Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Haunting Of Hill House

I’m dusting off my Entertainment Reviews for a look at critically acclaimed show released on Netflix just in time for Halloween: The Haunting of Hill House, based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name. My reviews usually focus on worldview messages and themes; this will be no exception except for noting that it deserves its TV-MA rating, mostly for language and horror elements.

When I used to watch and read a lot of horror (that's a long story for another time), one thing became clear: there is a huge difference between a story that bathes you in blood or offers a nihilistic punch in the gut vs. a story that uses horror elements to tell genuinely thought-provoking stories about the world. I would have bailed on Hill House if it were one of the former. It's not. I'm not saying the show is perfect - as a Christian, I would have done some things differently if I were directing the series. Some elements could have been toned down without losing the impact of the story. But as far as using the horror genre as a vehicle for discussing something much deeper, The Haunting Of Hill House succeeds admirably in comparison with many of its horror peers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Some Thoughts On Natural Disasters And The Mind Of God

“If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is, ‘God is crying,’ And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is, ‘Probably because of something you did.’” (Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts, 1992)

As America recovers from yet another massive natural disaster – or “act of God,” in insurance company lingo - the inevitable question resurfaces in Christian circles: Why is God crying? What is God angry about?  Why does it his some and not others? What did we do or not do right? I've written about this before, but I want to revisit this based on some conversation I know is taking place in Christian circles. 
This is a popular topic  in Christian circles every time a storm hits, especially if it hits where we don't live. Usually, the apparent target of God’s wrath is a particular situation or people group about which the person claiming clarity happens to feel very strongly:

  •  It’s the abortion doctors! 
  • It’s because of international policies! 
  • It’s the Middle East conflict! 
  • It’s liberal, feminist Marxists! 
  • It’s the greedy Wall Street 1%! 
  • It’s evolution in our schools! 
  • It's the President! 
  • It's megachurches (yes, I saw that one online)
  • It's for someone with whom I am displeased!”

There’s quite a list that gets generated in the aftermath of a disaster like hurricanes or tsunamis. Apparently, God has lots of options.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Reaping The Whirlwind

I was raised to believe that we reap what we sow. This does not mean that our history is our destiny in the sense that we can never rise above or move past things we have done in the past; it was simply an observation about how life unfolds. The Old Testament prophet Hosea raised the stakes even higher: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). In context, it seems to say that those who sow foolishness will reap disaster. What comes back to haunt us may be unfair in that the penalty will be disproportionate to the wrongdoing, but, once again, that’s how life unfolds. 

One of the things that strikes me in the Kavanaugh hearings is how we are seeing the principle unfold before our eyes.