Pew by shopping on our web site or at Amazon, click here to shop at Amazon and help The Virtual Pew, it won't cost you anything extra, but we get a small percentage of the purchase.

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Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

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Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.comYou can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

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P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Interview with Transgender Pastor Candidate Sara Herwig

To see the review of the film, Thy Will Be Done, Click Here

Wichita Kansas is blessed to have one of the top up and coming independent film festivals in the country. I am blessed to have the opportunity to cover it. One of the things I have tried to do for a number of years is to review movies with the perspective of what can I find in that movie to open up spiritual discussion in a respectful and positive way. While there are times some people are not open to those discussions for whatever reasons, it is still something that in all honesty has brought me some satisfaction, because as a result, I have developed some real friendships, and in the process, learned a few things. I am also blessed that others have told me of how the process has helped them either discover spiritual issues in film, or helped them in their own search for spiritual truth.

This year at Tallgrass one of the films showing was a documentary named, Thy Will Be Done. The movie provided wonderful opportunities for discussing spiritual issues related to movies. This movie is one I know will be controversial for a number of reasons, mainly the subject matter. Thy Will Be Done is a documentary that explores the life of Sara Herwig. Sara was raised in Kansas, attended a Christian College, attended Seminary, was married, had a daughter, and felt the call into Christian ministry as a pastor. As a result, Sara was on a life course to take her to this place she had always dreamed of and felt strongly about. There was only one issue that would cause this course to take a detour. Sara while always feeling like she was a woman was actually born a male. After some contemplative thought, and prayer, she ultimately had what is commonly called a sex change operation, and became a female. To complicate things in the last years she has also, as a woman, married another female. In the process of ordination, there have obviously been many questions, debates, and concerns. If granted a church, Sara will be the first transgendered individual to be ordained as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church.

While at Tallgrass I approached Sara and the director of the film, Alice Bouvrie about the opportunity to sit down and talk about the film. They graciously agreed and the following is a transcript of that interview. While I understand many will question me for publishing this interview, I believe my faith requires me to love all people, no matter what. I also believe that just as described in the Bible, I need to study to show myself approved, in other words, recognize I don’t know everything, and that a starting point of understanding is to sit down and talk. Therefore, the three of us sat down to discuss issues related to faith, and being transgendered.

Mike Furches (MF): Alice, how long did it take you to make this film?

Alice Bouvrie (AB): It took me 8 years to make this film. As you can see it’s not a comedy. As we were making the film, things kept changing in Sara’s life, in the Presbyterian Church and in the ordination process. It was like a never ending process and eventually I just had to say I have to finish it.

MF: Did the ordination happen?

Sara Herwig (SH): I am what they call in the Presbyterian Church a Candidate, Certified to Seek the Call. You have to actually be called to a church as their pastor before you can be ordained. I’ve been seeking a call for a little over 4 years now.

MF: Well, I was concerned about some of the questions I was going to ask you, but after seeing the film, I think I am going to be okay.

SH & AB: (Laughter)

MF: I guess one of the first questions I would have as we move on, is who is Sara?

SH: Well, first of all, I’m a person. I’m a Christian, and I’ve felt God’s love and call in my life since I was in Junior High many years ago. The call to ministry is a very big part of who I am. I’ve found myself working within the Presbyterian Church for full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered) people in ministry. If I were to define myself by those kinds of things, I would say I’m a person of faith, I have a concern for social justice issues, for marginalized groups and people, and the need to extend God’s love to them as well as those who are in the mainstream of Christianity. But, there’s a lot more to me than that. I kayak, I backpack, I bicycle a lot, and my interest in music runs the gambit from traditional folk to classical choral music. I read a lot. I was an English Lit Major in college.

MF: In the discussion after the film was over you alluded to some assumptions regarding being gay, being this or that, and so forth. How would you describe yourself in the area of Transgender?

SH: Transgender has become more of an umbrella term that covers anybody that crosses what our society considers to be the gender boundaries. That would be people who cross dress, female impersonators, drag queens and drag kings, and of course Transsexuals would be in there to. But these days there are a lot of people who keep gender as being a long continuum and people fall along different points, shifting going back and forth. That continuum is always changing. They might call themselves Gender Queer or Gender Different, or something like that. I’ve always identified as female.

MF: Sometimes people have the assumption where they think of Homosexual or Gay tendencies with people who are Transgendered; would you explain your thoughts on that?

SH: Well, being Transsexual, which comes under an umbrella of being Transgendered, in terms of being a Transsexual, sexual orientation isn’t directly tied to being Transsexual or vice versa. I know all of the Gay and Lesbian men and women I know were born as men and women don’t want to change their gender role. The Gay men I know don’t want to live as women, and the Lesbians I know don’t want to live as men. They’re happy being who they are, but they find themselves intimately attracted to people of the same sex. That tends to work itself out among transsexuals in about the same way it does in the general population of America, about the same percentage of Transsexual people identify as Gay or Lesbian. Myself, I identify as Lesbian because I also identify as a female, and I am married to a woman. Sometimes, especially if you have someone who transitions and is, married at the time, which I wasn’t, but those who do, their spouses find themselves in a peculiar situation where they find themselves as being perceived as being Gay or Lesbian because their partner has changed gender roles. Some of those marriages stay together and some don’t. So much of what we think as sexuality in our society is all a matter or perception and how you’re being perceived. Transsexuals talk about whether or not they pass, whether or not their identifiable as male or female or as somebody who is trying to play that role. There are those for example, where there is somebody who was born as male, but identifies as female, and transitions to living as a woman. They may have been attracted to women as a man, but now, as a woman, they find themselves attracted to a man, and they would identify themselves as a Heterosexual woman.

MF: Can you speak some to the things you alluded to in the film, and after film discussion regarding the chromosomal issues, where just because someone may have male or female genitalia, does not mean that their minds is necessarily at that place. Your thoughts on how the chromosomal make-up can have an impact on the individual, specifically in the developmental stages?

SH: There have been studies done, specifically at The University of Amsterdam where they have discovered a part of the brain that is specifically related to gender identity and sexuality and they’ve found through a very small sampling where they had autopsied the brains of people who had died and they compared that part of the brain between male to female Transsexuals and female to male Transsexuals, a Gay man, and a Lesbian woman, and a Heterosexual man and woman. They found that that part of the brain, for example in the male to female Transsexual was similar in size to that of the Heterosexual woman. A part of the thinking behind that is that there are a number of hormone washes that take place in the early stages of gestation while in the womb that affects the way the body develops physically. Of course the default is female. The thing that causes a fetus to develop as male is the X-Y chromosome and the way that the body responds to testosterone and the hormones that are released. The thinking is that for some reason, the sexual organs of the body respond to that hormone wash, but the brain doesn’t and continues to develop as female. If that bears out to be true, and that’s the way the research seems to be going, then you do have an explanation as to what is going on. People have said that I’m in the wrong body, that I really do have a female brain in a male body.

MF: Can the marvels of science help change that?

SH: Yeah, but do we want to? We get into the whole thing of bioengineering and ethics. If you can test to see if you’re unborn child is going to be Gay, or be Transsexual, do you abort? That’s why I think there is some trepidation in the Transgender community about finding the Gay gene, there is a fear of that kind of thing.

MF: One of the things you came out and said was that you had surprised yourself at how conservative you were on some things.

SH: As I worked through my faith and my theology, after transitioning and coming back into the church, I found myself reaffirming things that would be considered to be conservative. I think the difference now is the things that I emphasize. When I was growing up in the Evangelical movement there was a lot of emphasis on personal sin, condemnation, and escaping the judgment of Hell. In my ministry now, I tend to emphasize more on the steadfast and everlasting love of God and God’s compassion, and mercy for everyone, as it is offered for everyone. I hope I never I talk about needing to confess our sins without including the sure promise of God’s forgiveness and love and care for each individual, and for the corporate church as a whole.

MF: You have been fairly open about the need for each individual to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This said, there are still people who are rather judgmental and critical of individuals for people like you. The film alludes to that regarding your attempts to obtain ordination. How do you come to a place of peace in regards to who Christ is, you seeking to be involved in ministry, and yet, the conflict that some seem to challenge you and others with regarding ones sexual identity or sexual preference?

SH: Part of the issue is that Transexualism is understood by a lot of people in the church as being another form of being Gay. It is hard to separate sexual identity out from sexual orientation. There’s actually nothing in scripture that deals with being Transsexual. Jesus certainly never talked about it. There is this being so committed to this binary system of male / female. This again goes back to how one reads scripture and interprets it. I think it is a part of a lot of people’s faith that oppose my ordination. They do so, because they don’t believe the Bible supports what I’ve found with my life, but I don’t interpret scripture the same way.

MF: In the first few lines of the film there was almost an appreciation or respect of people who disagreed with you. There was also a recognition that while you respect them, and appreciate them without condemnation, you just recognized that you interpret scripture differently.

SH: I think the whole question of Biblical authority or the nature of Biblical authority is really what at the heart of a lot of problems in the church in regards to Gay and Lesbian issues, Transgender, Transsexual issues.

MF: One of the questions I have for you Alice is what drew you into the making of the film and are there things that you have learned as a filmmaker? There is a lot more reward to making a film than making money. (laughter from the three of us.)

AB: Well money is not going to be a big benefit from this. It really is true though, filmmakers like to think of themselves as a sort of fly on the wall. The mere fact though is that this just isn’t going to happen. The camera changes a lot of things; I also think it changes the filmmaker in a lot of ways. It changed me in ways that I never expected it. The whole education thing with Sara was so patient with me. It took me 8 years to make this film. In the course of 8 years we did a lot of interviews, outside of the sit down formal interviews we did a lot of just sit down and talking. I had a lot of questions and she was so open and so honest. What was so great about being invited into this community, the Transgendered community in particular was I was so surprised at how eager others in the community, mainly Transsexuals and Cross Dressers, was how eager they were to tell their story and to educate people and enlighten people because we know so little about gender and all its myriads of manifestations. How delightful it was to feel a comfort level in that way. I knew so little about it. I had never had an opportunity to really sit down with them and ask them questions. It’s a familiarity that I just grew into. It was like a pleasure, like a gift to learn these things and to be able to talk to Sara.

MF: What kind of a gift was she? What do you mean when you say she was a gift?

AB: A gift in the sense that I learned a lot about gender, gender identity, and the diversity of gender. It was a gift in terms of my own comfort level because I had never had a chance to really involve myself or to integrate in anyway with the Transgender community. It was a little awkward for me, I didn’t understand it. It’s like night and day the comfort level I have, the understanding I have. It feels great! It feels good! Now when someone introduces themselves to me because I made this film, and Transsexuals come up to me and says, ‘Hello, I’m so and so, and I’m Trans.’ (appreciative giggle from Alice here) and I’ll go, ‘Oh so cool.’ Whereas before I wouldn’t have known what to ask or what was appropriate to say or not to say. People don’t know how to behave, they don’t want to be offensive, and yet, we’re so ignorant and stupid about it. So with that, it was an education in a sort of intellectual level, but also in an emotional, personal and psychological level.

MF: One question is a curious thing. Sara, what does your daughter call you now?

SH: That’s always an issue when families are involved. What do you call this person who used to be your mother or your dad, especially when that person doesn’t present that way anymore? Well, she is an only child; she is the only one who ever called me daddy, and so she wanted to have a term of endearment where she was the only one to use it with me. What she came up with was calling me Sarie (like Sarah, except an emphasis on the e, pronounced SarEE). She introduces me to people as her parent, Sarie. (laughter from all involved) I have to keep asking her how to spell it. (more laughter) It’s like do you spell Sara with or without an h. Do you spell Sarie, with an ie, just an e, iey, or what? Remind me one more time.

MF: What’s your hope for the documentary?

AB: Sara, you answer.

SH: Alice has done such a beautiful job of not only telling my story, but telling the story of those around me, especially the two people who were intimately involved in my life for so long, Billie and Stephanie. Unfortunately, we had reached the point in the interviews when Jan and I got together, that Jan never really got interviewed. Jan is my current wife. My hope is things like this, opportunities to open up dialog and to talk about ways of being authentic human beings, authentic creations of God, in the world together without being exactly the same, to find different ways of manifesting our lives, our personhood, and our faith. That there would be education about Transgender issues and how they relate to communities of faith. It’s very hard to get Transgendered people, and Transsexual people to take an interest in faith communities because many of them have been hurt so badly by their churches and people in their families who were very religious. There are some kids today, who are 18 years and younger and come out to their parents and they find themselves out on the street with nothing. That is a generation that is really at risk. There could be a real ministry there that the church could take part in, in ministering to these kids and showing them what real, authentic unconditional and forgiving love is. We’re not doing that. I’m hoping that this will be a way of moving in that direction. On a very selfish note, I am hoping that some congregation in the Presbyterian Church will see this and say, ‘How come we don’t know about her?’ (laughter).

MF: Because you are Presbyterian at your core. (more laughter from all there)

SH: I think I said it was in my DNA, but it is only a metaphor. (more laughter) I have the Presbyterian gene. (laughter)

AB: Let’s hope not.

SH: There is a little altruistic thinking there to some extent, that it may open the way for me to actually be called as a pastor of a church, or a college chaplain. I’ve never wanted my ministry to be just about Transgender issues, my ministry at 1st Pres., I did my ministry internship there and Jean Southerland who is in the film was my supervisor. I’ve always focused on the full spectrum of what pastoral ministry and care is. It just happens that at our church, that some of the people that you care for as a pastor are Transgendered people, but, I don’t want to be the Transsexual pastor, or the pastor of the
Transsexual’s.

AB: Like you have said, the Tranny in the pulpit?

SH: Yeah! (laughter) I used to teach this session that I said if you want to see more people in the congregation, just put out this big sign that says, come see the Tranny in the pulpit.

MF: I know our time is up, so I really want to thank the two of you for sitting down with me. It has been really good, and I appreciate it.

Now in closing this story, I think it is also important for me to share how the interview ended. We spoke about a few more things. One of the things that impressed me about the film is my own faith belief that Jesus loved all people, even those often considered the most the hardest to love. As I watched the movie, I was impressed at the images of the church, and frankly, yes, those involved. Here were people in this small church often excluded and not welcomed to a larger church. Yet here, they felt welcome. I couldn’t help but wonder, if the God I believe in loves and reaches out to touch those he loves, why does the church often exclude those people. I am not talking about the acceptance of sin; I am talking about a love and an understanding that may go beyond what we normally think of. I am talking about a concept known and taught in Romans that says that while we were yet sinners God loved us. I am talking about a real investigation of issues that impact people. It was sad to think that often times, these hurting human beings can’t and don’t trust the faith community. It is even sadder that often times we preach and speak about a message of love, but our actions give no indication of the love we are instructed on in the Bible, especially where it is defined for us in 1st Corinthians 13.

I have to admit, I liked Sara, and I shared some things with her about my own journey of trying to understand in a Biblical way, issues related to homosexuality, gender identity and more. I also did something I seldom ever do; I exchanged a hug with both Sara and Alice. Why? Simple actually, I respect and love them both as human beings. I wanted them to know, that this one Christian, is willing to love, is willing to touch, is willing to share in this spiritual journey together. While I may not fully agree with everything about them, neither do I agree with my own wife on everything, yet we love each other and have been together for over 30 years. I will say, from our conversation, I was challenged, and found many areas we did agree on. I continue to seek to learn, to become educated, and to ultimately, show love. My hope would be that we would all be encouraged to do the same thing, not just in a word, but in action and deed.

To see the trailer for this film, click the following video. If the video doesn’t appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOy6KxoD4RI



Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

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Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

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Click to visit Mary Jane Furches' new MySpace Page

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Blue Planet Seas of Life on Blu-Ray DVD

Blue Planet Seas of Life put out by The Discovery Planet is an incredible testimony to not only the marine life of the planet and her surroundings, but the potential of the Blu-Ray format. This Blu-Ray DVD set takes a look at oceanic life and circumstances in a visual and informational way like no other documentary of its type, outside of the Discovery and Planet Earth series.

The Blue Planet set consists of eight 50 minute episodes that tell some of the history and events surrounding the ocean. Under the premise that the ocean is one of the largest, misunderstood anomalies of our planet this BBC series sets out to explore and educate. What transpires is a wonderfully narrated series by David Attenborough with stunning images captured in the high definition Blu-Ray format. The images are so good in fact that this is one of those must have series, not just for educational purposes, but the imagery provided.

Through out the eight episodes Attenborough tells of various aspects of marine life. There is no set formula or method in the episode index of the series, although each of the eight episodes focuses on a common theme, ranging from The Ocean World to The Tidal Seas and from the Deep crevices of the ocean to the Coral Seas. In the magnitude of the episodes, we see the reality of the depth of the seas, and while a great deal of information is provided, one thing we are left with is the understanding that there is still much more we don’t understand.

As a human species we are challenged to think about and try to understand, there is more to this planet than just us. This series drove home for me the complexity of not just our universe, but the complexity of our planet. The stunning visual images help bring home the realism of what we see on screen. While it is just short of being there and experiencing the events for ourselves, what we experience through the complexity of the eight episodes will still likely be mesmerizing. As I watched the series, I couldn’t help but think of the likelihood that there has to be more to this planet. There has to be a more complex creator than many give credit for or think about. I was also reminded of a concept often referred to in religious circles as the Genesis Mandate. The Genesis Mandate takes a spiritual perspective of the need and importance of the human species in understanding the role of a creator, the human species responsibility in taking care of the planet, and then our appreciation of the planet God created. There is the understood concept that there is a purpose behind all of God’s creation and the reality that while God saw it as being good, we need to also show an appreciation of the planet in such a way as we are moved to take care of it.

The images and visual aspects captured here are nothing short of amazing. While there is no human actors, no human story lines, the methods of filming, the imagery and stories displayed in the life of the ocean is in itself an outstanding story. I personally appreciated the lack of human involvement in the story telling, outside of course of the script and narration provided. In some regards, I would have appreciated more special features on the DVD series, but I can understand that with this series being done as well as it was, there was really no need. There is a good feature on The Making of Blue Planet that is insightful, but this is one of the rare times that I won’t blast a DVD for the lack of special features because there really isn’t such a need for it.

There is not a great deal that needs to be said about this series, other than; it has to be seen to be truly appreciated. I suspect schools across the globe will, and have used this series to educate others from the smallest of children, to the most advanced of graduate marine biology student. It is that type DVD; it has something for everyone, and can be appreciated by most anyone who has an awareness and interest in the oceans of the planet and their role in the survival of all species. If owning a Blu-Ray player, you won’t be disappointed, and I suspect it is a Blu-Ray that will make frequent visits to your own DVD player.

To see the trailer for this film, click the following video. If the video doesn’t appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsFsXtP1Ix0


Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

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Click here to visit Mosaic Wichita, the Church in Wichita Kansas where Mike is the pastor.

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Click to visit Mary Jane Furches' new MySpace Page

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

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To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

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Thy Will Be Done

To see the interview with subject Sara Herwig and the director/producer Alice Bouvrie, click here.

From the outset, I expect this could be one of the most controversial reviews I have done. Not necessarily from my perspective, but from those who often read the reviews. It touches on a subject matter that stirs a great deal of debate, especially within the religious community and has individuals with strong opinions on both ends of the spectrum. Thy Will Be Done looks at the efforts of a male-to-female transsexual, Sara Herwig in her attempt to be ordained by the Presbyterian Church. There are those who seek to block her ordination and question if she is or is not a female as the ordination process is complicated by her later lesbian marriage to another female. While this documentary is short, right at one hour long, it is packed with thought provoking story if one will simply give it a chance, watch, and listen with an open heart.

From the opening scenes of Thy Will Be Done we are mesmerized with not only intriguing story, but a well shot and framed film directed by Alice Bouvrie. As a part of the effort which took several years to film we see various parties and an open and honest dialog of the events surrounding the life of Sara Herwig. Bouvrie weaves an intriguing tale using the stories and words of those involved in the life of Sara, both prior and after her gender change.

Thy Will Be Done starts off in a mesmerizing way. It wastes no time addressing the conflict as approached from a Biblical perspective. In the opening shot see Sara getting ready to do some canoeing, showing in part her continued love of the outdoors that goes back to the days of her youth as a young man. There is a voice-over by Sara recognizing, in a respectful way those who would have Biblical issues with what she has done. She shows a respectful perspective of these people, even praising them for standing up and speaking up for what they believe. She appreciates their willingness to base their opinions on Biblical teachings, she just happens to disagree with the conclusions. We see, and hear a respectful Sara, one who seems to have applied the Biblical aspect of love.

From here the story of Sara follows her from her youth as a young man, through a Christian college in Kansas, initial enrollment and attendance at a seminary, to her marriage, and ultimate divorce, gender change, attempts to obtain ordination, and a 2nd marriage, this time to another woman. While only an hour long, the director Bouvrie does an excellent job at storytelling, and Sara’s own willingness to address the issue helps move one beyond the discomfort level some may have with the subject matter. There is a large amount of input from Sara’s daughter and Sara's former wife Billie. A tribute to this film is the willingness of all parties to share open and honest opinions. Bouvrie does an admirable job at being fair in the information provided on screen. She attempted to involve those opposing Sara’s ordination within the Presbyterian Church but they refused to appear on film. Their refusal to participate may have been a mistake as the movie doesn’t really take a position on right or wrong on the issue, as much as it presents Sara’s story. The film seems to be an indication of Bouvrie and Sara’s fairness in the willingness to hear the differing positions of those in the church.

Thy Will Be Done, on the surface would appear to be easy to critical of from those on either end of the spectrum. That is until hearing and seeing the comments from Sara’s former wife, Billie. When looking at the history of Sara, her feelings of always thinking she was a female, there are not only appropriate questions regarding gender change, but also regarding the ways society looks at and perceives those who have had gender change issues. Billie also attended the screenings I attended at Tallgrass in Wichita for a question and answer session. She was clear as to the friendship she now has with Sara and the reasons for it. She stated that her life experiences with Sara now made sense.

Thy Will Be Done is at its heart, an attempt to tell the Sara’s story. In that story is a great deal of thought provoking information on various positions like Gender Identity. The assumption by many on the religious right which assumes that one with Gender Identity issues is gay shows the need for continuing education. While this may be true with some, it is far from true with all. There are legitimate biological issues that are worthy of appropriate, respectful discussion and thought provoking, honest study and discourse. What Thy Will Be Done does is address these issues from a position that many may not be familiar with, specifically from the perspective of one who holds too many of the traditional Biblical concepts of Christianity; yet, it challenges those within these ‘traditional’ beliefs as to those beliefs and the origins of those beliefs. This is important from a variety of perspectives, from the concepts of living in a fallen world, to the reality that bad things happen, and are not always as God intended, to consideration of Biblical interpretation and application. At the core is the concept of how far does one who is called to love, go in the love of one they disagree with? This film presents Sara’s commitment to her faith, and to what she believes her call in life is. While many may disagree with her, her grit and determination is frankly, admirable.

I felt I knew what I could expect when going into this movie. I thought I was going to get an unfair presentation to a controversial issue. I was wrong! What it did was present a fair story of an individual, who, like it or not, is fighting for something she believes in. Unfortunately, many will not sit down to engage in the discussion of the issues in an open, honest way. There are others who will. This documentary will likely not sway an individual’s perspective on the issue of Gender Identity or the role of Homosexuals in ministry. It does, for those willing, provide discussion points on the issue which can be of benefit. While I wish the story would have been a tad longer, it was surprisingly effective, thought provoking and challenging. It is also one that should have many in the religious community, whatever their beliefs are wondering about their own ability to love, even those who are different, those they disagree with, and ultimately, even their enemies. In the New Testament, there is the reminder of what love is in 1 Corinthians 13, but there is also the challenge that if one can’t love their neighbor, their fellow human being, who they see, how can they say they love God whom they have never seen? A rather thought provoking question if you ask me, and one deserving of thought. Thy Will Be Done is a documentary that may just challenge some as to their ability to love, even those they may disagree with. There are many more questions that could be asked, but we have to start someplace, with some expectancy, I suspect that for some, this review is a place to start. Hopefully with thoughtful, respectful debate.

To see the trailer for this film, click the following video. If the video doesn’t appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOy6KxoD4RI


Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

Click here to visit Mosaic Wichita, the Church in Wichita Kansas where Mike is the pastor.

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Click to visit Mary Jane Furches' new MySpace Page

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Mary Jane Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Page

Mike Furches MySpace Blog

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

The Keystone Kid / The Virtual Pew Message Boards

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Dry Land

Sometimes we hear so much about a film. Our expectations are high, our hopes are endless. I had heard so many good things about The Dry Land. It dealt with a subject close to my heart; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and regarding an issue we should all be concerned and knowledgeable about, soldiers returning home from war.

The Dry Land is a film with promise, promise because it has a wonderful, young cast of up and coming actors such as America Ferrera, Ryan O’Nan, and Jason Ritter among others. The movie is doing quite well on the Film Festival circuit with such accolades as an official selection at Sundance and others. The film, directed by Ryan Piers Williams follows the return of United States soldier James, played quite nicely by Ryan O’Nan to his small community. He has his wife, a dog, and a job that many would hate, working at a slaughter house. On the surface this is what James has upon his return as a United States Soldier. What he also has though is suppressed memories, and some tragedies he would just as soon forget. As a result of these difficulties and others, James has some emotional issues to deal with.

The Dry Land looks like a good independent film bordering on the edge of greatness. I suspect it depends on what side of the fence one is on which will determine how one sees and views this movie. As for me, I couldn’t help but notice how close it was to greatness in some areas, and yet so far in others. One of my biggest pet peeves in movies is the quality of sound and the quality of lighting. Unfortunately, The Dry Land at times failed miserably in both areas. There were times there were obvious weaknesses in both areas. I was also disappointed in the plot and advancement of the film. While dealing with some tough subject matters, it fell just a tad short in the quality of final product presented on screen.

The movie follows James on his return home from war and the ultimate conflict that develops between him and his wife. While he obviously loves her, there is a lack of understanding on her part as to his new persona, and a lack of knowledge and understanding on his part as to his current state of mind. The exploration of understanding between the characters almost makes this film worthwhile. I personally admired the willingness of the character to seek out help once he understood his own need for understanding his war experiences. He has experienced things in war he doesn’t remember, and those things are impacting who he is, and how he relates to others. These realities cause conflict with not just himself but with his friends.

The Dry Land does adequately explore the horrors of war, after the return home. Many, believe that war ends when you get on the plane to come home. The reality is though, that for many there are the nightmares, the explosive anger issues, and the relationship issues that can come about once the person returns to the so called ‘normalcy’ of life. While this concept is evident within many a returning soldier from war, one can also be challenged to think about and reflect on the unseen horrors and experiences of those we come into contact with. While many soldiers and victims of sexual abuse have experienced unimaginable horrors that impact their psyche, others in life have experienced things we may not be aware of. Here the movie impacts a couple of areas that are somewhat powerful. One is the willingness of one to recognize their own weaknesses, and the other is the sacrificial love of others that has the potential to come about. Unfortunately for some, that sacrificial love is all too late, for others, it is just in time. Each individual has a need to figure when and how they fit into the spectrum, when do we need help and are we willing to go after it, and if at a semi healthy place, when do we respond to others who need help, and will we respond. It is when we recognize the greatest love we can display for another is to step between them and a life threatening situation that we can ultimately come to a place where we can save a life. It reminds me of the concept in the Bible that states, ‘No greater love has anyone than this; that they would lay down their life for another.’

I felt The Dry Land was so close to brilliance, that I could taste it. I wanted it, I hoped for it, but I felt the movie unfortunately fell just short. For many others though, they have seen what they consider a great movie with a lot of important areas that it addresses. This is one that will depend on the viewer I think. For many this movie will be long and drawn out, as the action is the interpersonal conflict among the characters. For others this movie will be an emotional, thought provoking experience that causes them to reflect on not just the ongoing horror of war, but the reality and hurt within ones own personal experiences. I can’t determine what you will think, what you will experience, I just know that for me, I left wanting more of a story, more about the background characters, and more hope. I wanted more out of The Dry Land, I just didn’t get it. I am glad others are though, I just wasn’t one of them.

To see the trailer for this film, click the following video. If the video doesn’t appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMAIzrmgeIQ

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