OSCAR WATCH – Silence: Scorsese’s Epic Apostasy

In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violent persecution to their faith as they track down their teacher and predecessor who is rumored to have apostatized.

I confess I have not read the book, so I do not know how faithful Scorsese is to Shusaku Endo’s original novel. But in movie adaptation, stories are shaped to the vision of the director, oftentimes subverting the original. So, despite some helpful appeals to the source material, a movie must nevertheless be understood in its own context and presentation apart from the book. And Scorsese seems to have made this story his own.

Christian Bashing is Nothing New

Silence is a timely and poignant, though at times overly long, exploration of the nature of faith in the face of persecution and suffering. For that reason, I applaud the discussion that Silence raises and the soul searching it inspires in the faithful.

Especially in this era of rising Christophobia and persecution of Christians by all forms of fascism worldwide. From the Muslim torturing and murdering of Christians in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other Islamic nations, to the growing tide of violence directed at believers in America, hatred is being increasingly focused on Christians, not for being hurtful in their actions, but simply for believing in God’s Word. And such spiritual devotion is considered a hate crime by many in our culture.

The ultimate end of demonizing Christian beliefs as “racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexist, Islamophobic” and other phobias, is the justification of violence against Christians, the elimination of Christian cultural artifacts and history, and the suppression of the Judeo-Christian faith.

That is why Silence is so poignant at this time. Remember my mantra, movies are not made in a cultural vacuum. They often reflect the zeitgeist of the era, the spirit of the age they are made within. And this era no longer believes in freedom of thought and speech and the free exchange of ideas. It now says to Christians, “Shut up. Your beliefs are bigotry, so you must renounce them and outwardly support the zeitgeist.”

We are not in a post-Christian culture, we are in an anti-Christian culture.

But the trials and tribulations experienced by the Roman priests in this story are rooted in a deeper struggle that all honest believers wrestle with: the silence of God in the face of suffering, spiritual doubts, and weakness of faith.

Christian Lives Matter

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Patriots Day: This is What Makes America Great

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I saw an advance screening of Patriots Day, the dramatization of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the hunt for the young Islamic terrorists who perpetrated it. I must say that this is a movie that ALL Americans need to see when it is released. Put it on your calendars and keep an eye out for opening weekend December 21.

You Need to See Patriots Day.

With Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and now Patriots Day, Peter Berg is fast becoming the official great all-American movie director in my book, along with Mark Wahlberg as the great All-American actor. Berg seems to understand the courage, sacrifice, and exceptionalism of American heroism, and he is unafraid to tackle the most important villain on the earth today: Islamism.

(We must forgive him for Battleship, as that was a studio monstrosity that I am sure he only did to be able to make the movies he really wants to.)

The movie’s first act introduces us to some of the lives of the victims and heroes of that fateful day, and gives us a taste of their desires, their loves, their hopes for life. We are made to care for these everyday people and first responders before we see them go through the horrendous attack and aftermath. Wives, families, parents and lovers, all, with dreams and plans. The emotional power in this story is thick and human and deeply moving.

He even gives us a glimpse into the Tsarnaev brothers “everyday life” that leads up to their Islamic everyday terror. Though not with the kind of typical Hollywood “terrorists are people too” moral equivalency.

Mark Wahlberg plays a character who represents a composite of a couple different homicide detectives for narrative flow. But the attention to accuracy and detail outside of the necessary creative license is strong. This movie is true to the facts, but more importantly to the spirit of this important historical event.

And that spirit is the American spirit of banding together, something we desperately need right now in our country. Continue reading

To End All Wars Voted One of 29 Best WWII Movies on IMDB

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See the Wrap’s list of 29 WWII Films with a 7/10 rating on IMDB.

Woo Hoo! After all these years, it’s become a classic. Check it out. It’s 5th on the page list.

To End All Wars was my first feature film that I wrote that got produced.

It stars Kiefer Sutherland in one of his best roles ever, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can on Amazon Video here.

ONLY $1.99 to Rent. What are you waiting for?

Makes a nice compliment to the awesome Hacksaw Ridge out in theaters now.

 

Sleep Paralysis: Demons or Neuroscience? Peeranormal Podcast

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I cohosted this podcast with Dr. Mike HeiserNatalinaDoug Van DornDoug Overmyer and Trey Stricklin.

Sleep paralysis can be defined in several ways. In terms of the experiencer, it can be described as “a visitation by a malevolent creature which attacked its victims as they slept” (Cox). More clinically, sleep paralysis is understood as “a transient,conscious state of involuntary immobility occurring when falling asleep or upon wakening” (Cheyne, 2002). Research into sleep paralysis has produced compelling evidence that the phenomenon can be explained by brain chemistry and physiology in conjunction with REM sleep. But is that all there is to it?

Go listen to it here

My New Favorite Bible Scholar: Michael Heiser

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Those familiar with my novel series Chronicles of the Nephilim should know that my latest favorite Bible scholar is Michael Heiser. His writing on the fantastic and the strange in the Bible will open your eyes to the supernatural like Elisha’s servant.

But he has a high view of Scripture and steers clear of Christian Crazy Land, that tends to dominate that discussion.

If you don’t know what “Divine Council” means then you must read this guy’s work. It will change your life as it did mine.

I highly recommend his work, and his blog and podcast, which I listen to faithfully.
(His Naked Bible Podcast series on the book of Leviticus turned the most boring book in the Bible for me into one of the most fascinating. Go to iTunes to find those past podcasts)

You can check out his blog and sign up for his newsletter here.

But also, he has a new online course out on Word Studies in the Bible that he did with Johnny Cisneros.
You guys, you need this to do responsible Word studies.

Sign up for the one-of-a-kind video course:
http://bible-word-nerd1.teachable.com/p/word-studies

Hollywood Worldviews Now on Audiobook!

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Have you ever watched a movie and loved it or hated it, but had trouble explaining why?

Are you frustrated with how entertainment influences your kids, but you don’t know how to communicate to them without turning them off?

Have you seen how movies and television influence the culture, but don’t feel confident in conversing about them with your family, friends or coworkers?

Are you a storyteller who wants to change the world with your stories?

Then Hollywood Worldviews is for you.

Brian Godawa, Hollywood screenwriter and best-selling novelist explores the power of storytelling in movies and in the Bible.

NOW Available on Audible!

You don’t have to have a subscription to get an Audible book. You can by an individual book and listen to it on Audio.

Here is a link to get the audiobook of Hollywood Worldviews for FREE on Audible!

Here it is at Amazon.

Cyber Monday Discounts on Godawa.com

This is the Last Chance for Godawa Deals, Cyber Monday Discounts End Tonight.

That’s right. It ends tonight!
All my digital video and audio teachings are available for 40% OFF until Cyber Monday.
This deal does not apply to any of my books, only to the digital teachings you can get at my Godawa.com Store. See below.
You only have until tonight, so get your Christmas gifts early so you can get back to your fun with a sigh of relief.


Get 40% off my new Hollywood Worldviews Online Course.
Click here to see what you get and to get the discount.
Or use the coupon code BFBG16 on checkout.


Get 40% OFF these video and audio teaching lectures.
Only at the Godawa.com store
Use the coupon code BFCM2016 before purchasing shopping cart.

Big Discounts on Godawa Video & Audio Lectures

 

Godawa.com Black Friday Starts Early, and Lasts Until Cyber Monday.

That’s right. It starts TODAY!

All my digital video and audio teachings are available for 40% OFF for Black Friday until Cyber Monday.

This deal does not apply to any of my books, only to the digital teachings you can get at my Godawa.com Store. See below.

You only have until Monday, so get your Christmas gifts early so you can get back to your fun with a sigh of relief.


Get 40% off my new Hollywood Worldviews Online Course.
Click here to see what you get and to get the discount.
Or use the coupon code BFBG16 on checkout.


Get 40% OFF these video and audio teaching lectures.
Only at the Godawa.com store
Use the coupon code BFCM2016 before purchasing shopping cart.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone: Quality Christian Movie That Entertains and Inspires

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I just saw an advance screener of The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.

I have to say, this was the first Christian movie I was actually interested in seeing since I can remember, based on the trailer.

Most Christian movies I can’t get past the first 10 minutes, because of the bad acting, writing, directing, and most of all, bad storytelling. The “Cringe Factor.” The Christian movie genre (and its audience) is hamstringed by its elevation of message over craft.

Not so, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.

This movie delivers. It’s got decent acting, directing, and most of all, a good story.

Here is a tale about a Hollywood bad boy, who has to return to his hometown church to perform community service for his legal shenanigans, only to rediscover the integrity and values of character that he left behind.

Look, I admittedly do not care much for movies that are about church. Maybe I’m not a very “churchy” guy, or maybe Christian movies have ruined church stories for me with their sense of falseness. I don’t know which. Both?

But I do know that watching The Resurrection of Gavin Stone challenged me to reconsider my bias. It is a story about church culture that I truly enjoyed. It rang true, while having a sense of humor about itself. It made church life seem a part of real life experience, imperfect, yet forgiven. And it ultimately accomplished its goal of making that world of spiritual interest more desirable than the world of temptation around us.

And all without preachiness. (Thank you, Jesus!)

The movie has its flaws, but it has raised the bar of quality for the genre, and it deserves support. If you want better quality Christian movies, you need to see this in the theaters when it opens in January.

Well done. I have hope for Christian movies.

40% OFF Black Friday Week for the Hollywood Worldviews Online Course: Watching Movies With Christian Wisdom and Discernment: Use Coupon Code: BFBG16 until CyberMonday.
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