Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Forgotten Heritage of Faith

I recently received an e-mail newsletter from the Evangelical Covenant Church featuring an interesting story about two foreign exchange students from Germany who found Christ while living with their host families.

The story is wonderful, but the most surprising, frightening aspect was that one of the teenagers was completely ignorant of Germany’s Christian heritage.

The girl had no understanding of the faith when she arrived, says Sparrman. "She was told in Germany that going to church was part of being an American. The Germans told her that it wasn't like it was in Germany - it was exciting."

Her parents had grown up entirely under East German rule and no one in the family knew of the Germany's rich Christian history. "She had no clue about the Christian heritage of her country," Sparrman says. "No idea about Luther, no idea about Bonhoeffer."

If a Christian heritage dating back to the eighth century can be completely erased from common knowledge in just over 50 years, how long would it take to obliterate a heritage only half as old?  How close is America to this same fate?  Will we Christians do it to ourselves in an effort to appear nonjudgmental and tolerant?  May it never be so.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

When I learned that someone was making a film version of the C. S. Lewis classic, I was skeptical and a bit worried. Narnia is more than just a wonderful series of books -- it is the story of Creation, the Fall, the redemption of man and the redemption of creation. Could the film industry do the story justice?

I was somewhat encouraged by the wonderful production of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, another book series I did not believe could be filmed. Would Narnia, a series aimed at children, receive the same attention?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the movie version is delightful. The beginning, slow to some, was exactly as it should be… portraying what is was like to live in Britain in WWII. The child actors were wonderful. Although attractive, they were believable as ordinary school children – not extraordinarily brilliant or gifted. The battle scenes were virtually bloodless. But this is not The Lord of the Rings. A realistic battle scene would have eliminated much of the target audience – I cannot fault the production for the decision to keep the graphic violence to a minimum.

The film is beautiful and quite faithful to the book. To the nonbeliever, it is an enchanting fantasy and good, wholesome entertainment. For the believer, though, when Aslan first enters the scene, well, the effect was very moving. Several Christians, myself included, said they actually shivered when Aslan appeared.

If a cinematic lion, meant to depict Christ, engenders such a reaction, imagine the thrill, the joy, the unspeakable reaction when we see Him face to face!