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 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

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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

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

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

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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

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do It Again, Reuniting The Kinks

As a musician, as a film reviewer I was looking forward to seeing the documentary Do It Again, the journey of Geoff Edgers a Boston newspaper reporter who has an urge to do all he can to bring back together, the legendary band, The Kinks. The band noted for such hits as ‘You Really Got Me,’ ‘Lola,’ and ‘Come Dancing,’ among others has been feuding for years, and while many in the world of music would love to see them reunite, those who know them think the likelihood of them getting together again is perceived as a crazy idea that just isn’t going to happen. Edgers has an edge though that can’t be ignored, one that may just get him in the door. The edge? Edgers has been a fan of the Kinks since a small boy. That has to count for something doesn’t it?

While Edgers is the producer and subject matter of the documentary, the film is directed by Robert Patton-Spruill. What transpires on screen, for this one music fan, which happens to be a musician, is many moments of smiles and giggles, while shaking my head at the disbelief of the audacity of the subject Geoff Edgers. This isn’t in a negative way, but in numerous joy filled moments way. Not always the laugh out loud kind but the kind that brings a sense of joy throughout the film, up through and including, the ending credits. Do It Again is a tale that is weaved together and shot with entertainment as its focus and music laced all throughout the movie. Unfortunately, it is the cost of licensing the music for Theatrical and DVD release that may be the single factor that keeps the populace from seeing this wonderful gem of a movie. While the music for the film has been licensed for Film Festival usage, even the costs here according to Edgers in an after the film discussion was prohibitive.

In the film Do It Again, we see Edgers suffering with the reality that his income is getting ready to be drastically reduced at his job with The Boston Globe. He has a wife, a daughter, a new house and a dream. The dream is to get the Kinks reunited, if for nothing else, just one song. He has grown up with and loves this band. Edgers believes that one way he can bring the band together is to meet as many people in the entertainment industry as possible, including those who have actually worked with the Kinks. Here, their influence and tips will be of benefit in encouraging the boys to get together.

At the Tallgrass Festival where I screened this documentary, Edgers in the after screening discussion spoke about how he had contacted over 70 artists and individuals to interview. There were the members of the band Heart, who couldn’t meet because they had their hair to worry about, John Cougar Mellencamp thought he was crazy, and even though Edgers got an interview with Paul McCartney, someone who handles McCartney didn’t like the way the interview turned out so wouldn’t give permission to use the footage in the film. There are a few of those Edgers contacted who agreed to be interviewed, and they should be thrilled they chose to participate in this project. Among those interviewed was Sting who came across as a genuinely caring, fun guy with a willingness to not only care about his fans, but have a good time with them in the process.

Along the journey to reunite The Kinks, Edgers realizes that following his dream of reuniting this band is coming at a cost. Along the journey, he soon realizes that the likelihood of getting the band back together may not happen, it is then that when many would give up, that Edgers decides to go to the next level, he goes to Great Britain to take one last shot at accomplishing his dream. What transpires are opportunities he couldn’t have imagined, and secrets that will remain between him and one of the Davies Brothers.

The Davies Brothers, Ray and Dave are the two founding members of the band, The Kinks. While Ray Davies was the driving force of the band, the turmoil between the two brothers led to what many state was the ultimate demise. One of the most painful moments in watching the film is when Edgers has the chance to interview Dave Davies. During the interview he is asked about his brother and he states that his brother was only happy for 3 years of his life, the first 3 years of life before he (Dave) was born. This sort of Cain and Able story is heartbreaking. In a world where one would want and desire love between families we are challenged by Edgers daughter riding in the back of the car when she confronts her father about how come two brothers can’t love each other? That is actually a great question, a question that is all too real for many families. We live in a world where we wonder why we can’t get along, come to a place of peace, when in reality we can’t even get along with those we should be closest to, a brother or a sister. For me, as a person of faith I am reminded of the words of Jesus here, if we can’t love our brother or sister here on earth that we can see, how can we even pretend to say that we love God who we have never seen? A good question that for me was driven home as I contemplated about the apparent lack of love between these two brothers, who are so loved by so many others on our planet. If looking for world peace, there would be no better place to start than loving your brother. One would only hope the Davies brothers would come to this place of loving, not just in word, but in their actions.

Do It Again is about much more than The Kinks though, there are far more lessons we can learn from the example set forth by Edgers. This movie is about in many ways, going after dreams, seeking to do what your heart tells you. I was intrigued at the concept of interviewing someone you care about, love, or you have idolized. I asked Edgers if he got any butterflies during any of the interviews and how he saw them when he looked back on them. He replied that he really didn’t have any butterflies. He was so driven to do the story and to document the experiences that the experience was all he was thinking about. The only thing that created a little nervousness was going into each interview he knew he was going to ask the person he was interviewing to sing, or play along with a song with him by The Kinks. This provided quite a few entertaining moments but it also gave likeability to those who participated, and it humanized Edgers not just as a journalist, but a fan who really loved The Kinks.

I enjoyed this movie, the subject matter and the insight into not only The Kinks, (the film is loaded with their music) but especially Edgers. In truth, this isn’t really a movie about The Kinks, although there is a lot of material there, it is really a story of a man, Geoff Edgers who goes after his dream. It is the story of not giving up, of persevering, even in tough times. It is also the story of love between families, the ultimate love of a father wanting for his family, and the lack of apparent love between two brothers that would be so selfish in their apparent hate at its worst, clear dislike at its best of each other. Edgers is in fact the hero here and the truth is, he is the least known of the subject matters in the movie. He is a hero because he has a dream, and pursues that dream. That dream is sought out through love. It will likely provide a lasting impact between a daughter and son and those that view the film. That dream, is a dream worth sharing.

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=J5oJRPjOd3I


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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gerrymandering A New Documentary

Every year the plains of Kansas burst wide open with film through the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, not just any film, but this year as an example, film on the fringe, film that pays tribute to the Independent film maker. This year is no exception, and as a result the first film I choose to see is a film addressing the political climate in America. A concept not to be lost with recent news within the last 24 hours with the firing of Juan Williams from NPR for his supposed commentary on the Fox News Program, Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor. People engaged in politics are interested in the news of recent, whether it be the seeming hypocrisy of some in the Liberal Left regarding the firing of Juan Williams, the reported dogmas of those in the Tea Party or the mid term elections that are only a few days away, the world, including film, seems to be bursting at the seams to engage in political discourse.

I am somewhat of a political moderate; I love politics as a hobby. I tend to be driven in my politics by my faith. Another concept not lost on me at the moment is the pre screen testing that is taking place right now as Dave Matthews is singing in a concert video about Jesus, and his role regarding faith and the practice of faith in the political system.

The documentary Gerrymandering takes a look at the political process of redrawing voting districts. This is most often done for various reasons and normally every 10 years after the federal census which looks at population growth and decline. The redrawing of voting districts takes place for various reasons. The premise here is it takes place at the directives of those in power, those in the state and federal legislatures. In this process, redistricting is often done to maintain and continue political power, essentially taking the power away from the people making the decisions.

The film is written and directed by Jeff Reichert. Reichert does a very good job of keeping the story moving and in being fair in his approach. It is rare that a documentary is impartial, and ultimately they all have a premise and purpose, but Gerrymandering takes a seemingly fair approach. It would have been easy to take the side of a particular political party, but the documentary takes the side of the man and woman in the street, ultimately the voter. The film also does a good job in the other technical aspects, including lighting and sound, often ignored or not taken as seriously as need be in independent film.

As mentioned above, Gerrymandering pulls no punches, it attacks both political parties equally in the exploration of this concept designed to give power to the politicians as opposed to the people. Unfortunately, the people often believe they have the power to elect individuals of their choice into office. Using pundits on both sides of the political spectrum, from Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger to former National Democratic Chair, Howard Dean; Gerrymandering takes a fair approach at addressing this issue. One of the concepts this documentary hits hard on is the lack of knowledge among the American people on this issue, and the reality that behind closed doors things are done by those in power to take away the voice of the people in the voting booth.

Many place a great deal of faith in their country, in the concept of Democracy. Yet, as we see in Gerrymandering, the reality is that unless people make the effort to better understand the government which they live, their voices may be heard far less than one expects. When politicians redraw districts to create a voting district to remove a potential opponent in a future election, or to maintain power for a particular political party, one has to wonder what kind of voice, what kind of respect is ultimately given to the voter.

At the heart of the film is the willingness of some to make a difference. As a part of the backdrop of Gerrymandering is the California effort to pass Proposition 11. Here we see people rising up and voicing their concerns against a political system that has the politicians drawing the political district lines as they do in most states. In the process we see the need to stand up and speak up for ourselves and for others. We not only benefit ourselves when we speak up, but the sacrifices we make help others around us. We also see the recognition of others that self sacrifice results in helping others in Gerrymandering; it is in fact, their desire to help others that moves them to the place of sacrificing their time, effort and actions. We see this minimally in their willingness to keep on standing up, even while trying many times, failing many times, yet they get back up and try again until they accomplish something of value. In a world where it is so easy to quit after one or two failures, to see the benefit of perseverance is refreshing. I remember the words of Jesus here, telling us, what we have done for the least of these, we have also done for him.

I love politics as a hobby as mentioned above, but it is one of the most frustrating hobbies I have. I see documentaries like this that appropriately explores and questions the way our political system works, yet the political parties, on both sides seem to care less about changing the system, and the people who are largely impacted by things like gerrymandering. Those on the extreme fringes seem to either not care, or are unwilling to do what is necessary to see to it that the people have the power through the voting process. We seem to blindly place our faith in a political system that is designed to help the politician and their interest, and at the same time ignore the people and their needs. Something about that line: ‘We the people,’ seems to be lost in translation. I have to wonder, do we the people really have a voice, and do we really care? Are we willing to do what is necessary to up for those who are often left behind and abused by the system? Those are questions we can all think about and apply regarding not the issue of political process, but in the issue of life.

To view the trailer for Gerrymandering, click on the video below, if the video doesn't appear, click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kurAB5ridko


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

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Deadliest Catch, Season 6

Last year I commented at my social networking sites that while watching The Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel that I had just watched quite possibly the best moment I had ever observed on television. While I am not a huge television fan, I do watch a number of series with the compliments of the DVR so I can fast forward through the commercials. With that handy dandy tool, I have found myself watching more television than ever and thankfully in less time. One of the programs I do make room for is The Deadliest Catch. For those that follow this reality television program, they know it follows the dangers of fishing for crab off of the coast of Alaska. They also know of the drama surrounding the series this year. One of the most beloved captains featured on the show, Captain Phil Harris, died this year due to complications related to a stroke. The struggles of the family, crew and cast of the program took reality television to a new place for reality television. As a result, this already outstanding series had one of the most memorable seasons of any television series in the history of television.

This DVD series is in a word, OUTSTANDING! From the cinematography to sound, from the storyline, to cast, there are few negatives one could find. There is also the transfer quality of the series from television to DVD which is done in such a high quality. One can not only enjoy this phenomenal series, but experience the emotion, hard work, sacrifice, and tragedy. We obtain some understanding that the luxuries we enjoy in life, in this case crab meat, come at a cost from people who take their work seriously, and find joy, through their own difficulty to not only make a fair living wage, but to also enjoy the thing we often ignore, life.

In the 5 previous seasons of The Deadliest Catch, we hear each episode of the dangers of the work these men engage in. We see through the eyes of the camera lens the danger, and hard life these individuals live. As a result, we have gotten to know many of the crew, the actual fishermen who fish these deadly waters. This season however, with the death of Captain Phil Harris, we experienced for the first time, the heartbreak of death.

In life we are often challenged with the reality, that one of the last things we do is to die. We live as if we don’t always recognize this, nor do we recognize the reality of mortality. Programs like this can help us in that discovery. This boxed set, thankfully, includes a special disc, titled After the Catch. Here we follow the life of Captain Phil, his two sons, and others who loved him come face to face with mortality, with a loved one, not an acquaintance, but a father, a co-worker, a friend. We get to see not only the impact of mortality on the cast of the series, but in some of the most moving sequences, also the crew who are a part of the show. Like no other moment I have seen on television, is the reality of mortality so powerfully addressed. While the entire DVD set is exceptional, the special features disc After the Catch is well worth the entire cost of the set.

I have to admit, I wish the exceptional nature of this season, didn’t come at the cost it did. That wouldn’t be real life though; it wouldn’t be ‘reality.’ Many are rightfully critical of ‘reality television,’ there are however, some good programs that present reality, few that have lasted as long, or done as well as The Deadliest Catch. This program inspired quality in reality television in my opinion, the willingness to capture and show real fishermen, in real situations, and in real life and death is a part of the reason of the success of this show. This season, we saw and witnessed love, compassion, and reflection on life, and yes, even death. Not all deal with the situation in the same way, some are called to be brothers that become fathers. Some are called to be friends to those who are hurting, to visit those in the hospital, and even to dance at the joy of life, and the gratefulness of memories. In fact, we see that we shouldn’t just reflect on the spiritual aspects of death, but the need to get our spiritual lives together in life. It is in life that we can truly celebrate. It is in the death of those that lived life that we can find a place to celebrate even in death. Not because of what we may have done, but because of the way one we love lived. In that regard, Captain Phil Harris not only lived, he inspired others to live. I have a strong suspicion, that if watching this series, you will be inspired as well, just as I have to live life. None of us are guaranteed of tomorrow, there is more to life than living, but there is also life in and after death. What we do with that life is determined in part by how we live, may we all live life as God intended us to live. Thanks Captain Phil Harris for inspiring me to try and do just that.

The following is the trailer for the television series. To view the video, just click on the video below. If the video doesn’t appear, click on the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCtXdgs2rDc

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