AT THE MOVIES: Change everywhere but at the feet of Jesus
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) -- I suspect that many nearing my age struggle with the fact that America is becoming unrecognizable.
I'll be 63 this year, which means I've seen lots of change during the past six decades:
-- the 1950s -- an unfairly maligned decade. While it's now portrayed as a restrictive, repressed time, it was in reality a brief moment when our nation's citizenry caught their breath and entered a new era of economic and social growth.
-- the 1960s, which went from "Ozzie and Harriet" to the "Age of Aquarius."
-- the '70s, during which "Star Wars" changed the world of movies.
-- the '80s, an undistinguishable period except for a president who instilled patriotism back into our national psyche.
-- the '90s, which paved the way for the 21st century, the millennium of incessant change.
America's escalated societal tamperings, be they social, political, economic or cultural, occur on a daily basis, causing a continual reevaluation of our values. Though some of the revisioning can seem good, people aren't paying much attention to that which affects not just their lives, but their afterlife. They're busy with T-ball games and other time-absorbing activities, unaware of the determined reprogramming of right as wrong and wrong as right in the world around them.
America had become a guardian of and beacon to the world, but now some political leaders, many social activists and the majority of Hollywood filmmakers are advancing the need for extreme reformation, as if the goal were to deconstruct our nation in order to create a new ideological one.
"Well, America wasn't so great for this group or that group until change came," a fair argument goes. True, our hearts have opened to the rights and needs of all members of our society. But if we're going to reconstruct the foundation on which we build a civilization, needn't God be a part of the fix?
For those who still see the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, we are frustrated by this electronic, maxed-out, everything-is-changing period that ignores or denies mankind's spiritual component.
The fascination with all things electronic and an uncalculated worship of science and technology has, for many, replaced the need for God. We're becoming a land of Geekoids who look down all the time, failing to acknowledge passersby, as if those folks don't count because they aren't encoded in our Star Trek-like communication habits and devices. It's Orwellian in nature.
As for blind adherence to the physicists' theory that everything came into being not by a designer but by an unintended explosion of cosmic gas, the thesis goes undebated of an unplanned life-bringing explosion despite this troublesome query: As more universes are being "discovered," can they be satisfied with the explanation that one formative eruption created all the universes, or did each galaxy have its own big bang? Whatever the scientific defense, it takes faith to believe it.
Although we have been entertained, informed and inspired by Hollywood, many artists in that land of make-believe have aided secularists throughout the years, having left their DNA all over the concept of change.
Writer Paddy Chayefsky envisioned this utopian one-world order dominated by media in his 1976 film "Network": "And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that ... perfect world ... in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused."
The Bible speaks of how men will wander from the truth when they turn their backs on God (2 Timothy 4:3). And sure enough, movies often take us down a fantastical path that leads to nowhere, because their makers all too often disavow the existence of or the need for a Creator.
It's not totally Hollywood's fault that our once-Christian nation has taken a new route, but the entertainment mediums have given an unaccountable platform for those who seek truth (and change) everywhere but at the feet of Jesus. Each decade, newcomers to the entertainment community push the envelope when it comes to decency, responsibility and a redefining of moral standards. Moviemakers keep dumbing down and crudding up the culture, taking baby steps with each production, furthering us from social decorum and reverence for the Almighty.
Somewhere along the way moviemakers (in general) quit incorporating biblical ideals that nourish the soul. Those seasoned ideals need to be rediscovered by this generation, for it isn't the iPhone that makes the world go 'round. A society cannot stand by God-forsaken laws, alone.
"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country," John F. Kennedy once famously said. These days, it is becoming vital to say: Don't just ask what Christ can do for you. Ask what you can do for Christ.
To find real change, politically, socially, spiritually, often you have to look back -- and up.