Columnists > Mailbag


Issue: "PAS: The truth hurts," Feb. 8, 2003

Towering values

Thank you so much for Gene Edward Veith's wonderful article on The Two Towers ("Lord of the box office," Jan. 11). As a Lord of the Rings fan and a Christian, I sincerely appreciate it that you recognize this trilogy, not only for its inspiring story and impact on the world, but also for its Christian values. I just wish the world would realize that the values that they admire in the characters could also be evident in their own lives through Jesus Christ. - Emily Brown, Wills Point, Texas

I enjoyed the movie as much as anyone else, but to call it "based on serious theology" and labeling Gandalf a "Christ-figure" is utterly ridiculous. - Brian C. Bennett, Barboursville, Va.

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WORLD's admiring article on The Two Towers disturbed me deeply. The presence of "an epic struggle between good and evil" is not a sufficient reason for Christians to embrace a film based in witchcraft and sorcery. I wish with all my heart that my generation would evaluate popular movies against Scripture alone and not endorse cultural darkness in the name of Christian theology. - Marian Braaksma, Purcellville, Va.

The masses have indeed escaped into fantasy, but it is unlikely that this indicates a widespread receptiveness to truth. Most religions have the concept of good against evil, but the message of man's lost condition-and the salvation found only in Christ-is not nearly as popular as these Hollywood masterpieces. - Jeremy Bajema, New Plymouth, Idaho

Thank you very much for your insightful article about The Two Towers. It is an amazing movie that really connects with a lot of Tolkien's themes about power, evil, bravery, friendship, and destiny. Without even mentioning Christianity, it makes a powerful impact for Christian truth. - Matthew Loftus, 16, Bel Air, Md.

Although it can be argued that Gandalf is the primary Christ-figure, clearly Aragorn fits this description more aptly. In the next book, The Return of the King, Aragorn enters the Paths of the Dead and emerges alive as a fair and merciful king who frees the slaves, overcomes evil, is victorious over death, and heals the sick. - Timothy Berry, Fenton, Mo.

Ratings response

Thank you for your article which convinced me to see To End All Wars, even though my personal standard is that I do not see R-rated movies ("To end all culture wars," Jan. 11). The last exception I made was for Schindler's List, a life-changing film. In your article you wondered if Christians will see this film. I think another important question is, will Christians take their unsaved friends, especially those imprisoned by unforgiveness, to see it? War movies aren't my favorite, but the message of forgiveness and faith in the crucible was compelling. - Cindy Murphy, Monument, Colo.

"Rating the ratings" (Jan. 11) was an unfortunate piece. I agree that a movie's worldview may have more of a negative influence on a viewer than the verbal or graphic images. But I think the effect of the commentary was to justify the movie choices of many who use little discernment. How many people go to movies to be part of the "Great Conversation"? What has been said in R-rated films that cannot be heard elsewhere? How many times can I hear a word or see an image without it seeping into my thinking, eroding my sensitivity, my purity? Do I have to be assaulted visually and verbally to hear a message? - Dan Gleason, Elizabethton, Tenn.

How can we find concentration camp victims stripped bare by the Nazis a "shocking humiliation" but then passively approve when a Hollywood director strips actresses bare for our entertainment? And surely Mr. Veith misses the point when he says that "hearing bad language does not seem sinful." No, not if circumstances force it on us. But paying people to entertain us by saying perverse or blasphemous words or telling filthy stories? Heaven help us. If Hollywood is indeed where the Great Conversation is found, the price of admission-misusing people-is too high. - Wayne Wilson, Acton, Calif.

Price of a ticket

John Piper argues that churches should not accept money won from gambling in part because lotteries exploit the poor ("The wages of sin," Jan. 11). I disagree. Gambling is a voluntary tax. Jack Whittaker has given several churches huge sums of the winnings. I say, "Great! Lord, continue to bless him!" The money was won legally and legitimately. As a retired pastor, if the money came to my church, I would put that check on the altar, pray for guidance and wisdom and release, and bless that money unto the Lord's work. - Orval K. Moren, Coon Rapids, Minn.


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