MOVIES, ETC.: Finding quiet in a world of hustle & bustle

Baptist Press
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Posted: May 04, 2011 4:52 PM
MOVIES, ETC.: Finding quiet in a world of hustle & bustle
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP)--"Father, it's so noisy Down There. So much babble and silly racket. What are they trying to do, anyway? Are they noisy because they're afraid of something, or what?" (From the book "Angel Unaware" by Dale Evans Rogers.)

That book was written in the 1950s, after Roy and Dale Rogers had lost a child. It was written from the little one's perspective, as if she was telling her story while seated on God's lap. That passage has to do with the unaccustomed sounds that disturb children, racket that we accept and tolerate as the years pass. Sadly, the decibel level of the world's din has not subsided since the 1950s. Just the opposite. This is best evidenced by the upcoming summer comic book blockbusters, each laden with Ka-runch, ka-pow, ka-zap, ka-boom stimuli.

The main ingredient each summer movie actioneer has in common with the others is the noise factor. And by noise, I mean both sound and fury. The hyperkinetic action and special effects of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (July 1) and all the rest of this season's comic-books-come-to-life is tumultuous and inescapable. Can you imagine watching a movie-thon consisting of "Thor" (May 6), "X-Men: First Class" (June 3), "Green Lantern" (June 17), and "Captain America" (July 22), followed by any one of the "Transformers"? Your ears would bleed.

Though many of these films are well made, thrilling and even contain a positive message or two, overall, they are chaotic in their execution. Some aren't so good, with the special effects designed to mask a deficient story or minimal character development. The Bard said it best in Macbeth: "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

My rant may sound old fogy-ish, and to be honest, I'm not convinced that some of the blast and bellow heard in today's films isn't helpful to the younger among us. After all, the energy created by the studio sound and visual effects departments may offer a sometimes healthy diversion from the strife of life's everyday clamor. But fed only a diet of bustle and bedlam leaves the psyche no room for spirit-led introspection. The Word of God exhorts us to savor times of quiet and meditation. That's difficult to do when your day is filled with the combined commotion of TV, radio, movies and anything requiring ear buds.

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him...." (Psalm 37:7)

"Be still before the Lord, all mankind...." (Zechariah 2:13)

It takes quiet time for the spirit inside to sense His guidance and feel His love.

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." (Psalm 23:2)

"He will quiet you with his love...." (Zephaniah 3:17)

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." (Isaiah 32:17)

As we read the Bible, it becomes clear that our Creator wishes to spend quiet time with each of His children.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15)

This is the purpose of my passionate plea for placidity: not to prevent America's youth from attending "Cowboys and Aliens" (July 29) or "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (Aug. 5), but to suggest some tranquil time be spent with the Creator. The Bible is a guidepost that keeps us in harmony with the Heavenly Father, and by studying Scripture we gain an understanding of the nature of God. What's more, knowing God's Word will help us see through any ungodly standards that creep into our daily lives via the media.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we are told that there is a time to laugh and a time to dance. I believe that means entertainment is an elemental part of life. So, pick the superhero movie of your choice, but keep the other stanzas of that biblical declaration in mind. There's a time to search (study) and a time to be silent (listen). In today's culture, we tend to spend more time entertaining ourselves than listening to the Holy Spirit's leading. Does that seem right to you?

"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Phil Boatwright reviews films from a Christian perspective for Baptist Press and is the author of "Movies: The Good, The Bad, and the Really, Really Bad," available on Amazon.com. He also writes about Hollywood for previewonline.org and moviereporter.com.

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