David Bruce

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with comments by David Bruce

I receive a lot of e-mail.  I am not able to post all the mail. I have included a good sampling, however.  If the subject is the same I might group the newer messages with similar older ones.  Also, my response may appear a few days after the original posting. I can't do HJ everyday.  You must include your "name" and e-mail address within your comment if you want it posted, otherwise it will not be posted (there is a privacy issue here and we respect that).  I do, however, encourage you to give your "name" and e-mail so others can respond to you personally.
E-mail and Comments:
This page was last updated on December 16, 2001
PRAYING FOR IGNORANCE TO END
Subject: Brooklyn_Babylon
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: LiL Bit

keep praying for all this ignorance to end and for people to open their minds and hearts and see the interior rather than judge whose inferior, pray for respect and God , Jah , Allah..... to bring peace over the world. FOR EVERYBODY STRIVING FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN , DON'T STOP , NEVER STOP. DON'T LET HATE TEAR LOVE OR THIS WORLD APART.
LIL'BIT

Response: Prayer is a good thing. -David

SPIRITUALITY AND TOLKIEN
Subject: Lord_of_Rings and Newsletter_30
Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001
From: Chuck

If I remember correctly, in C.S. Lewis' "Space Trilogy", he actually identifies the wizards of Middle Earth as visiting angels, here to help folks out.

I also seem to recall something by Tolkien himself, hidden in the appendix of Book III to that effect.

I could be wrong. It's been a long time since I took a course on LOTR in college.

I get a kick out of all the hub-bub over "evil" wizards and witches by folks who are obviously ignorant (literally - no insult meant) of the things they criticize. For example, major parts of Harry Potter evolve around Christmas time & traditions. Silly...

Response: Good insight. Thanks. And I think you are right about CS Lewis. -David

MORE RESPONSES TO
HARRY POTTER and NEWSLETTER #30

WICCA
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001
From: Holly

Harry Potter is just a hollywood version of the true religion on wicca. twisted and bent for the audiances enjoyment. It is not a tool to recruit new wiccans, it is simply a book that is to be read. And if your children do become interseted in another religion then let them. Would you rather have them grow up to be open-minded to new ideas or close-minded in thier ways?

Response: I agree that Harry Potter is not a tool to recruit for the Wiccans. HP has hit at the core of a cultures quest for spirituality in a postmodern culture. -David

YES YES YES
Subject: Newsletter_30 Harry_Potter_Can_Be_Used_Positively
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Beth

YES YES YES!

Read (Wheaton College English professor) Alan Jacob's article, "Harry Potter's Magic" in FIRST THINGS for the reason why Harry Potter can be used positively.

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0001/reviews/jacobs.html

But be forwarned. Jacobs is not of the Church AGAINST Culture School of Christian Life: he doesn't think that we have to prove our allegiance to Christ by bashing everything that isn't directly listed (with approval) in the concordance.

Jacobs seems to be a graduate of the Justin Martyr School of Christian life: we don't need to disparage what is good to establish the One who is Good; we don't need to reject what is true in order to point to the One who is True.

And it is not a matter of not being able to recognize what is good and true in the world, because Romans 1:19-20 teaches that we can indeed know what is good and true apart from special revelation. In fact, Paul says that it is precisely BECAUSE we can know God's power and character (Good, as true, etc) from general revelation that humankind is in trouble! We know it, but because we are in rebellion against Him, we refuse to recognize, glorify and thank God for it.

If Harry Potter shows us something true and good, it can only be because it is a reflection of Him who is Truth and Goodness itself. Sure, it's wrapped in an unusual package, of witches and wizards and dragons and magic and the stuff of fairy tales...but nowhere yet have I read anything in the books or seen anything on the screen that would say those things are the product of SATAN'S power or character. Until I do, I say to all Christians, "Harry Potter is not off-limits; in fact, he may even assist us to better see Christ!" The scandal of Harry Potter is not that he is a wizard who is able to do "magic." It is that Christians refuse to see that the magic of Harry Potter can be used to bear fruit: to direct us further on, to what C. S. Lewis called the "Deep Magic:" the love and power of Jesus Christ. But, then again, Jesus is used to being a stumbling stone...

"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes." Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." (Matt. 21:42-44)

Lord, deliver us, from falling on this Stone, like the unbelievers do, and from being crushed by it, because we have refused to bear fruit.
Yours in Christ,
Beth Bilynskyj

Response: Right on. Thank you. -David

THE HARRY POTTER SCARE
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Miss Stella

I'm just gonna tell you this once...

Harry Potter is NOT Evil!
He has become an architypical good guy, fighting against the evil oppressors of the world!

...and he gets children who have no interest in books whatsoever to read!

If one takes into account the graphic details in the books, one would think 'oh, my, its satanic!'...but that's because the world (in most places) has been taught to fear all things in the world of mysticism...and I'm just gonna say that if you do, I KNOW you're a Muggle :)

Ms. Rowling has good intent in her books and they can be geared towards children as well as adults. There are many symbolic things within the books...some plain to see, others you have to dig a bit to understand... I'm not sure if I've put up a good argument or not, but I'll stick by Ms. Rowling's side until everyone has gotten over their 'occult'-phobias...

After all...where would our Christmas trees and our Easter bunny be if Christianity hadn't merged with the Gael traditions, hmm?

((And, really, if you Christians knew what you're getting yourselves into with your children dancing around the May Pole, geesh! ;o) ))

-Ashley E."ccentric" Wilson
Official Reader Of Books,
Honorary Mugwump,
Two-Cents Putter-Inner...
17,fm,Va,Usa...
tempus_magus@yahoo.com

Response: Thanks I appreciate your thoughts. Do you think that maybe Christmas will suffer the same attack as Halloween has when certain Isolationist Christians discover it's true origins? It staggers my mind to think of what's next. -David

MASTERBATION AND HORROR FILMS
Subject: Horror
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Eazy

is masturbation wrong? and what's the difference between watching horror movies w/ demons and reading the bible w/ demons? My parents don't approve of me watching horror movies. I like to because I like entertainment that deals with reality, why do you think end - time movies such as "The Omega Code" and "Left Behind" are entertaining among christians. If they had nothing to do with the darkside, it would just be another bible movie with no popularity. My parents say it's good to watch those biblical end - time movies and they won't let me watch Hellraiser? I need some answers quick before I go rent "Inferno" again. Please answer back. Thanx.

Response: No masturbation is not wrong. About horror movies: I do not know how old you are, so my best advise would be to listen to your parents. However, let them know how you feel. Perhaps they could watch a horror film with you, and then discuss it afterwards. Try Dracula 2000, or Hellraiser Inferno. -David

REVIEW REQUEST
Subject: Requiem for a Dream.
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001
From: Norman

First of all I'd love to say that I love your site (probably like every other e-mail you get). I'm not sure if you take requests for reviews but if you do I would like to see one up for Requiem for a Dream.

Response: I hope to do this review. Thanks for asking. -David

DETACHMENT
Subject: Newsletter_27-Disengagement
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: David

David:
I believe that some of the reason that the cutlure suffers is what Franky Schaeffer outlined in his book "Addicted to Mediocrity:" The Church tried to contain the arts inside a stained glass box and when artists would not play according to the prescribed formula, they were thought of as "evil" or "heathen." That said, I have some Thomas Kindkaide paintings in my home. I appreciate his use of light, and the hard work it took to acquire the skill. But Mort Kuntsler (sp?) Civil War paintings have the same impact and took the same talent. So do works by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso and Norman Rockwell. Music by Bach can inspire but so can Jimi Hendrix (has anyone ever really figured out all those riffs?). Genius is genius. C-S Lewis talked about the evil being in the heart of the viewer not the object viewed. God said HE had given Bezalel and Oholiab wisdom and skill and filled them with the Spirit of God so they could work in gold, and silver, and wood, and precious stones, and cloth and all kinds of textiles. Who do you think they were doing that for before the exodus? Idol-worshipping Egyptians. Interesting huh?

MORE RESPONSES ON HARRY POTTER

THE SPIRIT OF ANTI-McCARTHYISM
Subject: Newsletter_30_Harry_Potter_Is_Dangerous
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001
From: Gary

...the spirit of anti-McCarthyism (liberalism) now controls you, and you don't even realize it...

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

...i, of course, disagree with every point you make - enjoy it while you can, purveyor of lies, it will not last!!!...

Response: McCarthy was the master of the 1950s communist black listing witch hunt. And you equate McCarthyism with God? What? We follow Jesus not McCarthy. You base your concept of honesty on being in line with McCarthy? Interesting. 1 Corithians 1:11-13, 17 comes to mind. Perhaps McCarthyism is the strong delusion of the end times. God bless you Gary. I hope your eyes will refocus on Jesus and not McCarthy (Hebrews 12:1-2). -David

GOD GAVE US MINDS
Subject: Newsletter_30 Harry Potter
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001
From: Butson

I too am tired of the "witch-hunt" atmosphere that pervades Christian culture, now focusing on Harry Potter. As a friend and I were discussing this summer, we may not think it's prime reading for many Christian kids, but so much depends on the spiritual maturity of the kids and the parents. If you are sincerely convicted that it's dangerous, don't read it. But be careful not to engage in hypocrisy by reading your kids fairy tales or even (gasp) the Chronicles of Narnia. The Potter series has managed to engage many adults as well as kids by solid writing and good storytelling. If the content is so reprehensible to you, my Christian sister or brother, I respect your perspective, but please be gracious in your criticism.

FamilyLife Today of Little Rock Arkansas had a good two day series on the issue back when the Harry Potter movie first opened. The folks on the panel demonstrated reasonable and grace-filled attitudes for those parents concerned and confused over the issue. They reminded the listeners that we are not filled with the spirit of fear but of love and self-control, as Paul states in his letter to Timothy. Not all Christians are lighting the torches to get the fires going (as in the witch-hunts, that is); God gave us minds. Let's use them to His glory.

WE READ ALL 4 HP BOOKS TOGETHER...
Subject: Newsletter_30 Harry Potter
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: Pam

I agree with your "witch-hunting". My son is 9 years old and we have read all 4 H.P. books together. Granted, there are some parts of the books a little violent for my taste and I do believe a 9 year old is too young for a few of the violent parts. But as I read the book to him, I would glance ahead and skip over the bad parts. We went to see the movie. I thought it was very well done and Harry is a very lovable boy. He's a good boy considering all he has had to go thru. He is a hero and our hero in the book is a good guy! My sons (two of them) are so grounded in the Lord, I do not fear they will ever think about witchraft, satanism, etc. because of this book or movie. They love the Lord too much to give that evil a second thought. They know the Lord so evil is distasteful to them. I made sure they understood and we talked about the witch/evil part before I took them to see the movie. When God lives in your heart and you have professed Him as your Lord and Savior, and truly mean it with all of your heart, you won't WANT to do those things!! I think people like John Hagee don't give our children enough credit for loving their Jesus with all their hearts! As parents we need to focus more on praying every day for our children that they remain in God's hands. The old saying goes "Don't worry about anything (Harry Potter, etc...), Pray about everything (your children)!" If he is referencing non-believer children, this gives us as believers an opportunity to reach out and teach them about God. Thank you! J Pam

Response: Thank you Pam. -David

ANY ATTENTION HE CAN GET
Subject: Newsletter_30 Satanic_Hysteria
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: David

David:
I agree that there is a lot of hysteria in the American Christian culture. I believe that C.S Lewis wrote something about giving the devil too much attention or ignoring him being equally dangerous (check the Screwtape letters). Sometimes it seems as if people find devils behind every doorstep. But at the same time we do need to be sober enough to know that there are evil influences in the world. And be aware that these forces intend to do all men harm. But we have to remember that the apostle John wrote that "greater is he who is in you than he that is in the world." So while we should not ignore evil, we do not need to fear it -- or get hysterical about it. When things like 9-11 happen, we try to make sense out of it, we try to make it fit our constructs or world view. These events were perpetrated by people who thought that what they were doing was right, that they were actually doing the will of God. They had created a world view that said that evaporating 5000 people was okay, that they would be rewarded with doe-eyed maidens feeding them grapes in paradise because they had killed infidels (at least I think that's how the thinking goes -- check my facts). But are they the real enemy? Or is the real enemy the one who came up with the idea that murder in the name of God is a good thing? Did not Hitler's death camps reflect a similar world view? And what of other atrocities in our own time -- Rwanda comes to mind. Or Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Indonesia or the Philippines? Just a few musings.
David

Response: You make a very good point. We have had a series of false insights by isolationist Christians: Harry Potter satanic takeover of children, God judged America on 9/11, Y2K fall of America, Disney boycotts, Dogma movie, Satanist killing babies in the 80s, etc. etc. I am really sick of the nonsense which basically communicates the idea that God hates nonChristians, sinners, homosexuals, atheist, wiccans etc. I hope all of these false cries direct people to a better way of relating to the world. However, I fear you are right. People construct ideas of God according to their hatred and intolerance of others. Hateful world views need to be put aside. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." -David

NARNIA IS GOOD
Subject: Newsletter_30
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: KEN

I just want to remind people of one thing....The Chronicles of Narnia books and movies are wonderful. They are rich in imagination and we don't have to search for ways to find Jesus in them. Why do we always feel like we have to submerge ourselves in everything that hits the theater or bookstand?

Response: I am sad to say that already isolationist Christians are beginning to attack TRR Tolkien (Lord Of The Rings) and CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe) for witchcraft. It really makes me feel so sad. We are in the midst of a gigantic witch hunt. I never thought I would see such a thing in my life time. I really thought we were more enlightned than this. Even sadder is the fact that televangelist and certain radio "ministries" are joining in on these attacks against CS Lewis, LOTR and HP. Anything to line the wallets. -David

INTERESTING
Subject: Interesting The_Mummy
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: Jonathan

Personally I liked the movie. It was great action adventure that was in the same vein as Indiana Jones, which happens to be one of my favorite film characters. The one thing that I disagree with in regards to the spiritual examination of The Mummy, is that the passage from Ezekiel that was quoted, does not refer to the resurrection from the dead. In the greater context you see that the vision of the valley of dry bones, and their subsequent coming back to life, refers to the restoration of Israel, after their period of being in Exile. Many people mistakenly believe that this refers to a "final resurrection of the dead", but in the context of the passage, you realize that it is in regards to Israel's "restoration" as a people and a nation. Interesting insight. Jonathan

Response: Yes you are right. The intent was not to take away from the original meaning. Rather the intent was to call attention to a biblical passage similar to the visual in the film. -David

TOLKEIN...
Subject: Lord_of_Rings
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001
From: "Erik Nelson"

I suggest you read Bradley J. Birzer's recent article, November 2001, in the New Oxford Review titled, "The Christian Gifts of J.R.R. Tolkein." I believe you have misread a good portion of Tolkein's intent. You read too much into Tolkein's weaving of his mythology into reality - or, maybe not too much, but in the wrong manner. Tolkein was not intending to create a new mythology (for nearly everything contained within is not new!). Neither did he think Judeo-Christian mythology had failed. Neither was Tolkein a Modernist. In fact, it was the opposite! Tolkein's story is deeply rooted in Christian ideas of pride and sin, justice and reason. And Tolkein himself admitted to a friend that the Lord of the Rings was a deeply Catholic work. I would agree.
Erik R. Nelson
Research Assistant Institute on Religion and Democracy
(202) 969-8430

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