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.
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This page was last updated on Thursday, April 26, 2001

FASCINATED AND AMAZED
Subject: Dracula_2000
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001
From: Jeanie

I am continually fascinated and amazed by the spirituality of current film makers. I went to this movie not having read a single review or preview of it - a rarity for me-and was pleased with the message of good and evil as exemplified by this movie. Did you notice neoproductions in the credits and the Matrix-like effects. A friend I was with compared it to Dark Angel. What a great springboard for a discussion on fate and free-will.
Jeanie

DON'T UNDERSTAND
Subject: Dungeons_and_Dragons
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001
From: Twinky

Hey David. I love your website, I'm on here almost daily. Just can't get enough of Hollywood Jesus! I've never seen the Dungeons and Dragons movie... but I know a couple people that have "played" the game or whatever it is... and I really don't understand. Christians that have played it are very hesitant to admit that they have, and say it's Satanic or dealing with witchcraft. One of my friends said that her friend played it and is now Wiccian because of it... I thought it was just a role-playing game. I really know nothing about it, so I was hoping that you could help me. If not, do you know of somewhere (website?) that could? I really would like to know what's behind this whole fear of Dungeons and Dragons.
Thank you. (please do not post my e-mail address)

Responses: The Wiccans have not benefited from Dungeons and Dragons. Nor, has any other religious group. The movie is harmless.

POKEMON MOVIE
Subject: Pokemon
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2001
From: TUANANH

Pokemon is unlike any other kid's fad, or a catoon.Kids cartoons are a bunch of lame characters design to appeal to kids .That's pretty much all you need to please kids in a cartoon.And i mean those y-7 kinds.Pokemon is the same basic thing only with a few variations.Nintendo told many kids to play their pokemon games,and to make more money,they don't include all species in one version.Instead,that put some in other versions;to get them all,you need a friend and a cable link.So to fully complete the game,you need two gameboys,{thats almost $100}a cable link,{thats $10}and two different versions of the game{thats's about another $100}.The way to get kids to buy them is to show a y-7 cartoon full of mindless characters only for kids,then Nintendo says to "gotta catch 'em all!" so kids spend over $200 to buy merchandise,therefore,a complete wast of money.Just like buying cigarettes,you're addicted,so, you got to buy more and more.And the movie doesn't help either, If kids can look past the cute exterior,they can see what fools they are for wacthing and buying such crap.

TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS
Subject: Thank you for your site Mithra
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001
From: Lori

Thank you for telling the truth about Christmas on you site. It is refreshing. Christmas is such a rediculous myth. On the issue of Santa, the idea of an obese man (caucasion or otherwise) trying to get into my home in the middle of the night is an unpleasant vision. If he does gain access, milk and cookies won't await him. More important, the tale of Santa encourages lying. I told my young son when he was 3 that Santa is a fictional character. I encourage him not to lie, so I will follow my own example. He still has fun on December 25th. He could give a rat's rear end that society tries to associate this date with Jesus. He's only interested in what his father and grandparents bought for him. I buy the same gift for everyone each Christmas. . .nothing. If I did buy into the myth that Jesus was born on December 25th, I would buy Jesus a gift, not everyone else. Would you buy me a gift on your mother's birthday? Your brother's? Then why buy me a gift on Mithras' birthday??? Anyway, Jesus commanded humans to celebrate his death, not his birth. I could go on and on and on, but I won't.
Again, thanks.

My response: Don't be so legalistic. Enjoy Christmas.

LOVED IT!
Subject: Loved it! The_Family_Man
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2001
From: Marie Butson, OH

Going to see this movie was the treat of the weekend! Too bad my kids didn't want to see it because they missed a good one. It resembles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in many respects: another being giving Jack a glimpse into what could be or could have been (depending on your perspective); the ultimate goal being for him to "get it". To understand what life is really about. The Family Man does a great service in holding up that which is truly good: fidelity, even when tempted to be unfaithful; self-sacrifice, when Jack has given up his Wall Street dreams to manage his father-in-law's tire business; valuing children, as he takes the time to talk to his daugher Annie and picks up clues from her. There's not much to criticize in this one. I think it's a winner.

I also noticed some interesting symbolism, especially before Jack takes his trip into the land of "What If".. As Jack and Cash are walking outside talking, (or it may be the scene just before- I'm not sure), a lighted cross on the side of a large building looms over Jack's shoulder. Redemption at hand, maybe? The snow too- white, clean, falling down on Jack's face at moments when there may be a "clean slate" or a new start, nearly at his doorstep.

I'm sure some Christians will pooh-pooh the fact that there's no mention of God or Biblical values in the course of the film. Funny. Dickens didn't outright mention Christ or the gospel in Christmas Carol either, and he even used ghosts (!) to make his point. Some critics also slammed the idea of Cash being a thug pushing a gun in a cashier's face. That scene reinforced the fact that God uses some unexpected means to get our attention and to give us opportunities to do what's right. But these bits don't detract from an uplifting tale that helps to remind all of us of what's important in life. People and not money. Something to remember especially after the recent Wall Street downturns! This could be a terrific vehicle for some good discussion leading to the One who seeks us and has redeems mankind!
Marie Butson, OH

UNREALISTICALLY GOD-LESS
Subject: Unrealistically God-less Cast_Away
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001
From: Len Woods

Cast Away was an entertaining movie and much more thought-provoking than most of the dreck cranked out by Hollywood. And, clearly Hanks is one of our better, more likable actors. My beef with the movie is that Hanks' character did not utter a single spiritual reference--no pleadings with God, no cries for divine help, not even a helpless look up into the cosmos. I think this is utterly unrealistic and believe that 99.9 percent of people in such a dire situation (including the majority of self-proclaimed agnostics and atheists), would be so desperate and frantic that they would instinctively reach out (or UP!) for some kind of supernatural help and solace. Fools may declare in their hearts that there is no God, but fools in trouble typically act otherwise. Is Cast Away a classic example of Hollywood's secular nature? Is the industry THAT out of touch with normal, average people? I suspect it is. I'm NOT suggesting that the filmmakers should have turned Cast Away into a religious conversion story, but even a couple of spiritual references (even vague New Age ones) would have made the Noland character more believable.
Len Woods

FOX AND BRIMESTONE
Subject: Suggestion Brimstone
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001
From: Anne

I watched Bimstone on Fox, but quite honestly, Fox doesn't keep any really good shows. Sorry, X-Files. Simpsons and all those cop videos don't interest me. I was wonderung if the producers would apporch TED TURNER at TNT. If he could be convinced to fund Brimstone, and show him all the support of the fans he might just do it. Another person who might want to try his hand on the small screen, George Lucas. It's worth a try. There's so much junk on tv now that we only watch one or two programs. Hope this will help.
Anne
Please don't post my e-mail address, thanks.
May God touch one of these mens heart.

GOSPEL OF THOMAS
Subject: gospel of thomas or the lost gospel written by jesus
Stigmata

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001
From: Lilk

do u know the exact text of what the real gospel was written in, and what was the text u used in the movie what was it called? and do u now where i can find pictures of the gospel on the net or find the gospel itself not translated? p.s. i really want to find out about this please write back

ABSOLUTELY CAPTIVATING
Subject: my thoughts on Cast_Away
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 1
From: Bueche

This movie raises alot of questions and bravely, doesn't spoon-feed us all the answers. This is one of the best movies I ever saw. It is absolutely captivating entertainment, and it mad me think about my own life.

THE BEST FILM EVER
Subject: The Best Movie Ever... American_History_X
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001
From: Sunny

This is the best movie i have ever watch. This movieleft me speechless for days. i think that all JR and High school watch this movie. This movie was a really powerful movie.

SAD REVELATION
Subject: Sad revelation Dracula_2000
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001
From: Jason

I find it sad that we are trying to compare the risen savior to a dracula. In no way should our risen Lord be compared to this representation of sin. We desire so much for God to feel as safe and secure with our sin as we do that we are willing to make anything have the qualities of truth. "If I stare at a lie long enough, in my realm it will become truth, but that in no way makes it real truth." "Beware all those who call evil good and good evil" "and to have friendship with this world to become any enemy of God!" I dont make these words an attack on any person; instead I make them a stand against these words of offense, "I was totally taken by surprise with the connection between Jesus Christ and Dracula". End quote by paragraph on page
Sincerly concerned Jason

My response: Please, never respond negatively to a film that you have not seen, Jason. It makes you come off as ignorant and intolerant, which I am sure you are not. There was no comparision of Jesus to Dracula in the film. There is, however, a "connection between Jesus Christ and Dracula" in the film and that connecion is Judas. Draula, in this film, is Judas. This is the reason for the fear of silver, the cross and sun-light.

A better way for you to have responded would be to ask a question such as, "Is the 'connection between Jesus Christ and Dracula' one that makes Dracula a Christ figure?" Or, "Are you suggesting that Dracula is Jesus?"

Your comments were premature, uninformed and inappropiate.

May God bless you, Jason

PROFOUND STATEMENT ON LIFE
Subject: Cast_Away comments
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001
From: Kristi

This movie is a great example of how fine a filmmaker Tom Hanks really is. Between moments of high anxiety and emotion, he throws in something funny that we can all relate to. This movie was about the trauma and difficulty of starting over and catching up while at the same time fighting to survive. Once we pass basic survival, then the battle of life begins and we face the crossroads to our future. This movie truly entertained while making a profound statement on life.

EXISTENTIALISM
Subject: existentialism fight_club
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001
From: Jon Gill, 20, Minneapolis, MN

I loved watching Fight Club. Although there is a great deal of bad content, I have seen it about 5 times and when I saw it at the store recently, I bought it. I just watched it again tonight.

It is indeed a profound statement (of truth) about materialism and the futility of the American Dream. However, it does not come to the correct philosophical conclusion - it sees the world as fallen, but reacts not by looking for a higher power, but by accepting that and saying "to heck with it all"... This is existentialism. According to the dictionary, existentialism is "a philosophical movement stressing individual existence [hence the name] and holding that human beings are totally free and responsible for their acts."

This movie encompasses the logical end to the world's materialistic trend right now: eventually, we will tire of the things we have, since they cannot ever bring meaning. Then, we will need something else. Everyone searches for meaning. In the movie, Tyler Durden successfully recruits about 90% of the world's male population, it seems, because they feel they have found meaning in meaninglessness itself. This philosophy is also called Absurdism, and is closely related to Existentialism.

I found the philosophies of the movie very logical and very insightful. They of course would be different if they knew of the Truth, but as a purely human philosophy, it is far more enlightened (at least in regards to the nature of human beings and life as we know it) than atheism, humanism, materialism, nazism or communism. All those philosophies are simply "what ifs". Each time you watch it, look for more lines about what Tyler believes humans are. Most of the descriptions are more poetic than meaningful, but when you study some of them, you can get a good idea of how existentialists and absurdists - and schizophrenics and crazed vandalists and murderers - may see the world. Their philosophies include: stop trying to be somebody because it won't work; even if it does you won't find meaning in it; give up the things you hold dear because you won't find meaning in them; and find a way to express yourself - whoever that may be. To the men of Fight Club, the fights were the way to express themselves. Edward Norton's character (he is unnamed for a reason), first creates Tyler Durden, then creates Fight Club, as alternatives to his going to support groups for emotional release. By starting Fight Club, then blossoming into Project Mayhem, the members find a way to express their violence to the world. They do it without hurting people necessarily, but getting rid of material things, such as corporate art, coffee shops, and major credit card industries, thus creating mayhem and striking down the meaningless lies of corporate materialism. It's a revolution that I would welcome, actually, though not because I believe we are all worthless pieces of dung that God doesn't like. I believe that materialism is a thorn that chokes the true submission to God that all men need and inanely desire. That's why I wouldn't mind so much if Y2K had happened, or a group like Project Mayhem did spread the globe.

I would recommend those heavy thinkers to watch this movie, though I would strongly caution it because of the content. I feel a little guilty and dirty watching it repeated times, and do not find the philosophical content to be a proper excuse for filling my mind with 2 hours of that stuff, but if you can get around that, pay close attention to the philosophies presented in it. Existentialism and Absurdism, the best ways to describe this movie (it is NOT a bible allegory), are also two of the fastest growing movements of thought in the country and in the world. Take caution not to fall into them, since we know the Truth, but study them to be proficient in showing others that truth. You may find yourself a bit guilty of materialism and hedonism after watching this movie, and you have to give those people credit for their unique and insightful observations.
Jon Gill, 20, Minneapolis, MN

NO REDEMPTIVE MESSAGE
Subject: movie critique Cast_Away
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001
From: Andy

This was a hugely disappointing film. All the potential was there to create a truly great film. As it is, it slips into all that is banal and wasteful about Hollywood. Think about it: do you know anything more about Noland at the end of the movie than you knew at the beginning of this film? He is introduced as two dimensional and he leaves the screen as two dimensional (a less heavy two dimensional character to be sure, due to his loss of weight). Throughout the movie, it appears that none of the more what makes us human philosophical or spiritual questions get raised or answered. Many of us have wondered what it would be like to be marooned on an island and the questions we might ask ourselves are many. These were largely absent in this movie. How would you survive emotionally on such an island? What would you do? Could you find meaning there? If so, what form would it take? How would you choose to live your life? What would make your life worthwhile? Is it possible to have a meaningful life without any human interaction whatsoever? What would prevent you from going mad? These are questions we inevitably bump up against on the island called earth? Wouldn't they be fit for consideration on an island where the sense of aloneness and a search for meaning would be drawn out in an even starker fashion?. In the hands of a more reflective writer and producer this script could have been made a redemptive device in our on going quest for understanding life? Where is the redemptive message in it all?

THE POWERFUL THEME IS LOVE
Subject: Thoughts on Gladiator
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001
From: Jeff F.

Dear David -
Thank you for your hard work to create this interesting web site!

One of the most powerful themes throughout the movie Gladiator is, interestingly enough for such a violent film, love. If one takes the time, one realizes that almost all of the characters are motivated by love; either sacrificing themselves for love, or wreaking revenge because of a perceived lack of it. The dialogue is peppered with the word. A motivational outline of some of the more important characters reveals their similar underlying feelings:

Maximus: Motivated by his love for his family, Marcus Aurelius, and the men under his command.

Commodus: Motivated by a desire to be loved by his father, his sister, and the people of Rome. Always perceiving, and many times correctly, that he is not loved by those around him, this wrends his heart horribly. Sadly, he attempts to force people to love him, which is his ultimate doom. Ironically, this most destructive character is motivated by an intense desire to love and be loved. Though this character is the most despicable in the film, I find him the most complex and tragic.

Lucilla: Although she has many opportunities to thwart her brother, her love for her son and for Maximus prevents her from taking direct action. She is bound by a fear, not for her own life, but for the lives of the ones she loves.

Proximo: Even crusty Proximo speaks on the virtues of love. While advising Maximus on how to survive the games in Rome, he tells him, "The reason I was the greatest [Gladiator] was that the people loved me. Win the love of the people, and you will win your life." (This quote is from memory.) Juba: Juba's motivation is also for the love of his family, and probably for Maximus as well.

Marcus Aurelius: He expresses a great deal of love for Maximus, as well as remorse that he has not loved his son Commodus more fully.

Love seems, from this perspective, to be one of the predominant themes in the movie. This is emphasized by the opening and closing shots, which picture Maximus walking through the Elysian Fields towards a reunification with his family. Throughout the film there seems to be a deliberate and conscious effort to weave this common thread as the basic motivation for all that the characters do. Though they may all share this basic desire, their characters shape the expression of this desire through their actions.
Jeff F.

ENJOTABLE CONTRIVED COMEDY
Subject: Miss_Congeniality
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001
From: Wilhoit

I saw, enjoyed. Silly, contrived comedy, more or less predictable plot, that was actually done very well. It never dragged, always kept the action going, but never moved too fast to keep up with what was going on. William Shatner is great as a has-been celebrity, part Bert Parks, part self-parody (I think Shatner has embraced his image with grace and a sense of humor, but I digress). Good characters are likable, bad ones appropriately unlikable, all suitably developed for their roles. No question it's a comedy, but there are some tender moments when relationships between characters deepen or are transformed, and the transformation of Sandra Bullock's attitude towards her fellow pageant contestants is genuine, believable (and it's not so much going from disdaining beauty contests to appreciating them as it is changing from not feeling a bond towards other women to feeling one, and seeing some of herself in them). As for things a Christian audience would be concerned with: -A few very minor sexual jokes and bad words -No nudity or sex scenes (I took my 14-yr. old daughter, nothing too extreme for her) -A lesbian gag -Implication that Michael Caine character might be gay -Most "violence" is slapstick variety -There's a shoot-out at the beginning but non one dies, I don't think Technical realism fanatics should stay away, especially those who know anything about law enforcement or the FBI as I'm sure the operations depicted aren't even remotely realistic. For what it is, I'd give it a 7 or 8 out of 10.

THE CHURCH IS AFRAID OF WORDLY CORRUPTION
Subject: Unbreakable Newsletter_20
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001
From: Gary Stokes

Thank you for your newsletter on image and the church. It was very insightful. I agree with you that the church lacks in the area of images and visual arts. I think that the church has associated the arts as being "wordly" and is afraid of being "corrupted". I think the church has lost an edge when it denied it's artistic side. I am finding that there is more truth in "non-christian" things, i.e. music, film. Thanks for your great wedsite and newsletters.
Gary Stokes

THE CHOSEN -AN INSPRATIONAL JEWISH FILM
Subject: Inspirational movies
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001
From: Richard L. Fougere

I think the post for films with a high spiritual/inspirational content is an excellent one. We keep hearing about the bad films. It is high time we get out there with a list of the really good ones . However,why limit inspiration/spirituality to a Christian context? Does Christianity have a monopoly on this?? Personally, one of my favorite inspirational films is THE CHOSEN....a story of two Jewish boys growing up at opposite ends of the Jewish spectrum(one Hassidic and the other Reformed). The story shows how they enter each others' lives and the road taken by each one.
Richard L. Fougere
PS...My background is Catholic, but I recognize the spiritual value of other religious traditions.

MORE TRUTH THAN FICTION
Subject: Pi
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001
From: "Charles William Johnson"

Congratulations on stirring the mind. I should like to invite you to visit: Ancient Pi: Knowers of the Universe http://www.earthmatrix.com/ancient/pi.htm Earth/matriX: Science in Ancient Artwork The theme of the movie Pi is more reality than fiction, as Joe Mason states so well in his comments.
Best wishes,
Charles William Johnson johnson@earthmatrix.com
Earth/matriX Science Today www.the-periodic-table.com
Science in Ancient Artwork www.earthmatrix.com
P.O. Box 231126 New Orleans,
LA 70183-1126 (504) 733-9291 Tel/Fax

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